With the Valle Vista, Hacienda and Montview league’s beginning this week, here are my new predictions on how it will unfold.
Hacienda League: Have grown to love the new league because the parity is great across the board with the exception of Los Altos, who in future years will be right there too. But we’re talking about the present, and no way am I not going with West Covina (3-1), fresh off three straight wins over Venice, South Hills and Glendora, all upper-divisional foes. I’m going with Rowland (3-1) and Michael Ball to edge out Bonita (4-1) for second and third respectively. That leaves a fourth-place guaranteed spot, which I’m giving to Diamond Bar (4-0), who will edge out Diamond Ranch and Walnut for that final spot. There is one at-large berth in the Division, and given the fact five teams are ranked in this week’s top ten poll, it’s not a stretch that five teams could make it to the playoff party.
Valle Vista: The only guarantee thus far is that San Dimas (2-2) will do enough to win the league title, though going undefeated will be difficult. Covina (3-1), with its win over West Covina still fresh in the memory banks and with perhaps the best offense, will finish second, thus earning a precious playoff berth, (only two playoff spots are guaranteed in each league in the Mid-Valley Division with four at-large berths overall). Baldwin Park, because it started 0-4, could be in playoff trouble. The Braves need to finish second to guarantee a spot, but absolutely have to finish no worse than third to have any kind of a chance at a playoff spot, which won’t be easy with Wilson (2-1) and Pomona (3-1) much improved. But I still like the Braves to finish third, then I can’t wait for the playoff pairings. Lets say the Braves go 4-2 in the VVL and finish 4-6 overall. Do they get in over a fourth or fifth place Pomona or Wilson, who potentially could have a better overall record? I can’t wait to watch how CIF handles this, because regardless of who finishes third, the VVL should garner at least one of the at-large berths. But the reality is, scheduling easy pays off more than scheduling up.
Montview League: Azusa (3-0) should build on their back-to-back titles and bring a 12-game league winning streak into the Montview, which could very well stretch to 18 come November. Yes, the Aztecs will finish first with La Puente (3-1) a close second over Sierra Vista (3-0). But here’s the real story: Will the Montview get an at-large berth? Assuming Sierra Vista loses to Azusa, La Puente and beats everyone else, they would finish 8-2, and maybe 7-3 at the very worst. Is that good enough for an at-large? Or look at it this way, who does CIF take first, an 8-2 Sierra Vista or a 4-6 Baldwin Park, assuming both finish third in league. Interesting thought, isn’t it? As of now, the Dons are No. 7 and the Braves aren’t anywhere to be found in the Mid-Valley polls.