At-large waiting game awaits locals

GLENDALE — When Thursday night concluded, so too did all the drama of the girls' basketball playoff race. Or at least that was what was supposed to happen.

Instead, Crescenta Valley High, Glendale, Arcadia and Burbank were forced to wait a bit longer to find out just who was the official fourth-place finisher in the league and would receive an automatic playoff entry.

On the strength of head-to-head competition between the four teams, Burbank will advance into next week's postseason as the fourth-place finisher, while the rest of the quartet must wait until Sunday to find out if they will be granted at-large entries.

"One hundred percent completely fair," Crescenta Valley Coach Jason Perez said of the process. "You gotta look at those four teams that were there.

"I think it's completely fair."

Like Perez, Tania Adary's Glendale squad was left out, as well, but she also agreed with the head-to-head process, which saw Burbank go 4-2, while Glendale and Arcadia were both 3-3 and Crescenta Valley was 2-4 within the four teams.

"It's better than having us play somebody and the other two teams playing each other," Adary said. "If you do better against the other teams then you should get in. And I'm not going in on a coin flip."

Adary and Perez were both in agreement that the head-to-head tiebreaker was better than the other options of competing in play-in games on Friday or letting the flip of a coin decide matters. According to the league's athletic secretary, Crescenta Valley's Paul Schilling, it was decided on Friday morning in a meeting among athletic directors in the league that the ties in both girls' basketball and boys' basketball — a three-way tie for third and fourth place — the tiebreaker would be head-to-head record between all involved parties. All four squads ended the regular league season with 6-8 marks.

"Crazy Pacific League this year," Perez said.

The Falcons, who advanced to the CIF quarterfinals last year, actually swept their season series with third-place Pasadena, but against their fourth-place contemporaries couldn't get above .500.

"Yeah, we beat the third-place team twice, but we didn't take care of business against those teams," Perez said. "If we would've beat those teams, we would've been in third and we wouldn't be having this conversation.

"We couldn't take care of business."

Both Perez and Adary have petitioned for at-large berths, with the Falcons (13-13) hoping to find their way into the Division IA playoffs, while Glendale (14-12) is looking for a spot in the Division IIAA tournament. Both coaches are relatively confident that when the CIF pairings are released on Sunday, their teams will be among those selected.

"I think we'll find our way," said Perez, whose squad lost three straight to end the regular season. "I think we have some pretty good wins.

"If we don't get in, you gotta take a look at those games we let slip away."

Adary's Nitros won their last two, including a pivotal win over the Falcons to work their way into the four-team tie at season's end. Thus, when she told her team that they didn't get an automatic bid, there wasn't much disappointment, but there remains plenty of hope regarding a postseason to come.

"We didn't look into it too deeply. We just anticipated fifth place, we were anticipating the at-large," Adary said. "Thankfully, [the season] kind of ended on a stronger note. Hopefully we roll right into it."

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