With the announcements of the CIF-Southern Section open division playoff field for boys basketball just days, Maranatha head coach Tim Tucker is finding life on the bubble to be a nerve-wracking thing.
Tucker’s Minutemen enter the final week of the season with a good, not great record of 13-8. But the Minutemen are closing in on the Olympic League championship and feature the leading scorer in the Southern Section in recent Oregon commit Tyler Dorsey, who is averaging 34.7 points per game.
Those factors combined with the high preseason expectations of being one of the Southland’s top 10 teams, make it not hard to see why Maranatha is still in the mix for an open division berth despite not having the most glamorous record around.
The open division was designed to pit up to the best 16 teams in the Southern Section against each other rather than playing in their current divisions. Last season was the first year it was used.
“There’s a good chance we’re in (the open division), but I don’t think we’re an open division team,” Tucker said. “Who have we beat? That’s my thing. I think we’re a good team. Don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think we’re an open division team.”
There’s a caveat to Tucker’s opinion of his team. And that would be 6-foot-10 post player Trevor Stanback, who hasn’t played this season due to an undisclosed illness and likely won’t be back for the playoffs either.
“If we had Stanback, put us in,” Tucker said. “But we don’t have Stanback. So what says we’re an open division team? Chino Hills beat us twice. Long Beach Poly blew us out. We won a close game with Cathedral. Corona Centennial beat us by 30. What says we’re an open division team?
“If we’re an open division team, I will play anybody. It’s not a big deal. I’ve never run from competition and anybody who says Tim Tucker runs from competition is not telling the truth because we probably have the toughest schedule of anybody around this year. But in saying that, the schedule was also made thinking we’d have Stanback.”
RIO HONDO IS WILD TO THE END
Entering the final week of the season, there no less than four teams in the Rio Hondo League still harboring league title aspirations. It figures to be one nutty week.
La Canada and South Pasadena enter the week tied atop the standings with matching 6-2 records in league. Right behind is Temple City at 5-3 in league. Then there’s San Marino at 4-4.
On Tuesday, the first clues will roll in after La Canada visits Blair, Temple City goes to San Marino and South Pasadena hosts Monrovia, which last week caused the chaos by stunning La Canada.
On Thursday, things end stylishly with San Marino hosting rival South Pas, which lost to the Titans at home in late January. That same night, La Canada visits Temple City. Given how the season has gone to date, expect more craziness.
KEPPEL SET TO CELEBRATE
All that stands between Keppel and yet another Almont League title is a home game with Schurr on Tuesday. Win that one, and the Aztecs are league champs with a game left to be played before the regular season is over.
PASADENA IN A DOGFIGHT
Pasadena and Glendale enter the final week of the season tied atop the Pacific League standings. The Bulldogs couldn’t ask for a better way to end the season than what lays ahead.
Pasadena has home games this week against Burbank on Tuesday and Muir on Thursday. The Bulldogs won the first meeting with both teams by double digits, respectively, on the road.