GLENDALE — In the end, the disentanglement of the final Pacific League boys' basketball standings was done by the merits rather than on the money.
Glendale High will enter the CIF Southern Section playoffs automatically as the league's fourth-place team after finishing in the middle of a three-way tiebreaker with Muir and Burbank conducted at Crescenta Valley High Friday morning.
Once thought to be based on a three-way odd-man-wins coin flip, the tiebreaker instead came down to the three teams' records against each other in league play. Muir (14-10, 7-7 in league) went 3-1 against Glendale (12-14, 7-7) and Burbank (16-11, 7-7) to finish third, while the Nitros split against both teams to go 2-2. Burbank, which is eligible to petition for an at-large playoff berth, fell to fifth-place based on its 1-3 head-to-head mark.
"We're happy with where we finished and glad to make the playoffs," Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress said. "We'll take it.
"I think [the overall head-to-head tiebreaker] is a fair way to do it. I think that's a good process. I'm happy with how they did it and everybody handled it well."
Glendale also might have had to meet Burbank on Friday in a play-in game to determine the fourth-place team under the coin-flip scenario if Muir had won the flip, as both the Nitros and Bulldogs are in the same playoff division. Instead, the Nitros can simply begin to prepare for the playoffs ahead of the release of CIF playoff pairings on Sunday afternoon.
"They liked it a lot," Snodgress said of the good news he delivered to his team on Friday. "This was a team that was 0-3 to start league, so for us it's kind of been a steady climb of getting ourselves into a race and playing some games that meant something.
"This team feels good. …They feel like they're a better team than they were four or five weeks ago."
Paul Schilling, the league's athletic secretary, said that when the coaches and administrators from the league schools met Friday, they a consulted a past league agreement in which the method of using overall head-to-head records between all teams involved was used to break a similar tie in soccer. He also said that formula will be officially recognized as the official tiebreaking method for basketball in the league bylaws going forward.
Also on Friday, the CIF offices came down with a ruling on the disputed transfer of a former Hoover boys' basketball player to Burbank. While the transfer was found to be illegal on the grounds that it was athletically motivated, CIF Director of Communications Thom Simmons said that only the player in question will be penalized and not the team.
"It's what we call a 206 violation, it's what we call an athletic motivation to the transfer," Simmons said. "It's from the date of the discovery, which was Feb. 10, which means the student-athlete is ineligible from this point on, but the team is not. It won't have any effect on the team's wins and losses."
If Burbank had been forced to forfeit games its ineligible player participated in, that might have significantly altered the final league standings and could have resulted in Glendale jumping over Muir for third place.