As we move into the final couple of weeks of the 2016-17 basketball season, the playoff picture is starting to shape up.
Here is a quick class-by-class breakdown:
BOYS’ CLASS 1A
The Class 1A boys’ bracket could easily be a small bracket with six to eight teams involved depending on how schools with .500 policies interpret them in the new six-classification system.
Elk County Catholic and Port Allegany are the only teams that have secured at least a .500 record for the season through action Monday with Oswayo Valley needing one win and North Clarion and Cameron County each needing two to guarantee a .500 regular season at worst.
ECC (17-0) is the prohibited favorite, and the Crusaders have already locked up the No. 1 seed.
The big questions are who is No. 2 and who will be the other three PIAA playoff qualifiers?
A group of five teams is battling it out for the second seed led by Port Allegany (11-7 through Monday). Cameron County (9-6), Oswayo Valley (10-7 through Monday), North Clarion (9-7) and Otto-Eldred (8-7 through Monday) are all in the mix for the second spot.
Teams fighting to get into the postseason (sort of – it’s an open system so everyone could go if they so chose) are Union (7-10), Sheffield (7-11) and Johnsonburg (6-10).
BOYS’ CLASS 2A
While Class 1A is ECC’s to lose, Class 2A should be the most exciting of the brackets this year.
In what should be a six-team field with three going to the PIAA postseason, seeding could end up becoming paramount to a team’s shot at the state playoffs.
Coudersport (16-0 through Monday) appears to have the top spot locked up, but the second seed and the other bye is a toss up right now between three teams.
Ridgway (14-3) and Keystone (13-3) hold the edge a game up in the loss column on Clarion-Limestone (13-4). Brockway (12-5) and Clarion (11-5) could also be in the mix for the second seed if the other three teams falter.
Having the second spot is important because, if it is a six-team tournament, the top two seeds will get byes and be guaranteed to play for a PIAA playoff berth.
BOYS’ CLASS 3A
All four boys’ Class 3A teams look like they could be playoff bound.
Kane (12-4) and Karns City (12-5) are fighting for the top spot, but Brookville (9-8) might be playing the best basketball among the four. Moniteau (9-8) is having a surprisingly good season led by District 9’s leading scorer Lake Pry. This is shaping up to be anyone’s title to win.
BOYS’ CLASS 4A
Expect three of the four teams in Class 4A to go to the postseason unless Bradford (4-11) makes a late push.
Clearfield (17-1) is the prohibited favorite especially after a double-digit win over Punxsutawney (12-5) Monday night. St. Marys (11-6) is also a strong team in the mix.
BOYS’ CLASS 5A
DuBois will need to go through another district if it makes the postseason. The Beavers sit at 7-9 having lost two straight.
GIRLS’ CLASS 1A
Girls’ Class 1A will most likely be a seven- to nine-team bracket.
North Clarion (15-2) and Northern Potter (14-2) are battling for the top seed with Elk County Catholic (13-4), A-C Valley (10-5), DuBois Central Catholic (12-6) and Johnsonburg (11-6) also in the mix for a top four seed. Otto-Eldred (10-7) is also safely in the field with Smethport (8-8), Cameron County (6-9) and Oswayo Valley (6-9) also battling for .500 record (and again remember anyone can enter. A .500 record is not a District 9 policy. It is a school-by-school policy).
Seeding could be a factor here with four teams going to the PIAA playoffs. A team like A-C Valley, one of the better teams in 1A, could end up facing one of the top seeds in an early round meaning one of the better teams – whether it be ACV or the higher seed – won’t be going to the PIAA playoffs.
GIRLS’ CLASS 2A
Class 2A girls has three teams for sure that will make it to the postseason with three others up in the air.
Coudersport (15-1) looks like a lock for the top seed with Cranberry (14-4) and Kane (14-4) battling it out for the second spot. Port Allegany (7-8) and Keystone (7-9) are also in the mix along with a surging Ridgway (6-10) squad.
GIRLS’ CLASS 3A
There are only three teams in Class 3A on the girls’ side, and the D9 winner will need to go through a play-in game to reach the PIAA playoffs.
It appears there will only be a championship game with Brookville (4-13) unlikely to go to the postseason.
That would mean a third contest between Moniteau (15-2) and Karns City (11-5). The Lady Warriors beat the Lady Gremlins the first time around this season and the two play again before the end of the regular campaign.
GIRLS’ CLASS 4A
It will most likely be a three-team bracket in girls’ Class 4A with Punxsutawney (14-3) claiming the top spot followed by Clearfield (10-8) and St. Marys (9-8), although the Lady Dutch aren’t a guarantee to go to the postseason having dropped six of their last nine.
GIRLS’ CLASS 5A
As the only girls’ Class 5A team, DuBois will be part of another district if they go to the postseason. The Lady Beavers are 7-8 on the year.