The Valley Gems: Week Ten Edition
As we arrive at the final week of the regular season schedule, many of the league titles are all wrapped up. Yet still, there are plenty of exciting games around the Valley, with many of them still having a potential impact on where teams could find themselves when the playoff brackets are released on Saturday. The Southern section offers us a game where a California juggernaut looks for regular-season perfection, while the VST game of the week is a West Valley clash that could mean a substantial jump in seeding in Division 1 for the winner. Here’s what you need to keep a close eye on as the regular season ends and playoff madness begins:
Chatsworth Chancellors (4-5) vs. #5 Granada Hills Highlanders (6-2-1) – 10/26 at Granada Hills High School, 7 pm
While there are no league ramifications in this game with Birmingham having locked up the league title and Granada locking up the number two position, this is one of those games on the slate that has major postseason implications on the line. The Highlanders have had an amazing season and to finish at 7-2-1 with the non-league schedule they put together not only would cement their place in the Open Division but would potentially garner them a top-four seed, which means hosting a playoff game in the quarterfinals. Chatsworth seems destined for Division II, but a win would cement a top seed in DII, or potentially jump them into the bottom of DI. That would be a great accomplishment for this group that participated in the DIII playoffs last season.
North Hollywood Huskies (3-5) vs. Poly Parrots (5-4) – 10/27 at Poly High School, 7 pm
If you had asked me which one of these teams would be playing to finish 5-1 in the East Valley and destined to make noise in the DII playoffs, it would have been North Hollywood hands down. Instead, this game has more on the line for the Parrots, who have had an unexpectedly great season and can cement themselves as a player in DII if they can take care of business at home against the Huskies. There is still plenty on the line for North Hollywood as well, as a win could boost their resume and maybe see them sit as the top seed in D III or jump back into the D II mix, which would be a feather in the cap for a program that has struggled with injuries and depth this season despite being one of the more talented squads on the East side of the Valley.
Van Nuys Wolves (4-5) vs. Kennedy Cougars (7-2) – 10/27 at Kennedy High School, 7 pm
The Cougars have had a dream campaign. The Cougars have knocked off their chief rivals, completing a redemption arc for their seniors while snagging the Valley Mission crown. They are safely sitting in Division I when the playoffs begin next week, but the real story of this game is in what’s on the line for Van Nuys. No matter the outcome, this has been a tremendous story all season long the way this program has turned around and become competitive again. Yet still, there is still work to be done, as the Wolves still sit on the bubble of teams trying to slide into the D III playoff mix. While a loss does not completely hurt their chances, a competitive outing against the league champions could slide the scale closer to hosting a playoff game as opposed to missing out on the postseason altogether.
Chaminade Eagles (5-4) vs. #3 Sierra Canyon Trailblazers – 10/27 at Sierra Canyon High School, 7 pm
The Trailblazers have been as dynamite as any team not named St. Joh Bosco or Mater Dei this season in the Southern Section, and they have a chance to cement a top spot in the Division I playoffs if they can finish off an unblemished regular season by beating Chaminade on Friday night. The Eagles have been up and down this season, but a valiant effort against the Blazers could put them in a good position to win a few games in the playoffs.
VST Game of the Week
#14 Cleveland Cavaliers (6-3) vs. #25 El Camino Real Royals (3-6) – 10/26 at Cleveland High School, 7:15 pm
Our game of the Week takes place in Reseda with two West Valley teams looking to improve their standing in the playoff race. The Cavaliers have had a nice season, even though by their standards they wanted to be a little more competitive against the top two teams in the league Birmingham and Cleveland. Nevertheless, the Cavs are still in prime position to host their first couple of rounds in the playoffs if they can handle business against El Co this week. The Royals might seem like an unconventional team to place in this spot for the game of the week, but if you think this team is a pushover because of their modest record, then the Cavs and potentially the teams they will see in the postseason will be in for a rude awakening. This team can hang with most opponents they will face from here on out, and they have the kind of explosive talent that can put points on you in a hurry if they are taken lightly. This game promises to be fun and competitive and the Royals will be confident knowing the last time they played here, they beat the Cavaliers in 2022.