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The Day After: They can only wait and see

With automatic spots gone, a few hope for at-large berths

Posted: February 10, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 10, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Valencia’s Kalia Summerlin shoots a 3-pointer against West Ranch at West Ranch High on Friday. The Vikings’ win gave them a co-Foothill League title. Valencia’s Kalia Summerlin shoots a 3-pointer against West Ranch at West Ranch High on Friday. The Vikings’ win gave them a co-Foothill League title.
Valencia’s Kalia Summerlin shoots a 3-pointer against West Ranch at West Ranch High on Friday. The Vikings’ win gave them a co-Foothill League title.

And just like that, the regular season came to an end.

Friday night saw the Foothill League hoops finales, with soccer finishing up on Thursday.

Plenty of expected results came to fruition — but it was one shocking upset that really disrupted things at the top.


Boys Basketball

The Canyon Cowboys overcame a 17-point deficit against the Hart Indians to push Hart down to second in the final standings.

That means West Ranch, which defeated Valencia 73-51, won its first outright league title in program history.

With Friday’s results in the books, the final Foothill League boys basketball standings are: No. 1 West Ranch (9-1 in league), No. 2 Hart (8-2), No. 3 Valencia (5-5), T-No. 4 Saugus (4-6), T-No. 4 Canyon (4-6) and No. 6 Golden Valley (0-10).

West Ranch (CIF-Southern Section Division IA), Hart (CIF-SS Division IIIAAA) and Valencia (CIF-SS Division I) are locks to make the playoffs in their respective divisions with a top three Foothill finish.

It’s Saugus (CIF-SS Division IIA) and Canyon (CIF-SS Division IIAA) that have to sweat it out until the brackets are released on Sunday.

Canyon, at 14-12 overall, might have a strong enough strength of schedule, combined with some quality wins, to receive a berth.

And Friday night’s victory over Hart, the No. 2 team in the Division IIIAAA poll entering the week, can only help the Cowboys’ chances.

“We made it our Foothill League championship ourselves,” said Canyon head coach Sean DeLong. “We felt like we’ve had a lot of adversity, a lot of things we couldn’t control. And the kids kept fighting through everything.”

The Cowboys were hurt by an injury to forward Dean Hendrix-Davis earlier this season, but now, at full strength, DeLong feels they can be a dangerous team if they receive an at-large bid.

Saugus defeated Golden Valley on Friday 59-56 in overtime to finish the season at 14-13 overall and in a fourth-place tie with Canyon.

Because both are in seperate playoff divisions, they will both be treated as fourth place teams for seeding purposes.

“We knew we had to get that win (Friday) in order to really cement our chances,” said Saugus head coach Derek Ballard. I knew it was important. I didn’t know if it was going to be a must-win, but that was what I communicated to the players: ‘We have to win this or else.’”


Girls Hoops

There weren’t any similar surprises on the girls’ side, with Canyon and Valencia both cruising to a co-Foothill League championship.

Valencia won its first title since 2005, defeating West Ranch 71-52 on Friday night at West Ranch High School.

Canyon had an even easier night, dispatching Hart 71-29 to win a share of its fourth-straight Foothill League title.

There was a little more drama across town, with Saugus needing a win and a West Ranch loss to finish tied for third with the Wildcats.

Golden Valley gave the Centurions a run for their money, with Ashley Oliver leading the way with 14 points and Mariah Madison scoring 13 to help keep the Grizzlies in the game until the fourth.

But Saugus proved too much, pulling away in a 64-49 victory to end the season tied for third.

The Wildcats won a coin flip on Friday night to determine that West Ranch would receive the third and final automatic playoff berth from the Foothill League.

“It is a little bit of a plus,” said West Ranch head coach Randy Smith of getting the third seed. “Our challenge is that even coming in as a third seed, we’re in Division IAA. Every team that wins their league is going to be a really strong team. We’ll probably be playing the No. 1 team from some league.”

Saugus will need to enter as an at-large in Division IIA.

The final Foothill League girls basketball standings were T-No. 1 Canyon (9-1), T-No. 1 Valencia (9-1), T-No. 3 Saugus (5-5), T-No. 3 West Ranch (5-5), No. 5 Hart (2-8), No. 6 Golden Valley (0-10).

Canyon will enter Division IIAA, and Valencia Division IAA.

Saugus may not have received the third seed, but it did give them a 14-13 overall record, keeping their record above the .500 or better mark that is generally used to determine at-large eligibility.


Boys Soccer

The league championship came down to the final day at West Ranch High School.

And on Thursday, it was Valencia coming out 1-0 victors over the Wildcats to win its first Foothill League title in program history and earn the No. 1 seed out of the Foothill League in the CIF-Southern Section Division IV playoffs.

The loss dropped West Ranch to second and cost them their third-straight title, and the top seed out of the league in the postseason.

“Hopefully we’ll get (a home game), but who knows? Congrats to Valencia. They did good. They deserve it,” said West Ranch head coach Fred McGinn.

There was intrigue for the third spot, as well, with Saugus trailing Hart by three points for third place.

But the Indians took care of business, defeating Canyon 4-1 behind goals from Anthony Caso (2), Gabe Robinson and Harrison Sidell.

Golden Valley pulled the upset over Saugus, 2-1, to earn the Grizzlies their second win in league play this season.

The results set the final league standings as follows: No. 1 Valencia (7-0-3), No. 2 West Ranch (7-2-1), No. 3 Hart (5-3-2), No. 4 Saugus (3-5-2), No. 5 Golden Valley (2-5-3), No. 6 Canyon (0-9-1).

The Centurions, as a fourth seed, petitioned for an at-large bid to the postseason. But according to Foothill League secretary Dody Garcia, were ineligible due to their sub-.500 overall record of 6-10-5.

That means only three teams, Valencia, West Ranch and Hart, will represent the league in the Division IV bracket to be released Monday at noon.


Girls Soccer

The final night of girls soccer play was more about playoff seeding than anything else.

Valencia had already locked up the Foothill League title, but finished off an undefeated league-title season with a 1-0 victory over West Ranch.

The victory also knocked the Wildcats down to fifth place in league, ending their chances at a playoff spot.

West Ranch, which failed to win a game during the first seven league contests, had been coming on strong of late, pulling into fourth place with a victory over Golden Valley on Tuesday.

But a loss to Valencia on Thursday, combined with Saugus’ 1-0 win over Golden Valley, dropped them back to fifth.

Saugus’ win, though, likely puts them into the CIF-Southern Section Division II bracket as an at-large, as their 18-4-3 overall record is among the best in the division.

Hart and Canyon were both assured of playoff berths entering the final night, but faced each other in a matchup to determine second place.

The tide turned when Hart scored in the final seconds of the first half to go up 2-0, which ultimately was the final score.

Now Hart enters as the No. 2 seed, hoping to get back where it was when it ran off a 13-game unbeaten streak in the middle of the season.

“This is where we were at (during the streak),” said Hart head coach Justin Lundin of the way his team played on Thursday. “We were playing with this type of intensity. If this is any indication, we found it just in time for playoffs.”

The final standings were: No. 1 Valencia (8-0-2), No. 2 Hart (5-3-2), No. 3 Canyon (4-3-3, No. 4 Saugus (3-4-3), No. 5 West Ranch (2-4-4), No. 6 Golden Valley (0-8-2).




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