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 St. Francis and La Cañada were also unveiled.
A young Spartans squad garnered the No. 12 seed and will host Lakeside (11-15), a Sunbelt League at-large, in Wednesday’s first round. La Cañada sits at 15-12 and took second in the Rio Hondo League. If it advances to Friday’s second round, it will face Century or, more than likely, old playoff foe Santa Margarita, the No. 5 seed.
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."