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Playoff Format Will Not Change

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A proposal that would have scrapped the City Section basketball playoff format in favor of one similar to the City’s postseason football structure has been set aside, Commissioner Barbara Fiege said this week.

“It never went through,” Fiege said. “And it’s much too late to even consider at this stage of the year.”

The section instead will maintain the format in which teams qualify for postseason play in 4-A and 3-A divisions based strictly seedings within their own division.

Fiege’s announcement Thursday helped dispel confusion among area coaches, who less than a month before the Feb. 17 opening of the playoffs did not know what format would be used.

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“I actually thought they were going to go with the football format,” said Steve Miller, coach of the North Hollywood boys’ team. “But there was no follow-up. Now we’re halfway through our league season and it’s like, ‘OK, now what comes next?’ ”

Bryant Ching, coach of the Monroe girls’ team, also had been confused. “A lot of coaches have had the impression that this thing was starting this year,” he said. “It was proposed way back in June.”

The proposed format might be instituted next season, Fiege said. Under that plan a committee, meeting at the end of the regular season, would choose a 16-team tournament bracket to determine the City championship. Teams would be selected based on quality regardless of divisional affiliation.

The committee also would select a second 16-team field. But unlike football’s 3-A tournament, the second basketball grouping would form a consolation tournament.

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Grant boys’ Coach Howard Levine does not like the format.

“If everyone is thrown in together, it creates a tremendously unfair playing field,” he said. “With schools that recruit, who have players moving in and out of schools without anybody doing anything about it, then to make everyone else play against them or compete for no championship at all is not right.”


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