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Prep Notebook : Singer Looks to Sew Up 2nd Soccer Trophy

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Fred Singer took one look at his roster before the season started and had many thoughts. They weren’t positive.

How well, the soccer coach at Kennedy High School wondered, would his young team do in league play?

Singer expected the team--made up mostly of juniors and sophomores--to make the playoffs, but certainly not as a first-place team.

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The Golden Cougars surprised their fifth-year coach, however, by finishing 10-1-3 and winning the Mid-Valley League title.

With a league championship in hand, Singer still figured his team wouldn’t make much of an impact in the City playoffs.

“I felt making the finals would be a long shot,” Singer said.

The City final will be held tonight at 7:30 at Polytechnic High School. The participants are Garfield and--surprise--Kennedy.

“It’s a relief, an honor to be there,” Singer said. “It’s a pleasure.”

Singer, whose record over five seasons is 54-14-9, led the Cougars to the City title in 1981. Every one of Singer’s Kennedy teams has advanced at least to the quarterfinals.

Most of Singer’s previous teams had plenty of seniors. This year, only four seniors are on the team.

“Usually, junior and sophomore (dominated) teams go through a learning experience,” he said. “But this year we’ve put it together early and we’ve been rolling along ever since.”

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The Golden Cougars are going into the final after an incredible 18-overtime, 1-0 victory over Jefferson in the semfinals Monday and Tuesday.

The game started Monday, was called after 10 overtimes because of darkness, and resumed Tuesday. Greg Friedman’s goal 168 minutes and 44 seconds after the opening whistle improved Kennedy’s record to 14-1-4.

The shutout was the ninth recorded by the Cougars this year. In fact, defense has been a strong point for the team all season. Kennedy allowed just 11 goals in league play.

In three playoff games, the Cougars have allowed two goals. Both came in a 3-2 quarterfinal win over Bell. In the opening round Kennedy blanked Roosevelt, 2-0.

“We’ve taken the season one game at a time,” Singer said. “We’ve never looked forward.”

That applies to the City final as well as next year. Of the 18 players on the Kennedy roster, 14 are underclassmen.

Singer should have a good team next season, but he doesn’t really want to come out and say it. “I don’t care what sport you’re playing, a lot of luck goes with it. We’ve been very fortunate to have no major injuries.”

Another factor that has helped the Cougars, Singer said, is that they have “never let themselves get overconfident.”

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If Friedman isn’t overly confident, he is at least sure who will be victorious tonight.

“I think we’ll win,” the junior midfielder said. “I want it. The whole team wants it.”

Tonight, they’ll have a chance to get it.

Last Friday’s basketball game between Cal Prep and Oak Hill promised to be a showcase for two of the highest scorers in the Valley.

Jake Devane and Dave Friedman did not disappoint.

Devane, a 5-8 guard from Cal Prep in Van Nuys, and Friedman, a 6-2 guard from Oak Hill in Sepulveda, both set school records for most points in a game during Cal Prep’s 79-77 victory in the Liberty League contest.

Devane scored 54 points, including the two winning free throws with three seconds left, while Friedman scored 40 points.

After the game, Cal Prep Coach Rob Hertenstein said of Devane’s performance: “That was the best all-around game by a high school basketball player I’ve ever seen.”

Earlier this week, Hertenstein said: “He was just fantastic. I’ve never seen a kid play that well, except for Jake.”

Hertenstein was referring to Friedman, a sophomore.

Devane, the son of actor William Devane, is averaging 26.5 points a game for the Knights, who are 5-1 in league, 8-7 overall.

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“He’s just a beautiful ballplayer,” Hertenstein said. “He’s got great presence and anticipation.

“He’s typically at his best in the fourth quarter. He had 20 points in the fourth quarter Friday.”

Hertenstein said Devane, a senior, is being recruited by small schools, such as Occidental and “some schools I’ve never even heard of.”

“He’s not so confident he can compete because of his size,” Hertenstein said. “But I look at him as a Korfas-type player.”

Jon Korfas, who now plays at Pepperdine, is a 5-11 guard who was an All-Southern Section player at San Marcos High.

Friedman’s scoring record of 40 points lasted all of three days. In a 97-57 victory over Southwestern Monday, Friedman scored 52 points.

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“His skill level is right up there with anybody,” Oak Hill Coach Moses Jones said. “He’s a good outside shooter, he reads defenses well and is a real good penetrator. I am amazed he’s playing so well as a sophomore.”

Friedman is averaging 37.4 points and nearly 10 assists a game for the Raiders, who are 4-2 in the league and 6-2 overall.

Friedman scored 28 points in a 63-56 Oak Hill win over St. Vincent Wednesday.

He is shooting 73% from the field, and Moses estimates at least half of his baskets come from the 15- to 18-foot range.

“He hasn’t peaked yet,” Moses said. “There are things we’ve discussed that he can do better, like his defensive game.”

Friedman, being a sophomore, has plenty of time to improve. In fact, the whole Raider team figures to get better.

Moses starts four sophomores and Shaun Siegman, a senior forward. The other 10th-grade starters are Jeff Rubenstein, a forward/center; Ethan Sibley, a guard, and Andy Hart, a center.

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In the win over St. Vincent, Rubenstein set a school-record with 33 rebounds, breaking the mark of 30 held by Hart. In the Southwestern game, Rubenstein had 26 points and 27 rebounds.

So the future looks bright for Oak Hill, and especially Friedman.

“Within the next two years, if he works hard on defense and improves some other aspects of his game, he’ll be a blue-chipper in regards to college,” Moses said.

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