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Prep basketball: The chase begins for 10 teams

CIF-Southern Section releases hoops playoff brackets

Posted: February 14, 2010 10:03 p.m.
Updated: February 15, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

The good news is 10 local basketball teams made the CIF-Southern Section postseason.

The bad news is that most teams have an uphill climb - to say the least.

All three Foothill League champions - Golden Valley and Valencia boys and Canyon girls - are in brackets where they are clearly heavy underdogs to make a run at a division championship.

"It's going to be unbelievably difficult," said Golden Valley boys basketball coach Chris Printz.

The Grizzlies (22-5) host Sierra Vista (13-12) on Wednesday in the first round of the Division IIIA playoffs.

All boys first-round games will be played on Wednesday and girls first-round are on Thursday. All games are scheduled for 7 p.m.

Golden Valley made it to the semifinals last year before losing to Gahr - one of five teams in this year's Division IIIA bracket that is ranked in Calpreps.com's state top 50.

At the top of the bracket is No. 3 Serra.

Valencia's boys don't have it much easier as the Vikings' bracket also has five top 50 teams, including No. 7 Loyola.

Valencia (21-4) hosts Highland (11-11) and if it makes it to the quarterfinals, a likely matchup would pit the Vikings against Loyola.

Most fortunate, it seems, is Canyon's boys.

The Cowboys (18-8) not only get a home game, against Vista del Lago (14-9), despite finishing in third place in the Foothill League, they have one team in the top 50 in their bracket - No. 49 Summit, which is the No. 1 seed in the Division IIAA playoffs.

Also, a Canyon victory in the first round would likely give the Cowboys a second-round matchup with No. 3 seeded Canyon of Anaheim.

If the Cowboys beat Canyon of Anaheim, they essentially take over the No. 3 seed.

"I love the fact that we get to play at home," said Canyon head coach Chad Phillips. "My boys are really going to be excited for that opportunity."

Saugus and West Ranch are in the same bracket and will both travel, as the Wildcats (12-14) take on Compton (14-12) and the Centurions (16-10) gets Cypress (21-5).

The Heritage League's third place team, Santa Clarita Christian (17-5), will host New Harvest Christian (12-7) in the Division VIA playoffs.

The girls also have a tough draw as Canyon and West Ranch host games in the Division IIAA bracket.

Four teams in the bracket are in the top 11 of the state's Division II rankings.

Canyon (20-6) hosts Pioneer Valley (13-12).

But Canyon head coach Chuck Johns is confident.

"Right now we're playing the best basketball we've played all season and that's a good sign," Johns said.

Canyon won its first league title since 1973 by beating West Ranch last Thursday.

The Wildcats (16-9) will host Serrano (14-14) on Thursday.

If they win, it would likely set up a Saturday game against the bracket's top seed Brea Olinda.

Some would say that's a tough position to be in, but if West Ranch beats Brea Olinda, it would take over as the bracket's No. 1 seed.

"That's, of course, is a big if," said West Ranch head coach Randy Smith. "The other reason I don't mind (potentially playing a No. 1 seed early) is you don't usually get to play a team that good and see what one of the better teams in the state is like."

Valencia (15-12) has to travel to sixth-seeded Cresecenta Valley (22-5) on Thursday for the first round of the Division IA playoffs.

Vasquez of Acton (9-9) will make its first-ever playoff appearance as the Mustangs girls basketball team travels to play Pilibos of

Los Angeles (17-3) in the Division VA playoffs.

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