La Verne Lutheran: “Let them play”

The La Verne Lutheran boys basketball team is 20-6, and the No. 2 seed in the Division V-A playoffs, with an opening round game tonight against Hamilton (13-13). The Trojans are the defending CIF champs with the area’s best chance of adding another section title. But why no love from the Tribune?
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That’s what coach Eric Cooper wondered in our conversation this morning. Maybe we have overlooked them as a top ten team, because they were included most of last year, and have improved their schedule, albeit against all out-of-the-area teams. The reason we hesitate to cover a lot of their games is simply because in my opinion, readers are more interested in our traditional teams, and traditional leagues. When Lutheran gets into the Arrowhead league, they play teams like Sherman Indian, Boys Republic and California School for the Deaf. Our readers aren’t interested in reading about those blowouts. During December tournaments, Lutheran played in the Ayala and Pasadena tournaments, but our time is spent covering local tournaments like the Glendora/Rowland, Arroyo, and Covina tournaments, which are the biggest tournaments in our area. I suggested to Cooper that they enter themselves in one of the many local tournaments. If they’re as good as they say they’re, maybe they would be in finals playing the area’s best, or knocking off the area’s best in championship games. Cooper said he’s tried, but no area tournament will allow them to enter, and the area’s best teams won’t play them. That’s right, they have been basically blackballed for being good. For being a private school that has made an enormous leap in a short amount of time. In fact, a local coach told me, “I’ve had coaches tell me that if they’re entered (local tournaments), we won’t play.” I don’t know when all the local tournaments make their schedules, but I told Cooper I would put it out there for him: LA VERNE LUTHERAN will play in any local tournament that is willing to host. They will play any of the area’s best teams, any time, any place, just pick up the phone. To which I say, what are you all afraid of, it’s just a basketball game. Let them play.

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