LA South: Gardena Serra forfeits 13 victories, left out of playoffs

LOS ALAMITOS -- Gardena Serra, a defending state champion that would have gone into the Southern Section boys' basketball playoffs as one of the top teams to contend for a title, forfeited 13 wins for the 2010-11 season and has been left out of the playoffs, according to the Southern Section office. The announcement was made Sunday when the pairings were announced for the upcoming playoffs, which begin on Wednesday.

It was found that the Cavaliers (14-11) used an ineligible player.

Serra was ranked fifth in Division 3AA in the final section poll and had won the Del Rey League title.

The school has the option of appealing to the Del Rey League to be included as one of the league's guaranteed entries into the playoff bracket. A decision must be made prior to the start of the playoffs on Wednesday.

On the court, Serra apparently finished atop the league standings with a 7-1 record. Coach Dwan Hurt told the Long Beach Press Telegram that this championship, the 15th under his guidance, was among the most special because the team replaced eight members of last year's team and played much of this season without George Farmer and Marqise Lee because of their football obligations; Serra played in the California Bowl Championship series.

Thom Simmons, spokesman for the section, said the bracket by rule is fluid until the games begin, but Rainer Wulf, the assistant commissioner in charge of basketball, said there was no reason the league couldn't make a decision immediately about whether Serra should be included or not.

"We need to know something quickly," Wulf said. "They have the information they need to make a decision."