The New Southern California Basketball
SoCal High School & Prep Report

High School Preview: Sunset League
Esperanza--(December 3,1997)

While we're on the subject of the first round of the Brea Tournament played Tuesday at Brea High, in which Calvary Chapel defeated Esperanza by a score of 74 to 60, we thought it would also be a good time to do our preview feature on Esperanza also.

Esperanza is picked by many to either finish second or to win outright the Sunset League this year. Most of the high ranking appears to be based not so much on the proven track record of those currently on the team, but rather the results from last year, and a lot of optimism and hope. The only returning player, however is 6'-8 Jr. Ryan Romberg, and the last time we looked, he'll need four other guys out on the court helping him get it done.

Esperanza is coached by John Cyrus, who's in his second full season with the school. Last year, Esperanza compiled a 15-13 overall record, and finished second in Sunset League play with a record of 7-3. Amazingly, they defeated this year's top powerhouse team, Santa Margarita in the first round of the Southern Section playoffs 46-28 (sounds like a football score), but lost to Long Beach Jordan 76-68 in double overtime in the second round of the Division I-AA playoffs. If yesterday's game against Calvary Chapel is any indication of how they're likely to do this year, they won't be thinking about beating Santa Margarita, and certainly not Long Beach Jordan any time soon.

There was another reason that Esperanza did so well last year, and it's the same reason that they're going to struggle a little more this year: Andrew Gaulden (6'-9" Sr. F) transferred to Canyon High of the Century League. When Gaulden left, the Aztecs were left without a returning starter, and were looking at only player junior Ryan Romberg.

But Cyrus is hopeful that the newcomers, will bring some talent and some scoring. So here's what the roster looks like:

Ryan Romberg (6'-8" Jr. F/C)
Nick Vicencia (5'-10" Jr. G)
Doug Brown (6'-2" So. G)
Pat McCarty (6'-2" Sr. G)
Kevin Brown (6'-0" Sr. G)
Kenny Ho (5'-10" Jr. G)
John Stevens (6'-3" So. F)
Lloyd Walls (6'-7" So. F/C)
Jason Coleman (6'-4" Sr. F)

So how did they fare in their loss to Calvary in the first round of the Brea Tourney? Only Coleman had double figures, scoring 20 points. Vicencia had 6, Ho had 2, Walls had 8, K Brown 5, and Romberg only had 2. If Esperanza is going to get it done this year, they'll need more production out of their only returning varsity player, who stand 6'-8", than 2 points.

It's going to be a difficult year for Esperanza, and the optimism that some have for this team finishing second in the Sunset League may be a bit rosy. Certainly there's talent there, and if it's any solace, Esperanza won the third quarter, outscoring Calvary Chapel 16-11. But it was their poor defensive play in the second quarter, which allowed 24 points by Calvary, outscoring Esperanza by 14 points in the quarter. If they can pull together defensively and get more production from their big guy Romberg they may be able to pull it off. We'll keep watching.

The Swish Award

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