CIF Southern Section first-round playoff losses were had by the Burroughs High and Providence girls’ basketball teams last season.
Looking to change those fortunes, the Pioneers and Indians will carry the Media City girls’ basketball torch when the playoffs begin on Thursday night.
While Burroughs and Providence took early exits, Bellarmine-Jefferson shined.
In what is likely to be recalled as the last great moment in the school’s athletic chronicle, Bell-Jeff turned in a thrilling 2016-17 season that culminated with a CIF Southern Section Division 5-A title.
The Guards did not field a team this season as the school announced it will close its doors at the conclusion of the school year, so the spotlight is on Burroughs and Providence, who won league championships and were rewarded with home games on Thursday at 7.
Pacific League tri-champion Burroughs begins its playoff quest with a Division 2-AA first-round game against Buena, while Liberty League titlist Providence will host St. Genevieve on Thursday to open the Division 4-A tournament.
A good many area eyes are likely to be fixed on the Division 2-AA playoffs with Burroughs, Crescenta Valley, Glendale and La Cañada part of the 32-team bracket.
“Our division is just tough all-around,” Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan said. “So, I don’t think there’s any easy games.”
Burroughs, Crescenta Valley and Glendale shared the Pacific League title, but as they’re all in the same division, a coin flip was needed to determine seeding with the Indians taking the No. 1 seed, Crescenta Valley at No. 2 and Glendale at No. 3 and dealing with the consequences and then some.
Glendale will travel to face No. 2 seed Camarillo, while Crescenta Valley opens up at Newbury Park and could potentially play La Cañada in the second round.
The Indians (21-7) have rolled off eight straight wins heading into their opener with Buena (13-9), the No. 3 team out of the Channel League.
“I’m glad we’re at home, but it’s going to be a tough game,” said Oganyan, whose team lost to second-seeded Orange Lutheran, 39-22, in last season’s Division 1-AA first round. “We’re definitely playing our best basketball of the season.
“We peaked at the right time, so hopefully that carries into the playoffs.”
If the Indians get past Buena, they’ll move into Saturday’s second round against El Rancho (20-8, Del Rio League champion) or JSerra Catholic (19-7, Trinity League No. 3).
Providence (19-7) will host St. Genevieve (13-13), a Camino Real League at-large entry, on Thursday to open the Division 4-A tournament with a win sending it to Saturday’s second round against Avalon (14-8, San Joaquin No. 3) or Santa Ana Valley (13-11, Orange League No. 2).
Providence, which lost in the Division 4-A first round at home to Santa Ana, 52-50, last season, previously defeated St. Genevieve, 46-45, in its Paul Sutton Tip-Off Classic.