Wildcats raring for run

On three occasions, the Renaissance Academy boys’ basketball program has vied for a CIF Southern Section Division championship only to come up short.

But many believe this season may very well be the best chance of them all.

Renaissance, as expected, was bestowed the No. 1 seed in the Division 6 tournament on Sunday and will begin its championship quest on Wednesday when it hosts St. Monica Academy.

“I think our schedule was tougher than a lot of teams in higher divisions,” said Wildcats Coach Sid Cooke. “I kind of expected [to be the No. 1 seed] considering the strength of schedule. … We feel we’re pretty
much as prepared for playoffs as we can be.”

The Wildcats are one of four La Canada-area boys’ basketball teams who will hit the playoff hardwood, with Renaissance looking for its first CIF championship plaque, while Flintridge Prep and La Cañada are trying to repeat as CIF champs and St. Francis is also hoping to make some noise.

Cooke said it’s uncertain as to what venue will host the Wednesday game yet.

St. Monica is the International League’s third-place team. Renaissance also took third in the Harbor League, but has been ranked atop the division for most of the season. Still, Cooke isn’t taking anything for granted.

“I don’t look past anyone,” he said. “Anything can happen in the playoffs.”

In Division 3AA, La Canada, which shared the Rio Hondo League title, received the third seed and a first-round bye. The Spartans, who won a CIF championship last season, will face either 14th-seeded Garden Grove Pacifica or Northwood on Friday at La Canada in the second round.

On Wednesday, St. Francis will open up the Division 3A playoffs on the road against Mountain View, the Mission Valley League’s third-place team. The Golden Knights, a Mission League at-large entrant, are
seeded 10th and will play either Covina or Pioneer in Friday’s second round should they advance.  

Flintridge Prep will begin its quest to repeat as a CIF champion when it hosts familiar first-round foe Santa Clara on Wednesday in the opening round of the Division 5AA tournament.  Should the Rebels move on, they’ll take to the second round on Friday to face Bloomington Christian or Arrowhead Christian.

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