For those who think there’s too many playoff divisions in high school sports and too many teams getting playoff invites, Sunday’s release of the Southern Section girls’ basketball playoff brackets might raise a few eyebrows.
That’s because in Division 1AA, Fountain Valley, which went 0-26 during the regular season, was awarded an at-large berth. Fountain Valley will play at Redondo on Thursday night.
Last season in boys’ basketball, St. Francis made the playoffs after going winless in the Mission League. But to go winless over the entire season and make the playoffs is rare in Southern Section history.
“They didn’t want to peak too early,” joked one coach commenting on a winless team making the playoffs.
Fountain Valley submitted the paperwork to be considered for an at-large berth even though it lost 77-23, 75-25 and 69-57 in its last three Sunset League games.
The 1AA needed teams because so many were plucked out to play in the Open Division playoffs. It’s one of the consequences for creating the Open Division. Other divisions are weakened, particularly 1AA. But inserting an 0-26 team is certainly going to raise questions about credibility of the tournament.
Playing in the playoffs is supposed to be a reward for performance in the regular season. Going winless and still qualifying will leave plenty scratching their head in bewilderment.
“We serve at the pleasure of the membership,” Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons said in explaining the rules. “If there’s an opening in the brackets and you apply, you can get in.”
Correction: An earlier version of this blog had Fountain Valley at 0-25. The team finished 0-26.
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