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SOUTHERN SECTION BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS PREVIEWS : 2-A : Top Teams Will Receive Time Off for Good Records

February 15, 1989|LARRY NISTA | Times Staff Writer

On the schedule, the 2-A Southern Section boys' basketball playoffs begin today.

But in a division that coaches say will be dominated by Orange Lutheran and Santa Clara, the important competition doesn't start until Friday.

The top three seeded teams, which have a combined 61-8 record, won't be playing in today's first round.

Instead, top-seeded Santa Clara (20-3) and No. 2 Orange Lutheran (21-3), will play their first games on Friday. The same goes for third-seeded Paraclete (20-2).

In fact, of the teams that play today, only St. Anthony (10-11) is expected to be any kind of threat.

"I think it will come down to us, Santa Clara and St. Anthony," Orange Lutheran Coach Jerry Simmons said. "But I'm sure there's other teams out there that can win it. Anytime you put five guys on a court anything can happen."

Other coaches aren't quite that open-minded.

"Santa Clara is the team to beat," Beaumont Coach Alex Boyd said. "But then again you can't count out Orange Lutheran."

Orange Lutheran, which swept through the Olympic League with a 14-0 record, can rest today while Beaumont and Notre Dame of Riverside fight for the right to meet the Lancers in the quarterfinals.

"Actually, I'd rather not have a bye in the first round," Simmons said. "I'd rather we play in the first round, especially if we don't get a home game."

Chances are, Orange Lutheran, led by Pat Bagatourian and his 20 points and 11 rebounds per game, will be rooting for a Beaumont victory, which would mean a home game for the Lancers Friday. Otherwise, the road to the Los Angeles Sports Arena and the finals March 4 will begin for Orange Lutheran at Notre Dame in Riverside.

2-A IN A BOX Top teams: Santa Clara (20-3), Orange Lutheran (21-3), Paraclete (20-2).

Dark horse: St. Anthony (10-11).

Top players: Alan Aragon (St. Anthony), Pat Bagatourian (Orange Lutheran), Shaun Tarver (Santa Clara), Jeff Zelenski (Paraclete).

Best first-round games: St. Anthony at Valley Christian/Cerritos (16-8); Beaumont (15-6) at River side Notre Dame (11-12).

Final four prediction: Santa Clara vs. St. Anthony, Paraclete vs. Orange Lutheran.

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