LC Basketball Affected by New CIF Winter Playoff Groupings

Morgan Tsujihara, one of La Cañada’s returning guards, will be competing in Division 1 this winter.
Photos courtesy Eric Danielson
Morgan Tsujihara, one of La Cañada’s returning guards, will be competing in Division 1 this winter.

The CIF Southern Section unveiled its new winter playoff groupings last Friday, shaking things up in boys’ and girls’ basketball.
The La Cañada High School varsity girls’ basketball team was bumped up to Division 1 after competing in 2AA last season.
The placement of teams is based upon a formula that takes the past two seasons into consideration. A power ranking is created based on strength of regular season schedule results and playoff performance.
LCHS head coach Owen Keenan wasn’t surprised about the announcement. “The system still has kinks that they need to work out,” the second-year coach wrote in an email. “We beat Glendora and Valencia last year. That gave us a lot of points. I was not surprised we moved up. We’ll play the schedule in front of us and do the best we can.”

The Flintridge Prep varsity girls’ soccer team moved down to Division 3 after struggling in Division 2 last season.
The Flintridge Prep varsity girls’ soccer team moved down to Division 3 after struggling in Division 2 last season.

Flintridge Prep also moved up one division and will be competing in 2AA this winter. Flintridge Sacred Heart remained in Division 4AA.
After an impressive postseason run last February, the La Cañada High School varsity boys’ basketball program was moved up from Division 2A to 2AA. The Spartans reached the CIF-SS Division 2A championship and fell to Ontario Colony, 50-47.
Legendary head coach Tom Hofman expected his team to move up.
“It doesn’t surprise us,” Hofman said. “It’s a tough decision, and it is what it is. We were expecting to go up. I don’t like the system. They’re trying to get all the cheating schools up and some of the honest schools like La Cañada get dragged into that system.

Based on a formula that uses the past two seasons for information, St. Francis was placed in Division 2AA, the same division as La Cañada.
Based on a formula that uses the past two seasons for information, St. Francis was placed in Division 2AA, the same division as La Cañada.

“There’s no way we should compete in such a high division. We really have our work cut out for us. Until they resolve this whole public and private schools thing, it’s no easy fix. It doesn’t make sense and doesn’t surprise us. It’s a tough decision. It is what it is. We were expecting to go up. I don’t like the system. Considering enrollment would still be the fairest way.”

Despite the changes, Hofman said he would not alter his approach to the upcoming season.
“We just have to worry about ourselves,” he said. “The number one goal is to win league. We have control over that. With CIF, you never know what is going to happen.”

After a memorable postseason run that ended with the Spartans as runners-up, Tom Hofman’s team was bumped up to Division 2A.
After a memorable postseason run that ended with the Spartans as runners-up, Tom Hofman’s team was bumped up to Division 2A.

Flintridge Prep boys’ hoops, which will be guided by first-year head coach Ramses Barden, will remain in Division 4AA, and St. Francis was bumped up two divisions. The Golden Knights were placed in 2AA along with LCHS after competing in 3AA last season.
In girls’ soccer, La Cañada moved down to Division 4 and Flintridge Sacred Heart was bumped up after reaching the Division 3 championship match. The Tologs will be competing in Division 2, and Flintridge Prep was moved down to Division after suffering an early exit from the Division 2 playoffs last season.

Only one boys’ soccer program was affected by the new playoff groupings. St. Francis was promoted to Division 1 after competing in Division 2 last year. The LC boys remained in Division 5 and Flintridge Prep will continue to compete in Division 6.
The lone girls’ water polo program affected by the new winter playoff groupings is Flintridge Prep, which was last year’s Division 7 runner-up. The Rebels were bumped up to Division 6, which is where FSHA competes. The Spartans will continue to compete in the Division 1 or 2 bracket.

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