PREP ROUNDUP : Vanderputten Is Impressive in Debut

Australian import Gavin Vanderputten was impressive in his long-anticipated debut Tuesday, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to lead Trabuco Hills to a 53-50 victory over Edison in the first round of the Cola-Cola Classic at Trabuco Hills.

Vanderputten, a 6-foot-10 exchange student, had a shaky start, missing his opening five shots and turning the ball over three times.

“I looked over at one of my assistants and asked him ‘Where did this guy come from?’ ” Trabuco Hills Coach Rainer Wulf said. “Everything we had worked on over the past two weeks seemed to go in one ear and out the other. He was real nervous with all the expectations and attention he’s gotten.”

Edison opened a 33-17 lead in the first half, but the Chargers quickly faded when standout forward Brandon Jessie got his fourth foul with 4:41 remaining in the third quarter.


Fortunately for Trabuco Hills, Vanderputten finally settled down.

He made 11 of 12 shots in the second half, including two shots in a nine-second span in the fourth quarter that gave Trabuco Hills a four-point lead, 49-45, with 4:26 remaining to play.

“He was as good in the end as he was bad in the beginning,” Wulf said. “He told me at halftime, ‘Coach, I can’t play any worse.’ I think he realized what high school basketball is all about over here.”

Jessie, considered to be the county’s best player, scored only 10 points.


In other first-round games:

Mater Dei 86, Chino 39--Guard David Drakeford scored 17 points, including three three-point shots, as the county’s top-ranked team breezed in its season opener.

Los Alamitos 69, LB Jordan 66--Guard Ali Miller made two free throws with two seconds remaining for the final margin of victory. The Griffins had a three-point lead with 1:21 left when reserve Brian Kadlac scored on a follow shot.