GLENDALE â€” Getting a high seed and subsequent first-round bye in the CIF Southern Section playoff pairings that were released on Sunday was a refreshing departure from the recent past for two of the area's postseason-bound boys' basketball teams.
For the Flintridge Prep Rebels, seeded fifth in Division IV-A, just being back in the playoffs was a welcome change following a one-year hiatus in 2006-07.
Renaissance Academy, the top seed in Division III-A, has enjoyed a high seed in the playoffs for several years running. Last year, however, the Wildcats were forced to not only play in the first round, but do so on the road.
â€œI think CIF finally realized it didn't look good for us to be out on the road in the first round [last year],â€ said Renaissance Coach Sid Cooke, whose team came one game short of a title in Division III-A last year. â€œWe're right where we should be.â€
The first playoff game of the year for the Wildcats (22-2) will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, when they will host the winner of Wednesday's first-round game between Santa Fe and Estancia.
Renaissance defeated 15th-seeded Santa Fe (18-10), 67-54, in the quarterfinal round last season.
The Prep League champon Rebels (20-4) will also make their playoff debut on Friday night, in a 7:30 p.m. home tipoff against the winner of Wednesday's St. Paul-Whittier Christian game.
â€œWe had seen the polls all this year and figured we were at [a] five [seed],â€ Prep Coach Garrett Ohara said. â€œWe figured that at least three or four teams would get byes, and that five teams got it...you can't complain â€” you're in the second round already.â€
In the Pacific League, no fewer than six teams will make Division II-AA playoff appearances this year, including Hoover, Crescenta Valley and Glendale highs.
The Tornadoes (15-11) finished third in league â€” the best showing of the three locals â€” but have a tough first-round draw facing them at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night.
Unseeded Hoover must travel to Bonita (24-3), the Division's eighth seed.
â€œThey have size and they have guards that can play, so it's gonna be a nice uphill climb for us,â€ first-year Hoover Coach Henrik Sardarbegian said.
If Crescenta Valley and Glendale are to join Hoover in first-round action on Friday, both squads must first pass wild-card tests on Wednesday.
In a pair of 7:30 p.m. contests, the Falcons host a Miramonte League at-large team, Los Altos (16-8), while the Nitros welcome Troy (14-13), an at-large entry from the Freeway League.
â€œAny time you get a home game in the playoffs, it's really exciting,â€ said Crescenta Valley Coach Shawn Zargarian, whose team took fourth place in league.
Glendale finished out of the top four in league, but qualified as an at-large team.
â€œ[Playing at home] will make it fun,â€ Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress said. â€œPlayoffs are playoffs â€” it's fun no matter where you play â€” but we're excited to have a home game.
â€œIn the past, [Troy] has always been a good basketball team, so I'm sure we'll find out good things about them.â€
A win for the Falcons (17-9) sets up a first-round game on Friday at 11th-seeded Valencia, the Foothill League champion.
Glendale (13-13) will advance to a Friday game at top-seeded Citrus Belt champion Eisenhower should it get past Troy.
?GABRIEL RIZK covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3226 or at email@example.com.