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Boys basketball: Tars seeking revenge

February 19, 2002

Barry Faulkner

NEWPORT BEACH - The Newport Harbor High boys basketball nemesis

tour continues tonight, when the Sailors host No. 3-seeded Villa Park in

a CIF Southern Section Division II-AA second-round playoff game set to

tip off at 7:30.

Having already swept Sea View League rival Woodbridge to claim the

program's first outright league championship since 1985, Coach Larry

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Hirst's Tars (20-6) are attempting to avenge a 74-61 loss to the Spartans

(25-3) in last year's CIF Division I-A quarterfinals.

Villa Park also defeated Newport, 59-51, in the Sailors' George

Yardley Summer Cage Classic in July.

"There won't be a whole lot of time spent preparing, because both

teams know so much about each other," Hirst said.

Both coaches acknowledge plenty of similarities.

"It should be a pretty good chess match, because we are pretty similar

teams," Hirst said. "It could be a very interesting game from a tactical

standpoint, just to see the adjustments made by both staffs and how both

sets of kids will try to interpret those instructions and carry out the

game plan."

Villa Park Coach Kevin Reynolds, who in his seventh year at the helm

has turned the Spartans into a perennial Orange County power, said he

sees a lot of his team in the Sailors.

"We're mirror images," Reynolds said. "I think it will be a matter of

who will show up and play well, because we're very similar. Both (the

Sailors) and ourselves tend to beat teams up with our size inside, so

this will be a nice challenge."

The Spartans, champions of the Century League, have beaten teams up

with greater consistency than the Tars. Villa Park's average margin of

victory has been nearly 21 points, including a 79-46 first-round

trouncing of Chaparral Friday.

The Spartans's three losses have come to Capistrano Valley, Mater Dei

and Century rival El Modena. They are on a seven-game winning streak.

The Sailors, only the fourth Newport team in 72 varsity seasons to

reach the 20-win plateau, are trying to join last year's squad as one of

only four Harbor teams to notch two postseason wins.

Villa Park's weapons include 6-foot-8 senior center Brice Prather, 6-9

junior Sean Phaler, 6-2 junior point guard Corey Miller and 6-5 junior

swing man Kyle Hogan.

Prather is averaging 18.3 points and around nine rebounds per game,

while Phaler, who has 146 three-pointers this season, is chipping in 17.9

points and around eight rebounds per contest.

Miller, leading the county at more than eight assists per game,

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