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OC High School Recap

2017-2018 Orange County High School Boys Basketball Season Recap

Published by Devin Ugland
Senior Writer, Open Gym Premier & Grassroots 365

With yet another season of Orange County high school basketball in the books, a quick glance at the final Top 10 ranking of the season shows two themes.

First, The top-end of OC Trinity League teams — Mater Dei, Santa Margarita and JSerra — finish as the top three teams, as many expected. The teams with the combination of the most talent, to go along with great coaching, usually rise to the top.

Spencer Freedman, the Open Gym Premier Orange County Player of the Year, pulled all the right strings as the orchestrator of the Mater Dei attack. Santa Margarita was sparked by a pair of juniors in Jake Kyman and Max Agbonkpolo. D.J. Rodman didn’t lose his scoring touch in his move to JSerra and Joel Mensah and J.T. Robinson provided plenty of help for the Lions.

The second theme is the rise and success of the relatively under-the-radar public school teams. Canyon won the Crestview League title behind a solid blend of talent and guys who just plain get after it, including senior Lucas Holden, junior A.J. Perry and sophomore Justin Williams. Capistrano Valley won the Sea View League while playing basically five guys all season long, but when one of those players is as good as Dawson Baker, and the other four play their roles so well, you’re bound for a good season.

Blake Burzell had a masterful season in leading Laguna Beach to 25 wins and an Orange Coast League title. Jared Brown, Erik Papke and Michael Hyun paced Cypress to 22 wins and an Empire League title. Jacob Huynh, Devin Owens, Seth Locke and Trent Harper helped Northwood to 22 wins and a Pacific Coast League championship and Harminder Dhaliwal, Lucas Parks and Dylan Dickerson earned Aliso Niguel a share of the South Coast League crown with Trabuco Hills, who finishes the season tied at No. 10 with Aliso thanks stellar seasons from Chase Anderson, Quentin Watts and Zack Mowers.

Outside of the top 10, teams like Ocean View, led by seniors Paul Head and Mehkel Harvey, held true to its expectations. The Seahawks coasted to another Golden West League title. Tesoro and San Clemente competed well in the wild South Coast League, both earning postseason berths in their respective divisions.

Isaiah Pope had an impressive all-around season for Orange Lutheran, Alec Sinek led Troy to a Freeway League title, Sam Barela emerged as a top OC player for Newport Harbor in helping the Sailors tie with Edison atop the Sunset League. Kevin Kobrine kept Corona del Mar in the the Pacific Coast League hunt, La Habra emerged as a tough beat under new coach Aaron Riekenberg, Alex Bray had an explosive scoring season for University, and usual OC powers Villa Park, Foothill and Esperanza battled through some dips and tough scheduling to remain among the county’s best teams.


OGP OC Player of the Year

Spencer Freedman, Senior, Mater Dei

The 6-foot-1 Harvard-bound point guard embodied everything the position entails over the last three seasons for the Monarchs. Freedman orchestrates everything. He knows where each of his teammates need the basketball in order to be most effective, he delivers passes on time and with accuracy, and he always seems the make the correct decision with the ball in his hands. Freedman’s 16.5 points per game average this season is the most he’s scored since donning a Mater Dei uniform, he also dished out five assists and picked up 2.2 steals per game in leading the Monarchs to yet another Trinity League championship and CIF Southern Section Open Division playoff appearance.


OGP OC Coach of the Year

Tim O’Brien, Northwood

Northwood was a team that may not have had the biggest names on its roster, but certainly bought in to what coach O'Brien brought to the table. Jacob Huynh was the scorer, Devin Owens the gritty two-way guy, Seth Locke the distributor and defender and Trent Harper the shot blocker and rebounder. O'Brien found an uptempo style and trusted his guys to execute it each and every night, which led to the Timberwolves going 22-5 in the regular season and winning the Pacific Coast League championship. The highlight win of Northwood's season was a 51-41 decision over JSerra in the championship game of the SoCal Elite/Gary Raya Classic.


OGP All County Teams

First Team

G Spencer Freedman, Sr., Mater Dei

G Dawson Baker, Sr., Capistrano Valley

F Max Agbonkpolo, Jr., Santa Margarita

F Jake Kyman, Jr., Santa Margarita

F Mike Wang, Sr., Mater Dei

Second Team

G A.J. Perry, Jr., Canyon

G Blake Burzell, Sr., Laguna Beach

G/F DJ Rodman, Jr., JSerra

G/F Harrison Butler, Sr., Mater Dei

C Joel Mensah, Sr., JSerra

Third Team

G Jared Brown, Jr., Cypress

G Jacob Huynh, Sr., Northwood

G/F Brendan Harrick, Sr., Esperanza

F Tim Adetukasi, Jr., Saddleback Valley Christian

F Jordan Guest, Sr., Santa Margarita

Fourth Team

G JT Robinson, Sr., JSerra

G Isaiah Pope, Jr., Orange Lutheran

G Chase Anderson, Sr., Trabuco Hills

G Julien Franklin, Jr., Villa Park

C Harminder Dhaliwal, Sr., Aliso Niguel

Fifth Team

G Lucas Parks, Sr., Aliso Niguel

G Justin Williams, So., Canyon

F Lucas Holden, Sr., Canyon

F Mehkel Harvey, Sr., Ocean View

C Noah Honetschlager, Jr., Tesoro

Sixth Team

G Paul Head, Sr., Ocean View

G Alec Sinek, Sr., Troy

G Sam Barela, Jr., Newport Harbor

G/F Kevin Kobrine, Sr., Corona del Mar

F Alex Bray, Sr., University

Seventh Team

G Ryan Evans, So., Santa Margarita

G David Atencio, Sr., Edison

G Dominick Harris, So., Pacifica Christian

F Jakob Alamudun, Jr., Marina

F/C Jacob Eyman, Sr., Los Alamitos

Honorable Mention: Dylan Thoerner, Jr., Beckman; Reagan Lundeen, Sr., Mater Dei; Demetrius Jackson, Sr., El Toro; Nic Lipovic, Sr., Capistrano Valley; Jacob Nemeth, Sr., San Clemente; Brennan Hellmers, Sr., Foothill; Isaiah Johnson, So., Crean Lutheran; John Humphreys, So., Corona del Mar; Dylan Dickerson, Sr., Aliso Niguel