Alle-Kiski Valley teams hoping for good playoff seeding
By Bill Beckner Jr.
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Only a select few — be it a coach, athletic director or team supporter — get to make “the walk” at the WPIAL basketball playoff pairings meeting.
After pleasantries and formalities, the league opens its annual get-together with the crowning of section champions, announcing one-by-one the section numbers and the winning schools.
Hold the applause until the end.
When Tuesday night's meeting begins at the DoubleTree Hotel in Green Tree, several representatives of Alle-Kiski teams will make their way to the front of the ballroom to collect their hardware.
All told, three local boys teams and two girls teams captured or shared section titles, and coaches hope the reward is a good draw in the tournaments.
“I don't worry about the (seed) number so much as I do ... being a section champ, I think we've earned enough not to have to go through the No. 1 or 2 seed to get to the final four,” said Kiski Area boys coach Harry Rideout, whose Cavaliers shared the Section 1-AAAA title with Hempfield. “I see us in the 4-5-6 range. But you never know. Connellsville was 20-2 a few years ago and got the No. 7 seed.”
Burrell feels the same way. The Bucs (15-6) played a challenging non-section schedule and shared the Section 1-AA title with Deer Lakes.
“I think this section should get more respect,” Burrell coach Rob Niederberger said. “We think, with the schedule and the (co-) section title, that should help our seeding a lot. The (WPIAL) has to look at that. Class AA is more open than in past years.”
Burrell beat Class AAA playoff teams Central Valley (16-6) and Steel Valley (12-8), as well as District 6 team Hollidaysburg.
The Bucs, section champs for the first time since 2004, have been powered by an athletic group of seniors. So has Deer Lakes.
Deer Lakes' boys have gone 21 years between section titles. It remains to be seen if the WPIAL Basketball Steering Committee will let sentimentality affect where it puts the Lancers (16-6) in the Class AA bracket.
“We played the schedule we had and have been sucecesful in doing that,” Deer Lakes coach Jon McKay said. “We played a lot of other playoff teams.
“If we don't get a great seed, there will be zero whining and complaining from us. No excuses. We'll play who we get.”
Burrell's girls team should get the area's top seed. Burrell is one of those “buzz” teams that comes around every so often, a team that has opposing coaches talking about lengthy playoff runs for the next several years. Some coaches believe Burrell, without a senior in the lineup, can make the finals this season.
That thinking, however, doesn't mean a high seed or easy draw. Burrell (20-2) is ranked No. 2 in Class AA by Trib Total Media, but that doesn't guarantee a No. 2 seed to match. One thing's clear: The Bucs hope to be on the opposite side of the bracket from two-time defending champion Seton-La Salle (20-1), the favorite in double-A.
The Rebels, who went 30-0 last year and also won the state title, have been in the WPIAL final four straight times. They are 77-4 across the past three years.
“We think 20-2 is a fantastic record,” Burrell coach Meghan Ziemianski said. “We've played teams like North Catholic and a pretty strong schedule. It doesn't matter where you're seeded; it's out of your control.”
Burrell has nonsection wins against Class AAA playoff teams Hampton and Indiana, and Class A power North Catholic. Its losses are to Class AAAA Shaler and Class AAA Keystone Oaks, both playoff teams.
The Fox Chapel girls (16-5) won just three games last year but surge into the postseason, like Burrell, with a number of underclass players who keep improving. The Foxes, who shared the Section 2-AAAA title with Gateway, could be the team no one wants to face with its mixture of guards and size.
Kiski Area finished the season by winning 11 of 12 games, with the only blemish a 51-44 loss to Hempfield. Rideout doesn't think the defeat will hurt the Cavaliers' seeding.
“We watched that film for two hours,” Rideout said. “We had 19 preventable points. We needed to play a little better defensively.”
McKay hopes the Lancers can surprise some teams in the playoffs. But first, formalities.
“It will be an honor, no doubt,” McKay said of being recognized at the pairings meeting. “But it won't be as special as (Feb. 1) at West Shamokin. We were down seven in the fourth quarter and came back to win and clinch a share of the section. The celebration in the locker room was great.”
All playoff games will be played at neutral sites.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins insider: Malkin found confidence in Game 3
- Wabtec’s 1Q profit up 15 percent on record sales
- Switch in pairings helps Penguins defensemen find groove in Game 3
- Mastech Holdings records 51 percent profit jump in 1st quarter
- Former PPG executive indicted in fatal NH crash
- Pittsburgh-area drivers roll with rising pump prices
- SCI-Pittsburgh inmate taken to AGH after ‘severe beating’
- Kovacevic: No science to solving power play
- GoodTaste! Pittsburgh heads to Cranberry for a food-filled day
- Hearing to determine fate of sergeant accused of killing 2 deaf Iraqi boys
- Husband to stand trial in Derry middle school teacher’s murder