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Wildcats notch No. 1 seed

February 13, 2012|By Grant Gordon

On three occasions, the Renaissance Academy boys’ basketball program has vied for a CIF Southern Section Division championship only to come up short.

But many believe this season may very well be the best chance of them all.

Renaissance, as expected, was bestowed the No. 1 seed in the Division 6 tournament on Sunday and will begin its championship quest on Wednesday when it hosts St. Monica Academy.

“I think our schedule was tougher than a lot of teams in higher divisions,” said Wildcats Coach Sid Cooke. “I kind of expected [to be the No. 1 seed] considering the strength of schedule. … We feel we’re pretty
much as prepared for playoffs as we can be.”

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The Wildcats are one of five local boys’ basketball teams who will hit the playoff hardwood, with Renaissance looking for its first CIF championship plaque, while Flintridge Prep is trying to repeat and Crescenta Valley, Glendale and St. Francis round out the quintet that has all earned top-16 seedings.

Cooke said it’s uncertain as to what venue will host the Wednesday game yet.

St. Monica is the International League’s third-place team. Renaissance also took third in the Harbor League, but has been ranked atop the division for most of the season. Still, Cooke isn’t taking anything for granted.

“I don’t look past anyone,” he said. “Anything can happen in the playoffs.”

In Division 1A, Crescenta Valley, after finishing second in the Pacific League thanks to Muir having to forfeit 20 victories and its league crown due to an ineligible player, earned the fourth seed and will open up Friday against Colton, a San Andreas at-large entry.

Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian admitted he didn’t know too much about Colton, but was doing plenty of homework to find out on Sunday afternoon.

“This is the fun of the CIF draws,” he said.

Zargarian’s team has won seven of its last eight with its only loss coming against Muir, which has been overturned into a forfeit win. The streak also included a win over Pasadena.

“We’re actually in a good place right now,” said Zargarian, whose team, should it advance would play either La Quinta or Warren on Feb. 21 in the second round. “I think our guys are moving in the right direction.”

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