Any concerns Rainer Wulf had about his Trabuco Hills High School team experiencing a lull between winning the 3-A boys’ basketball championship Saturday and starting the Division III Southern California Regionals tonight, were immediately laid to rest in Saturday’s post-championship locker room.
“The minute they got in there it was, ‘All right, who’s next? "' Wulf said. “I know there are people who think of the state tournament as anticlimactic, but my kids were really pumped. They wanted to know if we won the state (championship) did we go on to the nationals?”
Sorry, but Oakland--site of the state finals--is as good as it gets.
Trabuco Hills starts down that road with a first-round game against San Diego Clairemont. Trabuco Hills (22-6) has several advantages. It’s the home team in tonight’s 7:30 game, though it moved the site to nearby El Toro High for seating capacity considerations.
Trabuco Hills is seeded No. 2--San Diego Lincoln is No. 1--and Clairemont is 12-16 and lost its sectional championship game to Lincoln, 89-59.
On such short notice--the state pairings were announced Sunday--teams have very little time to prepare.
“I’ve had to depend on talking to people who have seen them play,” Wulf said.
What Wulf has heard is that Clairemont runs a lot of stuff from John Wooden’s days at UCLA. That’s not surprising when you consider that the Clairemont coach is Greg Lee, who played for Wooden from 1972 to 1974.
Lee uses Wooden’s 2-2-1 full-court press, and high-post offense. Guard Ray McDavid is averaging 25 points and has had more than 40 points in two games. In one of those games, McDavid made 10 three-point shots.
“Really, I’m less concerned with what they’ll do than what we’re going to do,” Wulf said.
Trabuco Hills, which depended on 6-foot-10 center Rick Swanwick for offense throughout the season--he averaged 20 points--showed in its 3-A final, a 59-55 victory over Corona del Mar, that others can pick up the slack. Swanwick had only nine points in the final, but four guards--Randy Kriech (19), Chad Poulos (14), Luis Arenado (eight) and Tim Manning (seven)--combined for 48 points to lead Trabuco Hills.
“I think we’re still improving as far as the whole team concept,” Wulf said.
Tulare Western (9-16) vs. Corona del Mar (19-10) at Corona del Mar High: One way to get over losing a Southern Section championship game, as Corona del Mar did Saturday, is to be given a first-round regional opponent such as Western, which has the worst record of any team in the five state divisions.
Western lost to LeMoore in its sectional title game by 30-plus points. Western does have a couple of good players in 6-3 forward Marvin Coleman, averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds, and 5-9 guard LeRohn Dodson, who is averaging 13 points and 3.2 steals per game. Dodson has made 32 three-point shots.
Corona del Mar’s strength comes from its man defense. During a 24-game regular season, Corona del Mar held eight opponents to 48 points or less.