CIF playoffs

Coast Union boys basketball team earns first-round bye, but then Broncos hit the road

Special to The CambrianFebruary 17, 2014 

Jez Lawson (No. 24), Quinten Raethke (No. 4) and Chuy Mercado (No. 32) dominate the boards in action against Maricopa on Jan. 31.

MERLE BASSETT — Special to The Cambrian

This story has been updated; the date of the second-round CIF playoff game was changed from Friday to Saturday.

The Coast Union boys varsity basketball team finished undefeated in the Coast Valley League with an 8-0 record, which in nine cases out of 10 would mean they have qualified for a home game to open the CIF playoffs.

But not this year. The CIF officials who create brackets have given the Broncos a bye in the first round, and so, rather than get a home game after a perfect league record, Coast Union is being sent to the Los Angeles area to play the San Gabriel Academy Eagles at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22.

How did Head Coach Tim May respond when learning that instead of a home game, his 8-0 team will be traveling 244 miles — about four hours — on a Saturday afternoon deep into Los Angeles traffic to play a team that beat Coast Union 73-31 last year, bumping the Broncos out of the playoffs?

He was “perplexed” that the curious bracketing sends his squad into the Los Angeles megalopolis, as a 30-point underdog, to play a team ranked number-two in Division 5AA (Coast is the 15th seed). But, on the other hand, May said, “I figure we were going to have to play San Gabriel sooner or later, so it might as well be first.”

And, should the Broncos upset the Eagles, Coast Union would host a CIF playoff game next Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Meanwhile, the Broncos won their last league game — 65-31 — over Cuyama Valley at home on Friday, Feb. 14. Junior Gehrig Kniffen led all scorers with 21 points (making three of four three-pointers) and hauled down five rebounds.

Senior Quinten Raethke added 18 points and six rebounds while freshman Jez Lawson had four points and six assists. Senior Logan Brandt scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds and three assists.

Angel Avina had seven points and the senior dished out five assists. Seniors Alan Hernandez and Chuy Mercado both chalked up five rebounds for Coast Union.

The Broncos ended up with a 15-9 record overall; the Eagles finished their regular season 19-7.

Email John FitzRandolph at johnfitz44@yahoo.com.

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