GLENDALE — Trying to prepare and then win a playoff game can be difficult enough. Having to navigate through rush-hour traffic on numerous freeways just to get to the games might be a greater hassle.
Fortunately for the Hoover High and Renaissance Academy boys' basketball teams, they will host postseason contests tonight in their bids to keep their championship aspirations alive.
Hoover will meet upset-minded Great Oak in a CIF Southern Section Division II-AA second-round contest. Renaissance Academy will battle Santa Fe in a Division III-A quarterfinal game. Both games will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The 12th-seeded Tornadoes (20-7) will be glad to play at home after traveling close to two hours to the east end of the San Gabriel Valley on Friday to post a 62-53 first-round victory against Charter Oak.
"We are excited about being at home," said Hoover Coach Vigen Jilizian, who picked up his first career postseason victory at Hoover since taking over the program from Kirt Kohlmeier in 2003. "Let somebody else drive a couple of hours for a change."
Hoover, which finished second in the Pacific League behind top-seeded Pasadena, figured it would meet third-seeded Colony tonight. However, Great Oak (19-10) pulled off a stunning 92-59 road win against Colony.
That forced Jilizian to scramble for film and scouting reports concerning Temecula-based Great Oak, which finished fourth in the Southwestern League and received an at-large berth.
"We had to scramble to find anything we could on them," Jilizian said. "You want to know if a team plays a zone defense or presses so that it can give you something to prepare for."
The Tornadoes are led by senior center Zareh Zargaryan, who finished with 32 points and eight rebounds against Charter Oak. Teammate Artash Davoodi, a senior forward, added 16 points.
Hoover junior forward Shara Babakhanians returned Friday following an ankle injury. In limited playing time, Babakhanians finished with five assists and two steals.
Great Oak began its playoff run Wednesday with a 59-30 wild-card road win against San Bernardino before winning its biggest game of the season Friday.
Senior guard Louis Green scored 30 points and sophomore guard Gerard Glass added 16 to pace the Wolfpack, which got 14 points and 15 rebounds from senior forward Robert Marshall against Colony.
The Hoover-Great Oak winner will then battle A.B. Miller or St. Bernard in a quarterfinal game Friday.
In the other local contest, second-seeded Renaissance Academy (25-1) will meet seventh-seeded Santa Fe (22-7).
The Wildcats, who advanced to the Division V-A championship game the past two seasons, were moved up several divisions. They began the postseason Wednesday with a 62-57 overtime road win against Laguna Hills before notching a 79-66 second-round home win against Paloma Valley on Friday.
Renaissance Coach Sid Cooke said he scouted Santa Fe, which won the Del Rio League crown, during the regular season.
"Santa Fe beat some good teams during the regular season," Cooke said. "They aren't flashy, but they get things done.
"We are peeking, and it's about us putting pressure on people and getting them off their games."
The Wildcats got another standout effort from Justin Cook against Paloma Valley. The junior guard, an All-Area pick last season, had 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks.
Senior guard Jaycob Camacho and junior guard Maurice Cole pace Santa Fe.
"They grind things out," Cooke said. "Camacho's one of the top players in their league and Cole can penetrate."
The Renaissance Academy-Santa Fe winner will next meet sixth-seeded Perris or Sultana in a semifinal contest Friday.