Hart and Valencia boys hoops ready for first-round home playoff games

Hart's Whitten Dominguez (10) looks for an opening around Saugus' Adrian McIntyre (2) during a basketball game at Saugus on Jan. 27. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

When Hart High boys basketball found out it would be playing Village Christian in the first round of the Division 1AA CIF-Southern Section playoffs, no time was wasted in gathering film.

“As soon as we got the draw, we found out Sunday at 1, literally all of our coaches already had our game vs. them and some scout film,” said coach Tom Kelly, whose team will host the Wednesday matchup. “Literally. We were calling, texting, emailing each other about watching game film, so we were on it right away.”

But as quick as they were, Kelly knows that Village Christian was doing the same thing. It’s part of playoffs, especially in the CIF-SS’s second-highest division.


The co-Foothill League champion Indians played the Crusaders on Jan. 3 in preleague and lost 71-62.

Even though Hart has come a long way in terms of development since that game, Kelly knows any opponent in Division 1AA presents a challenge.

“Basically, everybody is loaded in this division,” Kelly said. “It’s like, it doesn’t matter who you play. Whether you’re home or away, you’re going to play someone good. Even if they came in third, it’ll still be a really good team.”

It’s the second year in a row that Village Christian will be facing a Foothill League team in the first round. Last year, that team was Valencia High, the current league co-champion (the Vikings won 70-61).

The Vikings play Upland at home in the first round of the Division 2AA playoffs.

Valencia (15-11) is coming off a four-game win streak, highlighted by the defeat of Hart Friday for a share of the Foothill title.

“That’s good momentum to finish off the league season as well as we did with four straight wins,” said coach Chad Phillips. “And then getting a first round home game is the reward.”

The Highlanders (16-11) have athletic players who can spread the ball around and shoot, according to Phillips.

“(It’s) a tough matchup but … we’re constantly ready for the challenge,” he said. “Their focus and preparation has been their foundation for the past three weeks. They tasted success and they really want to continue.”

Here’s the full list of Santa Clarita boys basketball playoff matchups. Games are on Wednesday at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Division 1AA

Village Christian at Hart

Division 1A

West Ranch at Harvard-Westlake

Division 2AA

Upland at Valencia

Division 2A

Mark Keppel at Saugus

Division 5AA

Wild-card winner at Santa Clarita Christian (Friday)

Division 6

Santa Clarita Valley International at Desert Christian of Lancaster

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