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Local playoff teams ponder seedings, pairings

| Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2007

Ford City girls basketball coach Al Davis wants respect tonight at the WPIAL playoff pairings meeting at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Coraopolis.

Ford City is one of six area teams that will learn its WPIAL playoff seeding at the pairings meeting. Other girls teams include Freeport and Apollo-Ridge, while the boys teams are Freeport, Leechburg and West Shamokin.

Ford City (22-2, 10-2) finished in second place in Section 1-AA behind Greensburg Central Catholic, which is the only team to defeat the Lady Sabers this season. Ford City is ranked third in Class AA by the Tribune-Review News Service.

"We expect to be third. We deserve third," Davis said. "I really do believe we deserve third, and I'll be disappointed if we don't get it."

Ford City has made the playoffs 12 consecutive seasons and 13 out of the past 14 years.

"There have been a lot of times we went (to the pairings) and had a pretty good record," Davis said. "And one time, we had a 22-2 record and got seeded 12th. So, being in the section with Greensburg (Central Catholic) seems to hurt us.

"Schools like Seton-La Salle don't have to play them. It seems like they try to avoid them when we get into the tournament. I hope someone steps up and says they should play (Greensburg Central Catholic) before we do again."

Ford City, Freeport and Apollo-Ridge are three of 26 girls basketball teams that qualified for the postseason in Class AA. The Lady Yellowjackets and Lady Vikings tied for fourth in Section 1-AA and will probably have to play preliminary games.

The WPIAL has said that games could start as early as Thursday.

Leechburg's boys team is ranked fifth in Class A by the Tribune-Review News Service. The Blue Devils (12-10, 8-2) split the Section 4-A title with Duquesne and probably won't have to play a preliminary game.

Of Leechburg's 10 losses this season, seven have come against teams that have qualified for the WPIAL playoffs. The Blue Devils have lost to two Class AAA teams, two from Class AA and three from Class A.

West Shamokin (16-8, 9-5) and Freeport (12-8, 8-6) are two of 29 boys basketball teams that qualified for the Class AA playoffs.

The Wolves, who have made the playoffs twice in the past three seasons, finished third in Section 1-AA. The Yellowjackets tied Burrell for fourth in the section.

West Shamokin coach Mike Nagy and Freeport coach Mike Beale said they expected to play a preliminary game.

"I'm sure if we hadn't lost our last two (games), we would get a higher seed," Beale said. "Any loss at this time of year is detrimental to your seed."

Nagy suggested that geographic location sometimes plays a role in seeding.

"Traditionally, they don't treat us with much respect out this way," Nagy said.

Each team's representative at the pairings meeting must have game film from the team's past two games. Nagy said the past two times he's attended the pairings meeting it hadn't worked out this way.

"You get down there, and the team you're playing forgot their tapes," Nagy said. "They say they'll mail it, and they take yours. Or they'll have tapes, but not of the games they're supposed to."

Davis agreed that coaches act in this manner, saying with a smile, "Coaches cheat."

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