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The day after: There is still hope for some

A poor record might not prevent teams from making postseason; soccer races heat up

Posted: February 3, 2010 10:23 p.m.
Updated: February 4, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Last season, Canyon boys basketball made the CIF-Southern Section postseason with an 8-19 record.

So while league titles are on many teams' minds, especially as we reach the stretch run in the Foothill League season, playoffs should still be on every basketball team's mind.

At this point, its evident in boys basketball that Golden Valley, Valencia and Canyon are the cream of the crop and on the girls' side it's West Ranch, Valencia and Canyon.

But according to the CIF-Southern Section office, the other basketball teams, no matter their records, are eligible to apply for the postseason for an at-large bid.

Each bracket will contain 32 teams and luckily for some teams, their poor record doesn't prevent them from making the postseason.

Hart boys head coach Tom Kelly was surprised when he was reminded of Canyon's berth in the playoffs last season.

The Indians have won just five games this season and are 0-7 in the Foothill League - the worst record in Kelly's 10-year Hart tenure.

"This is speaking a foreign language. I don't understand it," Kelly said of his team's record. "It's not something we're going to get used to."

The Indians are running out of time to win a Foothill game, as West Ranch, Saugus, then Golden Valley round out their schedule.

As for the playoffs, Kelly's thought is: "The only thing on our mind right now is West Ranch."

The Hart and Saugus girls basketball teams may have more of a case to make the postseason, as both have two wins in the Foothill League.

Saugus picked up its second with a 75-34 victory over Golden Valley on Tuesday night.

The Centurions had four girls in double figures - Kaylynn Martin (19), Crystal Makous and Megan Dawe (14) and Jordan Oster (12).

Canyon beat Hart 80-50 as Alexus Bryant scored 15 points for the Cowboys.

Better cases than any other middle-of-the-pack teams are Saugus and West Ranch boys basketball, as both have more than 10 wins overall.

Both lost on Tuesday.

After Canyon and Valencia shook hands Monday following the Cowboys' 1-0 win, Vikings head coach Tony Scalercio said he singled out Mohammed Roknipour and told him: "You are a really good player."

The junior forward, whose showmanlike skills have led the Cowboys to the top of the Foothill League, was really good on Tuesday as well.

Roknipour scored all three of Canyon's goals in a 3-1 win over Hart.

"I could tell from the first scrimmage his presence would make a big impact," said Canyon head coach Khris Savage.

Roknipour has 19 goals and 10 assists this season. Nine of those goals have come in Foothill games, yet Canyon has seen 10 different players contribute goals and assists.

The Cowboys, though, have a tough matchup on Friday as they meet Saugus.

The Centurions are 2-0-1 in their last three Foothill League games.

"My principal e-mailed me today and he said, ‘Games eight, nine and 10 separate the men from the boys,'" Savage said.

Game nine is against second-place Valencia.

A loss to Saugus and a Valencia win on Friday would set up a matchup for first place on Tuesday.

On the girls' side, there is proving to be a lot of parity.

With three games remaining for each team, Foothill League girls soccer might be set up for the best finish of all winter sports.

Valencia has a win over Hart.

Canyon has beaten Valencia and Saugus.

Saugus has a win over Valencia.

Hart has beaten Saugus and Canyon.

The Indians, though, are the league's hottest team after a win over Saugus on Monday and a victory over Canyon on Tuesday.

Three points separate the top four teams.

Valencia beat West Ranch 3-1 on Tuesday with two goals from Kristin Bos and one from Nicolette Smith.

Saugus, which is tied with Hart for first place with 15 points, defeated Golden Valley 2-0 on Tuesday with goals from Emily Relles.


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