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Boys' basketball: Etiwanda's Dave Kleckner loves the Open Division

March 6, 2013 | 10:52 am

Southern Section 1AA champion Etiwanda has a bye this week in the Open Division of the state basketball playoffs as the No. 1 seed, and Coach Dave Kleckner couldn't be more excited about getting the chance to compete against the best teams in the state.

"I think it's a great idea," he said. "To us, we accept the challenge. We look forward to it. To compete at the highest level, we don't want to be anywhere else. Put all the top teams there and let them battle it out. We're not afraid of the competition."

Etiwanda defeated Santa Ana Mater Dei in the 1AA final on Saturday and doesn't play again until Tuesday against the winner of Friday's game between  Fresno Bullard and Westchester.

"I think it's good to let the emotions of what happened wear off a little bit," Kleckner said. "We can definitely use the time off to rest the kids' legs. The kids seem upbeat and motivated."

On another note, some people thought they saw something they've never seen before from an Etiwanda team _ a zone defense. But Kleckner said that was just the team playing "helpside" defense in their usual man-to-man defense.

Etiwanda has never played a second of zone defense in Kleckner's 17 seasons as coach.

-- Eric Sondheimer