Muir High School has had one of the top boys basketball teams in the San Gabriel Valley in recent years, but you couldn't judge by the Mustangs' performances in CIF playoffs. Muir lost in the first round to Santa Monica in 1984 and in the second round to Newport Harbor last year. The Mustangs, seeded No. 3 in the 4-A Division with a 24-2 record, are hoping to last longer this time.
The first step will be a victory over Warren in the opening round at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Altadena. Warren, third place in the San Gabriel Valley League, has a 14-9 record. Muir, which easily won the Pacific League title, may have too much size and quickness for the Bears. The leader for Muir is 6-8 forward Stacey Augmon, who averages 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Wilson vs. La Quinta
Mike Lowe, coach of Wilson, can sympathize with Muir. His team was one of the best in the valley last year but lost to Damien in the second round of the CIF 3-A playoffs. The Wildcats, seeded No. 3 in 3-A with a 23-3 record, start their playoff drive against La Quinta at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hacienda Heights.
La Quinta is only 9-10 but the Aztecs are a perennial playoff club and have a deliberate offensive style that could cause problems for Wilson. But Wilson's 6-10 center Scott Williams could cause problems for anybody. Williams, who will play for the University of North Carolina next year, is averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Claremont vs. Los Altos
On the surface, this looks like an easy game for Claremont in the first round of the CIF 3-A Division playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Claremont. After all, Claremont is 20-5 and Los Altos 11-12. But Claremont had better not underestimate the Conquerors, who pulled off shocking upsets of Muir, No. 3 seed in the 4-A playoffs, and Wilson, No. 3 seed in 3-A. Los Altos can shoot, especially 6-3 senior guard Jeff Lucas, and has a tough rebounder in 6-3 forward Will Harris. But Claremont, one of the surprise teams in the valley, has an excellent scorer in 6-2 guard Travis Watkins and size in 6-8 center Dan McGwire and 6-5 forward Dave Rice.
Nogales vs. Schurr
In one of the best first-round match-ups, these teams meet in a CIF 3-A Division playoff game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Nogales in La Puente. It matches two second-place teams that have better records than four league champions in the division. Schurr is 21-3 and Nogales 18-7.
Nogales, which played in the strong Sierra League, may have played the tougher schedule. The Nobles certainly have the stronger basketball tradition, having reached the CIF playoffs nine years in a row.
Ganesha vs. Burroughs
On paper, this CIF 3-A Division playoff game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pomona looks like a mismatch. Ganesha is 24-1 and seeded No. 1 in the division and Burroughs is 8-13 and finished third in the Foothill League. Ganesha may be too tall, fast and talented for the Indians.