Sherman Oaks CES High is facing forced releaguing of the cruelest kind, which could mean a demotion from the City Section’s highest to lowest level of basketball.
Athletic Director Mac Becker said the school has received a letter from the City athletics office stating that the school’s program may be sent from the 4-A Division to the Magnet League for the 1993-94 season. He objects to the move and said the school is preparing its response.
Becker characterized the move as a potentially crushing blow. The City is considering the move, Becker said, because Sherman Oaks finished 2-17 last season.
For Sherman Oaks, it could mean a 180-degree turn. Five years ago, Sherman Oaks was promoted to the 3-A Division from the Magnet League after one season in the league composed of alternative schools such as Downtown Business Magnet. The school completed its third season of basketball in the Valley Pac-8 Conference in 1992-93.
The possible demotion does not sit well with Becker, who called the quality of play at the magnet-school level “next to nothing.”
Becker, who formerly coached the boys’ team and was instrumental in its promotion from the magnet-league level, faults the City in part for the team’s poor record this season. The boys were 13-13 overall and finished second in the 3-A East Valley League in 1991-92. Consequently, the team was moved into the 4-A Division for 1992-93 and could not keep pace with the competition.
In addition, Becker said, the move into the 4-A “chased off” four varsity players, including two starters.
The Sherman Oaks girls’ team, formed five years ago after the boys’ team was elevated from the magnet ranks, has never had a winning season. Becker conceded that the girls’ teams have struggled but said a new coach has been hired and that the program is moving in the right direction.
Becker said the school will fight the demotion.
“If we’re not good enough to play in the 4-A, then they made a mistake in putting us there,” said Becker, referring to the boys’ team. “But our kids don’t deserve to be kicked out. Put us back in the 3-A and leave us alone.”