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Is a CIF title in the cards for local teams?

August 07, 2012|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com

In two weeks, high school athletes will be back in action, as football, boys' water polo, cross-country, girls' volleyball and girls' golf teams get ready to kick off the 2012-13 school year.

As is the case this time every year, anticipation for success is high, and optimism runs rampant among the coaches and athletes who compete at Burbank, Burroughs, Providence and Bellarmine-Jefferson highs.

It is a time to look forward with lofty aspirations and a time to set goals. Before the first athletes hit the courts, take to the pools and the fields, or hit the courses and tracks, anything is possible — including a winning season, and maybe even a CIF Southern Section championship.

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The last two seasons, four local teams have advanced to CIF championship contests. Bell-Jeff softball accomplished the feat in 2011 and 2012, the Providence boys' basketball squad also made it to a title game in 2012 and the Burroughs boys' volleyball team was a finalist in 2011. However, despite making it to a championship, none of the four squads was able to take home a title.

Winning CIF crowns has been a difficult task for the area schools the past few decades. In fact, only two championships have been won by area schools in 20 years, and both of them were captured by the Guards' girls' basketball program. A Bryan Camacho-coached squad took the Division V-A crown in 2009 — also winning the city's only state team title in any sport — and Jaclyn Johnson sank a shot at the buzzer in 1997 to lift Bell-Jeff to a IV-A title.

However, those two titles are a rarity. In a span of 37 years — since a Bulldogs squad won a softball crown in 1975 — Burbank-area teams have captured four championships.

Coach Clyde Richards and his Burbank boys' tennis team nailed down a Division III crown in 1993 for the school's first title in eight years.

The Providence baseball team, led by future major-leaguer Jeff Cirillo, won a Small Schools championship in 1986.

At least Burbank, Bell-Jeff and Providence have won titles. Poor Burroughs, a school that has been around since 1948, has never — that's right, NEVER — won a CIF Southern Section team championship.

In 1955, a Bill Flora-coached Indians boys' basketball team did make it to the Major Division championship game, losing to Alhambra, 46-35.

However, the past few decades, very few Indians teams have even made it to a final contest.

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