Basketball Notebook : La Canada Readies for a Pre-Playoff Test

The La Canada High boys' team (18-2, 5-0) went undefeated in the first round of Rio Hondo League play. If the Spartans defeat South Pasadena (2-3) today and Blair (4-1) the following week, they will use the last three games to test offensive and defensive additions.

"If we can get by the next two weeks, we'll be in good shape," Coach Tom Hoffman said. "If we can clinch early, we can experiment with a few things."

Hoffman has been particularly pleased with the development of the offense this season. Junior center Chad Givens is averaging 23.5 points per game. His brother, Greg, is averaging 13 points and Chris Jones is averaging 15 points and 7 rebounds. La Canada easily defeated Blair in the first round but defeated South Pasadena by only eight points.

Face lift: In the second round of Pacific League play, Bob Henry would like his Hoover girls' team (3-2) to take on a different look. The original one.

"I've been trying to get people back from injuries all season," Henry said. "My practice team and my league team . . . I almost consider two different teams."

Henry won't have to wait long to learn the result of his efforts. Hoover plays league-leading Pasadena (5-0) and second-place Muir (4-1) next week.

Hoover will play three of its five remaining games at home and Henry believes the stage is set for an upset.

"If we have a few breaks, we're close enough that we can do it," Henry said. "Home is where the heart is and where the ball falls through the hoop."

Forward Jennie Pritchard is averaging 14.4 points and guards Maria Kim and Julianna Holmstrom are each averaging 10 points.

The hard way: The Franklin boys' team won its first Northern League game of the season last week, defeating Marshall, 47-45, on a layup by Jay Respicio with one second to play. The win streak didn't last long, however. Lincoln defeated Franklin, 84-60.

Coach Chuck Donaggho had hoped that the victory would make more of an impact on his team.

"I think I set a high jump record," Donaggho said of his excitement over the victory. "But after a big emotional game sometimes kids go flat and I think that's what happened."

Franklin (8-8, 1-4) will play second-place Belmont and first-place Wilson in the opening week of the league's second round.

Inside job: The development of frontline players Mike Harrison and Marc Schrobilgen is what Crescenta Valley needs to establish itself against Muir and Pasadena, Coach John Goffredo said. Crescenta Valley shot 38% against Muir in the first meeting of the teams this season.

"If Harrison plays well we're pretty tough," Goffredo said. "But when he scores zero or two. . . . we need that inside to balance it out.

"If Schrobilgen is ready to play, we can stay with most teams."

Schrobilgen, a 6-6, 185-pound senior, is averaging 12 points a game.

Rematch: Ivan Simon is optimistic about Eagle Rock's chances in a rematch against Marshall (5-0). Eagle Rock (4-1, 11-3) lost to Marshall in the first round, 40-28, but had played without starting forward Maya Taylor, who had a severe case of the flu. The loss of Taylor was compounded by a poor shooting performance by the Eagles.

"Everyone was playing out of position and I don't think shooting 11 for 60 helps," Simon said. "To be that close shooting that poorly and missing a starter, I have to be happy with our chances."

Recruiting trip: Eagle Rock boys' Coach Bill Whiting is already trying to find a replacement for forward Mikko Ihalainen. Although only a junior, Ihalainen is a foreign exchange student and will return to Finland this summer.

"We're trying to talk him into sending over a 6-10 friend," Whiting said.

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