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Boys' basketball: The criticism begins on playoff divisions

November 15, 2011 |  9:46 am

Let's be blunt: The new Southern Section boys' basketball playoff divisions have some big losers, and they're the public schools stuck in Division 4AA, like Big Bear, which will now have to compete against private-school powers such as La Verne Lutheran, Los Angeles Price, Harvard-Westlake, Crespi and Gardena Serra.

"When you look where we are, you got to be kidding," Big Bear Coach Bo Kent said. "Oaks Christian plays Division I football. Crespi plays Division I football. We're a mountain community. There's no way the CIF should put us with them. There should be a rural section or an Inland Empire section. We have talent out here. But smaller schools like us are not on par with private schools from Los Angeles County and Orange County."

Yes, the controversy has just begun. Not every school will ever be happy regardless of the format used, but the public schools put in 4AA are in big trouble.

"Nothing they've tried has come close to fair," Harvard-Westlake Coach Greg Hilliard said. "Eventually all the good private schools will be in 4AA. Some will never win a championship again."

But hey, there are new divisions with hardly any private schools. They're the winners. They may finally get to hoist a championship banner.

"The fair part before wasn't too good for public schools, but I wish they didn't go from one extreme to the other," Hilliard said. "I'm glad the public schools get an opportunity to win."

Sorry, but I liked it the old, old way. The top schools got to compete against each other regardless of enrollment. Yes, this is a little about the state championships, which some people really don't care about. But it's also a clear attempt to get more public schools competing for championships.

-- Eric Sondheimer

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