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Cats, Rebs set to host quarters

Basketball: Prep and Renaissance expecting tough matchups from San Gabriel Valley teams.

February 22, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

GLENDALE — Heading into today's boys' basketball CIF quarterfinal round of the playoffs, both of the remaining local squads have a home-court advantage to rely on.

But despite being in a familiar environment, don't expect Flintridge Prep and Renaissance Academy to take their respective opponents lightly in their quarterfinal games.

Top-seeded Flintridge Prep will face ninth-seeded Blair in a CIF Southern Section Division V-AA game, while fifth-seeded Renaissance will meet fourth-seeded Pasadena Poly in a Division V-A contest. Both games begin at 7 p.m.

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"It will be good to be at home," said Flintridge Prep Coach Garrett Ohara, who guided the Rebels (20-6) to a share of the Prep League championship with Pasadena Poly before beginning the postseason with victories against St. Paul and 16th-seeded Whitney. "We are not going to look past Blair.

"We are going to have to meet their energy, especially early. We had a tough time early against Whitney and we had to fight through it."

Blair (14-16) finished tied for second in the Rio Hondo League. The Vikings then recorded lopsided postseason victories against Excelsior Education Center and eighth-seeded Crossroads.

"Them scoring 73 points against Crossroads is pretty surprising," Ohara said. "They compete in a tough league and face bigger schools.

"They played La Cañada tough the first time they faced them in league. They are not afraid of playing a No. 1 seed."

The Rebels received a double-double from senior center Kenyatta Smith to turn back Whitney on Friday. The University of Harvard-bound Smith, a reigning All-Area honoree, recorded 18 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks.

The winner of the Flintridge Prep-Blair game will meet fourth-seeded Mission Prep or 12th-seeded St. Monica in a semifinal game Friday. The other quarterfinal games will pit second-seeded St. Margaret's against 10th-seeded Santa Clara and third-seeded Muir against 11th-seeded Don Bosco Tech.

Renaissance Academy (22-6) enters today's contest having won 17 games in a row. The Wildcats, who captured the Harbor League crown, began their playoff journey with victories against Downey Calvary Chapel and Mary Star of the Sea.

Pasadena Poly (23-2) started its playoff run with wins against Villanova Prep and 13th-seeded Saddleback Valley Christian. The Panthers have won seven consecutive games.

"You have to go out there and beat them because they won't beat themselves," Renaissance Coach Sid Cooke said. "You know they will come at you and play the whole game.

"I've watched them play once this season and I'll look at their game tape [against Saddleback Valley Christian]. We have the type of team that will just keep battling and won't give up. I like that we are home."

The winner of the Renaissance-Pasadena Poly contest will battle top-seeded Sierra Canyon or ninth-seeded Aquinas in a semifinal game Friday. The other quarterfinals are second-seeded St. Bernard against eighth-seeded Ribet Academy and third-seeded Montclair Prep against sixth-seeded Brethren Christian.

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