Agape League Standings 2003-2004
x = Tied for first and is #1 seed based on second half league record
x = Tied for first and is #1 seed based on second half league record
Note: All statistics are unofficial!
Antelope Valley Christian finished third in the Agape League last season but struggled most of the season. Coach Nurse is anxious to return to the top of the Agape where he has normally been. The Eagles return 2nd All-Cif team senior Jeremiah Nurse, a solid shooting guard. They lost 6' 3" Chris Eun which will be a big loss for the Eagles. The Eagles will also have back junior J'Whon James. Romanique Talton, who was named to the Laguna Blanca All-Tournament team will be another strong player this year. They also will have several transfers coming in. And as always, AVC may have anyone of a number of Far Eastern transfers come in to add to the power of this squad.
Hesperia Christian lost two starters, Jesse McDonald and Aja Ajanwachuku from last season but lost an additional four seniors from last year's team, Bryan Glass, Josh Martinson, Danny Marriott and Aaron Garcia. HCS returns three starters: 6 2" senior Josh Hamilton, senior 6' 1" Trevor Wagstaffe and 6'5 junior Loren Barton. Also returning will be senior 6' 1" Steve Pappas. The Patriots will be clear pre season favorites to win the Agape League championship. Anything less will be a disappointing season. To do that will require a great effort on the part of the Patriots. Trevor Wagstaffe will have to pick up his game and speed. He must not only lead the offense but must score a minimum of 10-15 points per game. Josh Hamilton will have to be the leading scorer with about 20-25 points a game. Josh must rebound more this season if the Patriots are to have success. Loren Barton will have to assume the mantle of the post man and recognize that he owns the paint. Loren will have to score 15-20 points a game, get 10-15 rebounds a night and continue his shot blocking. Steve Pappas will play a critical role on any Patriot success. Steve will have to drop his turnovers down to 2 a night. He will have to return to the scoring he did in his frosh year, about 10-15 points a game. And he will also have to hit the boards to help Barton out. Several new additions may be able to provide great support to this team. Guards Zach Howard and Billy Hague come up to varsity after a very successful JV year as freshmen. Sean Bayer is a 6'4" frosh with potential to make varsity this year. Sophmore Mike Petersen also has an excellent chance of making the varsity. 6' 5" junior Nate Glass will also provide height and rebounding to the team.
The Patriots will be led by Coach Scott Dobyns. His challenge is to develop an offensive and defensive scheme to match the boy's skills and abilities. They will have to develop an unselfish basketball team early on or be doomed to a repeat of last year. Their key to success is to develop a team that can beat Rolling Hills Prep and Apple Valley Christian and they need to finish ranked #2 in CIF to be the number two seed in the bottom bracket. If they are successful, the Patriots will be in the run for the Agape Championship this year and should make it at least to the CIF-SS Championships.
Joshua Springs is always in the thick of things and has great success in their home gym. They lost in the first round of the CIF playoffs in 2001 and 2002 to Delphi Academy and to Riverside Christian respectively. Nathan Rynning 6' senior guard, returned in the Lightnings game against Lucerne Valley and had 27 points. They also return second All- Agape League Josh Wagner in his senior year. The Lightning has lost 6'6" Chris Jackson, David Griffith, Sammy White,and Jason Lafferty. They are replaced by Cameo Adams and Chris Bridenstine. As always, they play a very weak non-league schedule with almost every game at home. That is probably why they do poorly on the road and in playoffs. Although this year they have upped the strength of their schedule with a few quality teams in the pre-season.
Victor Valley Christian finished fifth in the league last season but could easily take third this year. They lose senior 6' 6" center Charles Oshinuga and Mike Hofflinger. HCS transfer Asher Hudson has left VVC so they will be hurting at the point position. Pat Mundell and Ryan Nuestro will be among the leaders on the team this year. Nuestro can shoot some threes and Mundell is a strong power in the paint. Newcomer Chris Gambill showed early in the season that he can put down some shots.
Bethel Christian from Lancaster finished last and although improved over last year, is not expected to do any better this season. Their outside shooting has improved a lot over last season. Josh Thies and John Ustares seem to be their scorers. Rebounding will be this team's Achilles Heel. But one has to give this small school credit in that their players never lose heart in any of their competitions. They just don't have the height to really compete in the Agape this year.
Hesperia Christian should finish in a tie for first place if they can attain a split with arch rival Apple Valley Christian. Both Apple Valley Christian and the Patriots must make sure no other team (Antelope Valley Christian/ Victor Valley Christian) achieves an upset against them. Victor Valley Christian, if they develop team work, will be in a fight for third place with Antelope Valley Christian. Joshua Springs and Bethel Christian should be in a dogfight for last place.
Well, it was a great season and I was close but did not see some teams. Apple Valley Christian and HCS did tie for first but Antelope Valley Christian did as well. The arrival of Talton, Armstrong and Doster helped returnees Jeremiah Nurse and J'Whon James be a great team that should make at least semifinals of Div VA playoffs. HCS peaked at just the right time in getting a piece of their first ever Agape League championship. Apple Valley Christian was not as strong in the second half as they were in the first half as teams ie AVCS and HCS discovered strategies to beat them. There were several surprises. Victor Valley Christian just imploded on themselves and went 0-10. Bethel Christian,on the other hand,fought their way to 3 Agape wins 2 versus VVC and one against Joshua Springs. They still are missing a big man but they are young and will play even better next year. Joshua Springs just did not have the height to match Nathan Rynnings'shooting.
So now three Agape teams move on to playoffs. Antelope Valley Christian should make semifinals and then they meet Desert Chapel. HCS gets a 1st round bye and then will probably meet Boron followed by St Anthony and then Rolling Hills Prep if they win in each round. Apple Valley Christian has a very easy matchup with AGBU followed by another easy match up with Upland Christian. Then they will meet Hillcrest Christian, which will be a tough match because the two teams do not match up well. AVC will need to find three outstanding defenders to match Rigney, Flores and Halliday. Further Kudrle at 5'9" will not be able to handle the 6' 3" Drew Rigney. But we play playoffs because anything can happen.
2004 Div VAA Playoff Upper Brackets