BVB: Tall lineup of teams in Karch Kiraly TOC

They?ll be ducking to get through the doorway to play in the Santa Barbara High/Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions this weekend at J.R. Richards Gym and San Marcos.

The potent 16-team field will include some boys volleyball players who stand 6-7 and taller, the tallest being Newport Harbor?s 7-foot-1 Kevin Rakestraw.


Tournament top seed Mira Costa doesn?t have anyone quite that tall, but the 15-2 Mustangs have an experienced, talent-laden squad, led by Long Beach State-bound Scott Stephanoff, a 6-4 outside hitter.

Mira Costa?s only losses this season have come against Hawaii powerhouse Punahou and San Clemente, the top-ranked team in CIF-SS Division 1.

Esperanza, which upset the Mustangs to win last year?s TOC title, are seeded second in this weekend. The Aztecs are ranked No. 1 in CIF-SS Division 2 and return 6-7 Jake Arnitz, a UCLA commit who was last year?s tournament MVP.

Newport Harbor?s Rakestraw, who also played basketball for the Sailors, has committed to Stanford for volleyball.

West Ranch brings the biggest team to the tournament. The Wildcats have a pair of 6-11 players in Tanner Skabelund and Brenton Scott and 6-9 Thomas Basore.

Rounding out the tourney field are Valencia, Royal, Harvard Westlake, Corona del Mar, Fresno area powers Bullard and Buchanan, North Coast Section juggernauts Archbishop Mitty and Bellarmine Prep and local schools Dos Pueblos, San Marcos and the host Dons.

San Marcos opens the tournament for the local teams at 11 a.m. against Archbishop Mitty; Dos Pueblos takes on Buchanan at 12:45 p.m., and Santa Barbara begins play against Harvard Westlake at 4:15 p.m.
The tournament semifinals are Saturday at 10:45 a.m., and the championship is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. at Santa Barbara High. The consolation quarterfinals and semifinals are at San Marcos.