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High School Mini Preview: Century League--
El Modena High--(November 27, 1997)

El Modena High School competes in the Century League in Orange County with Canyon /Anaheim, Foothill, Orange, Santa Ana Valley, and last years League Champions Villa Park. El Modena finished well down in the league last year, at 12-13 overall, and only 4-6 in League play in 1996-97. We pick them to finish 3rd in the league this season, behind Canyon and Villa Park.

El Modena is coached by Joe Roussel, who is in his fourth year as head varsity coach. He's compiled a 43-38, despite El Modena's losing season last year. Roussel has said that he prefers the underdog-darkhorse role, but does admit that with four starters returning, the Vanguards have the potential to be challengers for the league title. The big question for this team is whether they can overcome the height advantage that Villa Park still has even though Chenowith is no longer there, and the speed of Canyon.

Here's a partial roster:

Joe Cortez (5'-10" Sr. G)
Stephan Perovich (6'-1" Jr. G)
Nick Soderstrom (6'-4" Jr. F)
Danial Melton (6'-7" So. C)
Mario Garcia (6'-1" Sr. G)
Frank Wise (6'-0" Sr. G)
Santosh Swanidass (6'-1" Sr. F)
Chad Brandel (6'-4" Jr. C)
Mike Christensen (6'-1" Sr. G)
Matt Garcia (6'-1" Sr. G)
Brock Kyler (6'-5" So F)
Chris Nowakowski, (6'-1" Sr F)

This is not an overwhelmingly tall team, but it does have good overall size, speed and quickness. Melton will lead the team at center in the frontcourt, along with Soderstrom, Nowakowski and Swanidass at forward; Chad Brandel will back up at center, and given his size, will also see some time at the forward spot against some of the bigger teams in the league. Guards Joe Cortez, Stephan Perovich, forward Nick Soderstrom, and center Daniel Melton, form a nucleus of returning players, who will probably be among the starters. Mario Garcia, a 6-1 senior, and Frank Wise, 6-0 senior, and forward Santosh Swanidass, a 6-1 senior will all see time coming in off the bench. Chad Brandel is a newcomer to the varisty as are Christensen, Matt Garcia, Brock Kyler, and Nowakowski, all of whom bring good defensive play and shooting ability to the varsity this year.

Look for El Modena to challenge this year. If they hope to make it past Canyon and Villa Park they'll have to step up their play significantly from last year, and play an up-tempo game.

The Swish Award

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