When Sunday’s CIF Southern Section boys’ basketball pairings were released, Flintridge Prep Coach Garrett Ohara got the seed he expected and was plenty happy about it.
“Love the draw,” said Ohara, whose Prep League-champion Rebels garnered the No. 2 seed in Division 5-AA and will host Avalon in a first-round matchup Wednesday. “The rankings obviously don’t help you win a game, but they make it easier for you, your path at least.”
The playoff paths of Crescenta Valley, St. Francis, Hoover and Glendale were also unveiled, with the Falcons as the only other local to garner a home game.
Just like Ohara, Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian was happy with his seed, but in contrast, he was a bit surprised.
After a bit of a bumpy second half to league play, the Falcons netted the No. 4 seed in Division 1-A and will host Sunbelt League at-large Paloma Valley.
“I was kind of surprised to see us ranked that high,” said Zargarian, whose Falcons were ranked sixth going into play last week. “It’s a tribute to the kids and the program to be ranked as high as we were.”
Crescenta Valley, which advanced to the division semifinals last season, took second in the Pacific League and boasts a 20-7 record heading into Friday’s first-round battle against Paloma Valley, which tied for fourth in the Sunbelt League and has a 12-16 record.
Zargarian admitted he doesn’t know much about his opponent just yet, but believes a win will be more dependent on what the Falcons do.
“I think it’s more about what we do and how we play,” said Zargarian, whose team has often lived by the success of its outside shooting. “It’s no secret, we shoot the three. In the games we win, we shoot well.”
If the Falcons win, they’ll face either No. 13 Edison or Walnut in Tuesday’s second round.
Elsewhere in Division 1-A, Glendale received an at-large bid after finishing seventh in the Pacific League with an overall 9-17 mark and drew a very tough Dana Hills team (20-7), which holds the sixth seed and took second in the Sea View League. The winner advances to either Schurr or Troy.
“We were hoping we were getting in. I can’t say that I’m surprised we’re getting in, but we knew it wasn’t a certainty,” Snodgress said. “We know we’re facing a really good club.”
In 3-AA, No. 14 Hoover makes its return to the playoffs for the first time since 2010 on Wednesday when it faces host Firebaugh, the Harbor League’s third-place team.
“We’re happy. We felt real good about [getting an at-large berth] because we had some good games against good opponents,” Hoover Coach Jack Van Patten said. “We have a good shot, we’ve been playing well.”
Should the Tornadoes (13-13) defeat Firebaugh (14-12), they would advance to Friday’s second round against No. 3 Corona del Mar or Rancho Alamitos.
In Division 3-A, St. Francis co-Coach Ray O’Brien is hoping his Golden Knights’ string of four straight seasons of advancing to the second round will continue, but go beyond the second-round barrier.
“We’re optimistic that we can do pretty well and get farther than we’ve ever got,” O’Brien said.
No. 7 St. Francis (15-13), an at-large entry out of the arduous Mission League, begins its playoff trek going north to Lompoc (10-9). O’Brien doesn’t know much about Lompoc, but said it’s improved as the season has gone on en route to a third-place finish in the Los Padres League.
“Don’t know a lot about them,” O’Brien said. “Looks like they’ve got a lot of football players, so they got better as the season went on and they got their basketball legs.”
Consequently, Lompoc’s football team defeated St. Francis in the Western Division football playoffs, thus the Golden Knights who were also on the football team might have some added incentive.
The winner will play No. 10 San Dimas or Pioneer in Friday’s second round.
Prep (19-5) faces an Avalon squad that tied for third in the San Joaquin League and notched an at-large berth with an 11-12 record.
Ohara is confident of his team’s chances as it looks toward a length playoff run.
“We really like how we’re playing this time of the year,” said Ohara, whose team has won 12 straight and would face Providence or Desert Christian in Friday’s second round should it win. “We really feel like we’re peaking. … It’s the right time of the year for that.”