New look for winter sports divisions

It’s easy to get tangled in the intricacies of the CIF-Southern Section’s new playoff grouping system. But simply put: Success generally means you’ll be presented with a greater challenge. Two Santa Clarita Valley soccer teams learned that Thursday when the Southern Section released its postseason divisions, based on two-year power rankings, for soccer and basketball. Hart girls soccer, a semifinalist two years ago and a quarterfinalist last year, moved up from Division 2 to Division 1. Valencia boys soccer, which had the most successful boys soccer season in SCV history in 2016, moved up from Division 4 to Division 3. “I look at this as an honor to move up to Division 3,” said Valencia coach Tony Scalercio. “We don’t want to win in a lower division. We want to win in a higher division.” The Southern Section approved the playoff realignment in January, moving to place teams in playoff divisions on an individual basis rather than by league. Power rankings are based on a team’s regular season record, strength of schedule and performance in the playoffs. Basketball already operated by a similar system. But local boys and girls hoops teams will still find themselves in very different divisions this year. 2016 CIF-SS Division 2AA runner-up Canyon girls basketball is now in Division 1AA, the highest playoff grouping. Hart boys basketball, a semifinalist in Division 2A last year, is also in 1AA. Here are the boys hoops divisions for local teams, along with girls basketball, girls soccer and boys soccer.

Boys basketball

Hart, Division 1AA West Ranch, 1A Valencia, 2AA Canyon, 2A Saugus, 2A Golden Valley, 3AA Trinity Classical Academy, 3AA Santa Clarita Christian, 5AA Albert Einstein Academy, 5A Santa Clarita Valley International, 6

Girls basketball

Valencia, 1AA Canyon, 1AA Hart, 1A West Ranch, 3AA Saugus, 3AA Golden Valley, 3A Trinity, 5A Einstein, 6 SCCS, 6

Boys soccer

Valencia, 3 Hart, 4 Saugus, 4 West Ranch, 4 Canyon, 5 Golden Valley, 6 Einstein, 7 SCCS, 7 Trinity, 7

Girls soccer

Hart, 1 Valencia, 2 West Ranch, 2 Canyon, 2 Golden Valley, 3 Saugus, 3 SCCS, 6 Einstein, 7 SCVi, 7