Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dunce Cap Award: Section II Basketball Committee

The brackets are out for the high school basketball tournaments in NY's Section 2. With Troy High in Class AA, we'll focus on that bracket this time.


Coach Paul Bearup's Lady Flying Horses closed the season with wins over Albany and, presumably, Schenectady (since the 2/10 game was never reported to the press, and the Lady Patriots are not in the sectionals, we have to assume Troy won that last game). They finished 3rd in the gray division of the Suburban Council, but draw a #9 seed. As expected, they'll be on the road, but the journey starts Friday at Colonie, in a rematch of the regular season opener on December 6, won by Troy. The winner will face the top seed, blue division champion Shaker, on February 22.

The women's field shakes out thus:

1. Shaker-1st round bye.
2. Shenendehowa-1st round bye.
3. Columbia-1st round bye.
4. Saratoga-1st round bye, will host #5 Albany on 2/22.
5. Albany.
6. Catholic Central. The Lady Crusaders are the only non-Suburban Council school in the field, and will host Guilderland on Friday.
7. Bethlehem. The Lady Eagles host #10 Niskayuna on Friday.
8. Colonie.
9. Troy.
10. Niskayuna.
11. Guilderland.

As noted, Schenectady is not participating in the tournament after a horrible regular season. However, there is a problem that the tournament committee hasn't figured out.

Rightfully, the Suburban Council's division champs, Shaker & Albany, should be seeded 1-2, depending on who has the better overall record. Catholic Central, conceivably, could've been a #3. Instead, the committee ranked the top 4 teams in the blue division ahead of gray division champ Albany. It wasn't that long ago that in Class AA, the Suburban & the now-defunct Big 10 alternated the seeds in the tournament. It's been 3 years since the Big 10 folded, but the committee simply botched it.


Rich Hurley's Troy High team lands at #6, and gets a rematch against Albany, whom they beat just 8 days ago. The seedings are similarly screwed up. To wit:

1. Colonie-1st round bye.
2. Shenendehowa-1st round bye.
3. Bethlehem: Hosts Catholic Central on 2/21.
4. Saratoga: Hosts Niskayuna on 2/21.
5. Schenectady: Hosts CBA on 2/21.
6. Troy: Hosts Albany on 2/21.
7: LaSalle: Hosts Guilderland on 2/21.
8. Shaker: Hosts Green Tech on 2/21.
9. Green Tech.
10. Guilderland.
11. Albany.
12. CBA.
13. Niskayuna.
14. Catholic Central.

What doesn't make sense is that the Crusaders, with just 1 win, are in, and Columbia, which won just 2 games all season, isn't. Again, the committee botched it, placing the top 4 blue division teams in the top 4 positions ahead of the top 2 gray division teams, when LaSalle, which was a division champ in the Colonial Council, should've been a #3 seed. Rightfully, Colonie & Schenectady would be 1-2, followed by LaSalle, Shen, & Troy, in that order.

However, a quick check of the Suburban Council standings explains the committee's decision making. Overall, Saratoga & Schenectady had identical 15-5 records, but the Blue Streaks, who ended their regular season by beating Shen on Tuesday, got the nod, largely due to politics. The committee, which still hasn't figured out how to space out the games on quarter-final day at Hudson Valley Community College, gets a box of dunce caps for using politics ahead of common sense.

My personal prediction: The Troy women, if they get past Colonie, will get a 3rd match vs. Shaker, but go no further. The boys would like to see someone other than Bethlehem in the quarters, but with the quarters at HVCC, giving Troy a de facto home court advantage they've enjoyed the last couple of years, anything can happen. If they get by Bethlehem, Troy would then get either a rematch vs. Shen, or face Guilderland or LaSalle. The finals this year are at the Glens Falls Civic Center due to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) college tournament. Troy, remember, won the Class A title at Glens Falls last year, so there's plenty of motivation. For seniors Ryan Carmello, Brandon Holmes, & Ethan Evans, adding a state hoops title to the state football title they already collected, would be icing on the cake. I, however, don't see it. Quarters and no further, based on what I saw vs. Bethlehem last month.

Of course, I could be wrong.

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