Castellano said the Van Den Heever twins will be gone for a few weeks starting Sunday, however. They are leaving for the Solomon Islands, to visit their mother.

Castellano said he expects them back in early January, in time for Orange Coast League play which begins Jan. 8 against rival Costa Mesa. Last year the teams split league meetings and Costa Mesa finished second in league, Estancia third.

The teams already met this year at the CdM tournament, with Estancia rallying for a 55-45 win in the consolation semifinals Nov. 29.


Costa Mesa Coach Nichole Maddox is also happy with her team's start. Maddox said her team was missing two key players, Molly Settles and Rachel Witter, in the Estancia game.

Maddox said she expects big things out of Settles, a 5-foot-8 senior captain. Settles was first-team All-Orange Coast League a year ago and averaged 9.5 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Mustangs.

Maddox said senior center Elizabeth Ford, who played on junior varsity last year, is also stepping up.

"She's played really amazing so far," Maddox said. "We're not super-tall, but we're looking really strong."

The Mustangs are playing in the Fairmont Prep tournament this week. They host their annual Costa Mesa Winter Classic tournament beginning Dec. 26.


Upcoming nonleague games featuring two local schools include the Battle of the Bay, which is Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. at Corona del Mar. Last year the Sea Kings beat the Sailors, 30-27, earning their first win in the rivalry game in five years.

CdM plays at Costa Mesa on Jan. 4, and Estancia plays host to Newport Harbor on Jan. 26.

Twitter: @mjszabo