Reseda Cleveland Coach Andre Chevalier looked the most disappointed Saturday morning when the City Section boys’ basketball playoff pairings were determined.
The Cavaliers (23-3) were not seeded in the top four in the 16-team Championship Division, despite finishing as co-champion of the West Valley League, considered one of the strongest in the section.
Cleveland’s slide began before the pairings were selected when it lost a coin flip with co-champion Woodland Hills Taft to determine the league’s No. 1 representative for the playoffs.
Taft (23-2) was seeded third behind Los Angeles Fairfax (20-4) and L.A. Dorsey (22-2), but the big surprise came when L.A. Fremont (13-10) was seeded fourth.
Fremont, which won a coin flip to finish as the No. 2 representative from the Coliseum League, apparently impressed a majority of the 13 voters by defeating L.A. Crenshaw by one point Feb. 6 and losing by three to Dorsey on Friday.
Chevalier was disappointed by a perceived bias toward City Section schools in the San Fernando Valley, since most of the league representatives who voted are from central-city schools.
He was disappointed with the possibility of having to play at Fremont in the second round. The section’s governance structure, the Interscholastic Athletic Committee, adopted a rule this season that gives the higher-seeded team the option of playing at home through the semifinals.
“We get one home game instead of two,” Chevalier said. “But we’ll take care of business.”
Contrary to reports, a second bracket was not designed to include Westchester, which won the Western League but has been banned from the postseason by the section because of an alleged recruiting violation.
Westchester (23-2) is waiting to hear on an appeal to the California Interscholastic Federation. If that fails, Coach Ed Azzam said Friday night that attorneys for the team will pursue another injunction to allow the Comets into the playoffs.
“We’ll deal with that when and if it happens,” said Jeff Halpern, assistant commissioner for the section.
-- Dan Arritt
Harbor City Narbonne, vying for its fifth consecutive section championship, is the No. 1-seeded team in the girls’ basketball playoffs.
The Gauchos (15-8), trying to tie the section record for consecutive titles held by Los Angeles Washington, take the first step in the 16-team tournament Friday, when they play host to Sunset Six League champion Hollywood (13-8), which won its first league title.
Last year’s City runner-up, Sylmar (15-6), is seeded No. 3 and faces Los Angeles Marshall (14-12) in the first round.
No. 2-seeded Crenshaw (24-1) carries a 23-game winning streak into its game against Palisades (11-11).
Fairfax (21-3) is seeded No. 4 and plays host to North Hills Monroe (16-5).
-- Martin Henderson