High school basketball district play on threshold
Some brackets, schedules already set
By PAUL STURM, LCL Sports Editor
As of Friday evening (Feb. 12), all C-T-area high schools’ basketball teams knew what their district tournament’s schedules were to be.
COVID-19 mediation measures adopted by the Missouri State High School Activities Association for its 2020-21 basketball season postseason will give this month's district play a different look.
Rather than the template believed previously used for the entirety of MSHSAA-sponsored postseason play since its origin (originally, state-tournament qualifying events were termed regional tournaments before being switched to the “district” monicker in the 1970s), this year the state-qualifying tournaments will not be hosted at a single school’s site, but, rather, will feature the higher-seeded team in each pairing for the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds hosting those games.
The districts were given the option of having both genders’ championship game on a single night at the district “host’s” school, with the requirement that they be scheduled with sufficient time between games for the gymnasium to be totally cleared of fans and players and properly re-sanitized, Jason West, communications director for MSHSAA, advised with the C-T.
Based on schedules shown on brackets on the MSHSAA website, it appears the lone district (among those with a C-T-area school involved) going the single-site, same-night route for its championship games is Class 1 District 13, hosted by Norborne. However, it could be possible that districts using separate dates for the title games still might be staging them at the “host” school. The C-T hopes to obtain additional clarity on the matter next week.
As for C-T area teams’ specific district paths, in Class 1 District 12 at Tina-Avalon School, where play is due to begin with girls’ quarterfinals next Saturday, the somewhat-surprising seedings have the host Lady Dragons No. 1 ahead of a Meadville team which, by and large, has seemed to be more impressive over the course of the season. The tipping point clearly was when T-A took down Meadville at Meadville in overtime Feb. 1, even though that came after two nights after MHS decisively won its own tournament with Tina-Avalon a distant third.
By getting the top seeding, T-A gets the lone quarterfinals bye, although the extra game shouldn’t work any hardship on Meadville. Those two figure to have little, if any, trouble advancing to the title game.
Mendon: Northwestern’s Eagles boys are seeded No. 1 with Meadville’s Eagles No. 2. Each has a first-round bye in the 6-teams tourney. Either of them or No. 3 Hale/Bosworth could readily emerge as the champion without it being a big upset. The boys’ quarterfinals in District 12 will be on Monday, Feb. 22.
That tournament has its girls’ championship game scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 25 and the boys’ the following night.
Northwestern’s boys will get the winner of next Monday’s Brunswick at Tina-Avalon contest on Wednesday, Feb. 24, while Meadville’s boys host the Bucklin/Macon County R-4 at Hale/Bosworth survivor that night.
All of the District 12 games are listed as having 6 p.m. starts. As of press time for this article, it was unclear whether both of the title games will occur at “host” Tina-Avalon or be played on the courts of the respective higher seeds.
Class 1 District 13’s roster of teams includes area schools Southwest Livingston, Braymer, Breckenridge, Norborne, and Hardin-Central, along with Alma: Santa Fe and Orrick. Norborne’s girls and Orrick’s boys are the top seeds and have quarterfinal-round byes.
Southwest Livingston’s second-seeded boys are to host Breckenridge at 2 p.m. next Saturday, the same time No. 3 Hardin-Central is welcoming Santa Fe and Norborne is hosting Braymer.
With Breckenridge not having a girls’ team, Southwest Livingston’s fourth-seeded Lady Wildcats will host Hardin-Central a week from Monday and No. 3 seed Braymer will host bottom seed Orrick the same night. Like Norborne, No. 2 seed Santa Fe has a first-round bye before hosting the Braymer-Orrick winner.
The schedule for the District 13 tournament, which will have boys’ play next Saturday and the following Tuesday with girls’ games on Monday, Feb. 22, and the next Wednesday, lists both title tilts as being on Friday, Feb. 26 – the boys’ at 6 p.m. and the girls’ at 7:30. This seemingly means both of those will occur at the “host” site – Norborne.
In Class 2 District 15, to which Polo is assigned, the Panthers will visit third seed Lathrop for a noon game next Saturday and the fourth-seeded Lady Panthers will host Maysville Monday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. The boys’ title game is due to take place Friday, Feb. 26, and the girls’ the next afternoon.
In Class 3 DIstrict 16, Hamilton: Penney technically is the “host” and, in fact, both of its team will get to play at home in the quarterfinals.
On Monday, Feb. 22, the fourth-seeded Hornets will welcome No. 5 Brookfield at 6 p.m. The next evening at the same hour, the same schools’ girls’ squads will square off in a 3-vs.-6 clash.
Milan is seeded No. 1 and Putnam County No. 2 in each gender in Class 3 District 16. The boys’ championship game is listed as being on Friday, Feb. 26, and the girls’ the next day.
Last to know their pairings were Linn County R-1 and Jamesport: Tri-County in Class 1 District 14, of which Linn County technically is the host school.
Tri-County's girls are the No. 2 seed behind Mercer, which means they'll host No. 7 seed Cainsville/Ridgeway in the quarterfinals Saturday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m. If the Lady Mustangs win that, as expected, they'd host the North Harrison-vs.-Grundy County R-5/Newtown-Harris winner the following Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Linn County's girls, seeded fourth, will host Gilman City/North Daviess in the first round next Saturday at 3. A LCHS win would send them to Mercer three nights later.
On the boys' side, LCHS' Mustangs also will get to host a game as the No. 4 seed. They'll face Mercer Monday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. with that winner going to No. 1 seed Grundy County R-5/Newtown-Harris two nights later.
Tri-County's boys, seeded sixth, will visit East Harrison (Cainsville/Ridgeway) on the 22nd at 6 p.m.