SoCal Prep & High School Previews
Mini-Preview: O.C. Seaview League--
Woodbridge High--(November 29, 1997)
Last Season Woodbridge won the Southern Section Division II-AA title defeating Eric Chenowith's Villa Park team 56-50, then defeated South Bakersfield in the regionals and lost to eventual state champion Dominguez in the State playoffs. Woodbridge compiled an overall 28-4 record, and went undefeated in Seaview League play at 10-0. That, as they say, though is history. Burgess is gone to Duke, and Chenowith is gone to Kansas. None of Woodbridge's starters return having all graduated. Several players are back from the varsity, but it will be a challenge for sixth year coach John Halagan just to keep them competitive this season with teams such as Santa Margarita High, El Toro, Newport Harbor, Irvine and Corona Del Mar.
Back are Scott Barlow, a quick and steady 6'-0" junior guard, Jeff Green, a 6'-3" senior forward who will sometimes get to play the post, and Matt Sills, a 6'-0" senior guard who did not see a lot of time last season, but who will be expected to show some senior leadership to this team. Newcomers to the squad include 6'-5" senior forward Charles Clark, 5'-10" sophomore guard Shane Harris and 6'-3" senior guard Brent Weiss.
When coach Halagan was asked how he would replace Burgess and Brandon Beeson, last season's stars, he simply told the Orange County Register that it was impossible to even think of "replacing" them: "They're irreplaceable," said Halagan. And he's right. The most Woodbridge can hope to do this season is to work with what's there, not what was.
So who's there? This year's roster includes:
(6'-5" Sr. F)
Brent Weiss (6'-2" Jr. G)
Shane Harris (5'-10" So. G)
Gavin Clifford (5'-7" Sr. G)
Faiz Ahmed (5'-11" Sr. G)
Mike Wallin (5'-10' Sr. G)
Gavin Clifford (6'-2" Sr. F)
Gavin Lindstrom (6'-3" Sr. F)
Seth Scartaccini (6'-2" Sr. F)
Josh Burgess (6'-6" Jr. F)
Scott Barlow (6'-0" Jr. G)
Jeff Green (6'-3" Sr. F)
Matt Sills (6'-0" Sr. G)
Considering this is not an overwhelmingly tall team, it's still a lot to work with from a coaching point of view. The team features a little height from Chris' younger brother Josh Burgess, who is developing nicely, but is certainly not ready to step into the shoes left behind by brother Chris. Expect to also see Charles Clark, a hard-working forward at the 4 spot a lot this year. The two Gavins will be expected to step up their game as with Scartaccini and Green, who will bring some varsity experience to the team.
Clearly this is not as naturally talented a group as last year's Section Champions, and Halagan is right: You don't replace someone like Chris Burgess or Brandon Beeson. You simply move on. Woodbridge is going to do exactly that, and is aiming just to finish high enough in league play to make the playoffs; they're not thinking about Sectional or State titles. With a little luck and some real hard work, they just might make the playoffs. You know with 6'-5", 6'-6", two 6'-3"s and three at 6'-2" that's more than some schools ever have to work with, and it's not a bad looking group. A lot of teams out there would like to have even half as much talent to work with, and would be happy to do even half as well as this team will.
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