Hosting can be hectic for Einstein in playoffs

Einstein's Yael Brnjegard-Bialik passes to a teammate against SCCS earlier this season. Dan Watson/the Signal
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When you don’t have a home field of your own, scheduling games is almost always a challenge.

The challenge is heightened, though, in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs, where the situation basically amounts to: “You’re hosting a playoff game in two days … ready … set … go.”

“It’s pretty crazy,” said Albert Einstein Academy Athletic Director Ken Erenberg. “The first thing I do is see if Trinity (Classical Academy) and (Santa Clarita Christian) won. Then I know if certain courts are available.”

In the case of girls basketball this year, Einstein won a playoff game for the first time in program history. Then after the Rockets beat Calvary Murrieta in the second round on the road Saturday, they found themselves in a bind for tonight’s quarterfinals.

Trinity Classical Academy is playing at The Master’s University, where Einstein played two games last year, and Santa Clarita Christian, which has regularly been hospitable to the Rockets, is hosting its own quarterfinal.

That meant Erenberg had to look elsewhere, ultimately securing the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley in Newhall, where the Rockets will tip off with Carnegie Schools of Riverside at 7 p.m.

“(I’d say it’s like) a six-point advantage to be at home.”

-ken erenberg

Had that not worked out, Erenberg would have called Highland Hall of Northridge, a location he scrambled to secure for the Rockets’ first-round “home game” last week.

“Highland Hall was really gracious,” Erenberg said. “The athletic director over there had to stay at the game as the member of their faculty administration (on site) till it was over. Then we cleaned up and he helped us.

“We wanted to make sure the place was spotless in case we had to play there again.”

Erenberg scheduled his boys and girls basketball regular-season home games — played at Rio Norte Junior High in Valencia — in December this year, because once parks and rec games pick up in January, the Rockets have to find other accommodations.

The boys and girls each played about three home games in all.

That meant a disadvantage in Omega League play.

The Rockets had to make two trips to Newbury Park Adventist, instead of one. The boys made two treks to Calvary Christian of Oxnard, instead of one.

“(I’d say it’s like) a six-point advantage to be at home,” Erenberg said.

As for boys and girls soccer (Erenberg coaches the boys), home games, weather permitting, were at Rio Norte.

One rainout each for the boys and girls meant Erenberg had to rent a field at the Glendale Sports Complex.

Last week, he had to rent a field at El Cariso Park in Sylmar so the boys team could host its first-round playoff game.

Despite having its charter issued by the William S. Hart Union High School District, Erenberg said it’s been difficult gaining access to facilities at district schools.

West Ranch Athletic Director Cassandra Perez, who Erenberg said has been very cooperative, said the biggest consideration in opening a school’s facilities to others is availability.

“If we have a team that’s practicing or an outside group that has reserved the facility already,” she said, “then it’s a little harder to offer the facility to another school.”

Perez said janitorial issues aren’t really a factor because West Ranch will “usually have custodial staff on-site for the game times,” even if a game isn’t being played.

“It’d be different if it was on a Saturday,” she said.

If Einstein girls basketball wins tonight, it plays a semifinal on Saturday. It’d be the home team if Sacred Heart of Jesus (Los Angeles) wins. It’d mean another scheduling scramble for Erenberg.

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