By the time the
private and upper division high schools cherry pick all the teen hoopsters over
6-foot-3, and either have a coach adopt them or move them into district with
"Aunt Katy," lower division leagues such as the
That does not mean that the caliber of play is reduced in stature, as witnessed by the recent surge by Bolsa Grande (16-8, 8-0) which has won 11 of its last 12 games and is one win away from clinching its first league title in eight years.
"There was a point this summer when I was worried that we might not win any games," said Matador coach Scott Snyder.
When Snyder's team,
which tops out at 6-feet, started the season by losing 7 of its first 12 games,
he had reason to worry. "I still thought we could do better after our slow
start. Five of those losses were by five points or less and we lost to
This is Snyder's seventh season at Bolsa Grande and he admits that this team is athletically average and that it can't out jump anyone. "We are fundamentally sound and quick. I like that they listen and this is the first year that everyone has grades."
Bolsa Grande is led by six-foot junior, Yaser Yousef and his sophomore brother Abdul. Yaser averages 17 points per game and Abdul 10.5 per game. Both have busted loose for 30 points and average about seven rebounds each.
Yaser Yousef scored 33 points with 13 rebounds in a 76-67 league win against Rancho Alamitos, and scored 29 points in wins over Mary Star and Garfield.
Abdul Yousef has reached double figures nine times, scoring 32 points with 14 rebounds in a 69-67, league win against Garden Grove La Quinta.
"Yousef is still learning the game and is growing as a basketball player," said Snyder. "He's a slasher type and a shooter. Abdul is bigger and an inside guy."
Snyder said, "We call Yaser 'the snake' because he's always around the ball. Other teams know about him and they box and one on him."
When they double-team Yaser Yousef, the Matadors can go to either of its two 5-foot-7 senior guards, Veasna Tep or Anthony Tran, or to junior Preston Pierson. All three average near seven points per game, and are capable of reaching 16 points. "Tran hit a 3-pointer with three minutes left to help us beat La Quinta. We don't make many three's, so it was huge," said Snyder.
Bolsa Grande has made the playoffs in each of Snyder's seven years and captured the Garden Grove League championship in 2002 after going 11-1 (20-6 overall). Their playoff opponent this season will come from the recently realigned CIF Division IV-AA.
"We're not losing those close games any more," said Snyder. "This year has been a fun year--sort of like putting on an old pair of pants and finding a $5 bill in one of the pockets."