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CITY BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS

Westchester rates ahead of Fairfax

The Comets get the top seeding based on a computer rating system used by the selection committee. The Lions are seeded No. 2.

February 15, 2009|Ben Bolch

Reality bytes for Fairfax when it comes to the City Section Division I boys' basketball playoff seedings.

The Lions might have thought they made a compelling case to receive the top seeding after defeating rival Westchester by seven points this month and playing one of the toughest schedules in the country.

In recent years the matter would have been settled by a coin flip since Fairfax and Westchester split their regular-season meetings and tied for the Western League title.

But the selection committee used a computer rating system formulated by MaxPreps.com to help make its decision Saturday morning, and the Comets emerged as the top-seeded team after beating out the Lions in two of three categories.

Westchester had a higher Ratings Percentage Index, which takes into account winning percentage, opponents' winning percentage and the winning percentage of opponents' opponents. The Comets also had a higher Overall Ratings Index, which takes into account RPI, strength of schedule and strength of league.

Second-seeded Fairfax rated higher in strength of schedule but was two spots behind Westchester in the coaches' poll that the committee also considered.

"It's typical," Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani said. "You're always going to get some schools that are fortunate and then you look and there are some schools that get the short end of it and the people who felt that they didn't get a fair seed are going to question the reasons why."

Reseda Cleveland Coach Osiris Nalls wasn't one of them, even though his fourth-seeded Cavaliers will have to play a first-round game Thursday at 13th-seeded Van Nuys -- a team Cleveland defeated, 74-51, in December. Van Nuys was awarded the home game because it won a league title and Cleveland did not.

"We're fine going on the road," Nalls said. "We'll just bring our home crowd with us and make it a home game."

As expected, Woodland Hills Taft was seeded third. But Crenshaw was somewhat surprisingly seeded sixth, behind Cleveland and fifth-seeded Sylmar, despite winning the prestigious Coliseum League.

"It's perfect," deadpanned Crenshaw Coach Ed Waters. "We are humbled and confident."

The Cougars will play host to Los Angeles Jordan on Thursday in the third playoff meeting between the schools in four years. The teams split the last two postseason meetings, but Crenshaw defeated Jordan, 73-58, in December.

Reseda was the top-seeded team in Division II, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies was the top-seeded team in the small schools division and Chatsworth was the top-seeded team in the girls' Division I bracket.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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