BOYS BASKETBALL: The final four

La Canada faces perhaps its biggest challenge of the season on Tuesday when the Spartans travel to Harvard-Westlake to take on defending champion Campbell Hall in the CIF-Southern Section Division III-AA semifinals.

Your thoughts?

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Above: La Canada coach Tom Hofman leads his team into the CIF-SS Division III-AA semifinals against Campbell Hall.

CIF-SS PLAYOFFS
BOYS BASKETBALL
Division III-AA
Semifinals

La Canada vs. Campbell Hall at Harvard-Westlake HS, 7:30 p.m.

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BASEBALL: It’s finally time to play ball!!!

Baseball season begins with the talent-laden Elks tournament.

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Friday, Feb. 29 Games
Arcadia vs. Alhambra at Moor Field, 3:15 p.m.
Pasadena Poly at Temple City, 3:15 p.m.
Gabrielino at Monrovia, 3:15 p.m.
El Monte at South Pasadena, 3:15 p.m.
Duarte at Pasadena, 3:15 p.m.
Mountain View at La Salle, 3:15 p.m.
Paraclete at San Gabriel, 3:15 p.m.
Cantwell-Sacred Heart at St. Francis, 3:15 p.m.
Sierra Vista at Rosemead, 3:15 p.m.
Continue reading

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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Win and wait

Maranatha High School’s girls basketball is in the CIF-Southern Section Division V-AA championship game and will take on defending champion and league rival Whittier Christian at the Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State.
The Question is, when?
Our friends at the CIF-Southern Section office love to keep you guessing.

Here’s the latest memo from the CIF:
“In order to properly schedule all Southern Section championship events (boys and basketball; boys and girls soccer; girls water polo) the finals schedule for the 2008 Boys and Girls Basketball Championships will appear on the website after 12:00 noon on Wednesday, February 27, 2008. Please check back at that time. Thank you.”

Since upper division basketball, and soccer will be playing semifinal rounds on Tuesday, this mainly affects basketball teams which solidified spots in the title game on Saturday, including Maranatha.
The Minutemen know who they play, but not when. So Annie Miller has to enter the week under the belief that her team is playing on Friday, and if it gets an extra day to prepare, sobeit.
These lower level games should be already set since those are the games that generally bring the smallest crowds. The more people that know about when a game is, the more people that can make plans.

I understand why the CIF does this, it still doesn’t help teams preparing, or their fans in planning.
Rather than a big event the respective schools should be celebrating, it’s more like a surprise party.

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BOYS BASKETBALL: A heart-breaking night for the locals

Marshall, Renaissance Academy and Maranatha all fall from the CIF-Southern Section playoffs, while La Canada lives to play another day.

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Above: Marshall’s David Morris (5) is rejected driving to the basket during the Eagles’ CIF-SS Division V-AA semifinal playoff basketball againt Pacific Hills at Muir High School. (SGVN/Staff Photo Keith Birmingham/SXsports)

Some thoughts: La Verne Lutheran showed great poise after falling behind late in the fourth quarter. Getting Maranatha’s top scorers Daniel Dingle and Anthony Morton to foul out was also huge. My prediction for the Division V-AA finals between La Verne Lutheran and Pacific Hills: Pacific Hills is the defending champion and boasts the division’s returning Player of the Year in Derick Flowers. I didn’t see anything to change my opinion that Pacific Hills is the best team in Division V. I pick Pacific Hills by double digits.
Renaissance Academy’s loss to West Hills in the Division III-A semifinals doesn’t shock me too much. West Valley is a fairly good-sized school with talented athletes. My question now is if Renaissance Academy, with its record and the fact it moves down in divisions, will make the state tournament like Price did last season after losing to La Canada in the Division III-AA semifinals.
Marshall showed that it was a talented team by taking Pacific Hills, a team it had beaten once, to the limit.
Finally, La Canada continues to defy the odds and advanced to the Division III-AA semifinals with a win over Santa Clara. Now the Spartans must defy the biggest odds of them all when they face defending champion Campbell Hall on the road at a neutral site on Tuesday.

CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYOFFS
BOYS BASKETBALL
Division III-AA
Quarterfinals

La Canada 65, Santa Clara 59

Division III-A
Semifinals

West Valley 62, Renaissance Academy 56

Division V-AA
Semifinals

La Verne Lutheran 39, Maranatha 37
Pacific Hills 43, Marshall 41

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JUST MY TWO CENTS

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In the politically-correct world that we live in, I’d thought I’d share a thought on what seems to be the politically-correct CIF playoffs.
The system is the way it is, but does anyone else ever find it amusing that teams that earn top-four seeds have to, more times than not, go on the road to face a lesser opponent in the second, quarterfinal and perhaps even the semifinals?
What does being a No. 1 seed get you? Sometimes a first-round bye, but mostly a cupcake in the first round.
Isn’t it about time that teams with better records get rewarded throughout the playoffs?
For example; Muir, a No. 2 seed in the Division I-A girls basketball playoffs, will be playing its second straight road game when it travels to Riverside M.L. King. King’s a very good team. If Muir advances and, let’s say for fun, Mira Costa gets upset, the Mustangs would be right back on the road.
In girls soccer, Maranatha had to go on the road to play against Torrance, a team with a lesser record. On a field that looked like a tornado ripped through leaving little grass and mostly mud, and with intense coastal winds, the Minutemen got blown out of the postseason.
Some sports, it doesn’t matter who the home team is, but I think it’s time to reward the top teams and give the teams with either the best record or the best league finish, the home game.
In the meantime, I’ll send a postcard from Riverside.

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