Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The third season

Sometimes people call the playoffs "the second season." It's a valid metaphor. Ask the Arroyo Grande High boys basketball team.

The Eagles took fifth place in the regular season and lost to rival Nipomo three times. But in the second season, the playoffs, they captured the imagination of central coast basketball fans.

Arroyo Grande's venture deep into the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division II-A playoffs had us all wondering wether an unseeded wild-card team could actually win a section title.

The second season. It's like "wait 'til next year" — just without all the waiting.

But Tuesday night marked the beginning of what I'm starting to call the third season.

That's when all of the bigger schools in the county have all been eliminated from the playoffs and small schools like Mission Prep and Coast Union start getting all the front page attention.

They're accustomed to it. The Mission Prep boys and girls are favored to win section titles. The girls are going for No. 15 in a row. For the boys, it would be No. 4, but the past two were stripped in a recruiting scandal. (TO disgruntled Royals fans: New Times used the 'S' word. I should at least get one freebie.)

The Royals girls have already cemented a spot in the state playoffs. Coast Union nearly joined them before being tripped up at home Tuesday. The Mission Prep boys can clinch an appearance with a win tonight.

This third season could potentially go on for another week or two. So get ready for some more "Royals Flush" and "Mission Accomplished" headlines.

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