Tuesday, February 20, 2018 | BataviasBest.org
Beginning tonight, the Section V Boys Basketball Tournament will commence, as Elba enters the year as the lone local defending champion. Here is a preview of what to expect this year:
Seeding: 1. Fairport; 2. Rush-Henrietta; 3. Gates-Chili; 4. Webster Thomas; 5. McQuaid; 6. University Prep; 7. Hilton; 8. Bishop Kearney; 9. Edison Tech; 10. Penfield; 11. Churchville-Chili; 12. Victor; 13. Webster-Schroeder; 14. Aquinas
Bracket Outlook: Fairport and Rush-Henrietta have been jockeying for position atop the bracket all year long, and I would expect Class AA to come down to those two teams when it’s all said and done. Fairport has beaten Rush twice this year.
Gates-Chili has endured a resurgent season in 2017-2018, and may be a player for the championship as well. They defeated Fairport earlier this year in the Red Raiders’ home gym.
Webster Thomas, McQuaid, and University Prep have all played well in spurts throughout the year, but I don’t anticipate any of them making a run toward the title. Of these three, McQuaid has the most-impressive victories, including a win over Fairport earlier this year.
Intriguing First Round Matchup: #4 Webster Thomas vs #13 Webster Schroeder – any time you get a rivalry game in the first round of sectionals, you know you can expect high-drama.
Tournament Prediction: Fairport has reigned as a top-tier team in Class AA for some time, and made it all the way to the State Finals last year. Although the Red Raiders lost a bit from their 2016-2017 championship team, they’ve returned enough to pull the top-seed heading into the tournament, and I believe Class AA is Fairport’s to lose. In the end, although regular season losses to #3 Gates-Chili, and #5 McQuaid continue to haunt the Raiders, I’ll take Fairport to make it all the way to back-to-back titles.
Seeding: 1. Greece Athena; 2. Irondequoit; 3. Pittsford Sutherland; 4. Pittsford Mendon; 5. Eastridge; 6. Canandaigua; 7. Spencerport; 8. Brockport; 9. Brighton; 10. Greece Arcadia; 11. Franklin
Bracket Outlook: This bracket will come down to the top-four teams: Greece Athena, Irondequoit, Pittsford Sutherland, and Pittsford Mendon. Athena is the top-dog, but has already lost to both Pittsford teams this year.
Behind them awaits defending State Champion Irondequoit, who despite falling to Athena earlier in the year has one of the best players in Section V in Gerald Drumgoole.
Pittsford Sutherland and Pittsford Mendon have split two matchups between each other this year, and have both beaten top-seed Greece Athena. I wouldn’t be surprised if one, or both found their way to the finals.
Intriguing First Round Matchup: #6 Canandaigua vs #11 Franklin – although I expect Canandaigua to roll in this game, I see the Braves as the only other team in this bracket with a chance to knock off one of the top-four seeds. CAN fell to SUTH twice this year by less than 5 points combined between the two losses. If they advance past FRANK, they will face the #3 Knights in the quarterfinals.
Tournament Prediction: Greece Athena is under new leadership this year, but that hasn’t stopped them from earning the top-seed after a two-loss season. With an embarrassment of riches along the perimeter, as well as quality production inside, the Trojans will be tough to stop on their way to a championship.
However, I’m picking Irondequoit to win their second-consecutive Class A1 Title. Out of all the teams in this bracket, the Eagles have played the toughest schedule, and although they lost to Athena by 7 earlier in the year, I believe IRON will rise to the top if the two are to meet during the tournament.
Seeding: 1. Leadership Academy; 2. Wayne; 3. Batavia; 4. NE Douglas; 5. Wilson Magnet; 6. Honeoye Falls-Lima; 7. Monroe; 8. SOTA; 9. East High; 10. Geneva; 11. Vertus
Bracket Outlook: Wayne is the defending champion in Class A2, but I believe we will see a different team take home the title this year. The Eagles have everyone back, but I don’t feel as if they have improved as much from last year when compared to the other teams in their bracket.
Leadership Academy has been one of the most-electrifying teams in Section V this year, and it will take a lot to oust them during the postseason. Just a few years removed from their last championship, the Lions are back to being an uber-talented team who has racked up the points throughout the regular year. Defense is an afterthought for this group, however, leaving the door open for an upset at any level of the tournament.
Next up is local squad Batavia, who despite losing all-star guard Antwan Odom to injury during a postseason scrimmage last week, will have a good chance to at least make the semis once again this year. Last season, the Devils fell to Wilson in the A2 tournament’s semis. I expect the Blue Devils, now led by last year’s Monroe County Divisional Player of the Year Tee Sean Ayala, to face the HF-L Cougars during the quarterfinals – a team who they split two matchups with earlier during the regular season.
RCAC schools NE Douglas, Wilson, and Monroe each put strings of success together during the regular season, and although I think they can play spoiler for one of the higher-seeds in the semis, I don’t anticipate any of them being a true contender for a championship.
Intriguing First Round Matchups: #8 SOTA vs #9 East High – I’m picking the Eagles to pull the minor upset in this game.
Tournament Prediction: Although I do believe they are ripe for an upset, Leadership Academy has proven to be the best team in Class A2 this year. Wayne, Batavia, and the Rochester City schools all are flawed enough that I can’t confidently pick them to overcome the high-flying attack of LA. Give me the Lions in Class A2.
Seeding: 1. Mynderse; 2. Penn Yan; 3. Livonia; 4. Hornell; 5. Greece Odyssey; 6. World of Inquiry; 7. Palmyra-Macedon; 8. Wellsville; 9. Newark, 10. Wayland-Cohocton; 11. Midlakes; 12. Bath-Haverling; 13. Dansville; 14. Waterloo; 15. Greece Olympia; 16. Attica
Bracket Outlook: From Mynderse, to Greece Odyssey, I believe all of the top-five seeds have a realistic chance to win a title this year.
Mynderse dominated the finger lakes this season, losing only to higher-class teams Canandaigua, and Wayne – before suffering their first tough defeat at the hands of Penn Yan.
PY had been up-and-down all season but finished the regular season as strong as any team in their class and will be carrying great momentum into the postseason.
Livonia was on fire before losing three-straight to Perry, Hornell, and Batavia before defeating Bath to finish the year. The Bulldogs have eight seniors on their roster, including 6’5″ center Barrett Lowe who is a force inside for this team.
Hornell has won four-straight entering their first round matchup with Dansville, and after suffering a few tough losses to Section VI competition earlier this season, the Red Raiders have been very consistent and join the top-contenders for the title.
Greece Odyssey has been an exciting team to watch through the past several seasons. After playing the most-difficult regular season schedule of any of the Class B teams, with opponents spanning from Class B to Class AA, they will be battle tested and ready to take home the championship. They just need to find their rhythm, which has been a struggle for them the past few years.
Intriguing First Round Matchup: #6 World of Inquiry vs #11 Midlakes – I’m picking the Screaming Eagles to upset WOI in this game.
Tournament Prediction: It’s difficult to predict who will win in Class B, but I’m once again going with the top-seed – the Mynderse Blue Devils. In their games vs Class A2 team Wayne this season, MYN great ability on both ends of the floor struck me and since then I have been high on this team. Although they are not a shoe-in to win the championship, with Penn Yan and a few others nipping at their heels, the Devils will be extremely difficult to beat during the tournament.
Seeding: 1. Northstar Christian; 2. Pembroke; 3. Addison; 4. Le Roy; 5. Marcus Whitman; 6. Avon; 7. Gananda; 8. East Rochester; 9. Sodus; 10. Canisteo-Greenwood; 11. Byron-Bergen; 12. Williamson; 13. Early College; 14. Red Creek; 15. Holley; 16. North Rose-Wolcott; 17. Letchworth
Bracket Outlook: Top-seed Northstar Christian, the defending Class C1 Champ, is clearly the team to beat once again this season as they return their top-three players. Miles Brown, their leading-scorer, is one of the top-overall talents in all of Section V and has scored over 40 points multiple times this season.
Pembroke, despite going undefeated throughout the regular season, has a tall hill to climb on their way to the championship. It’s disappointing, as the Dragons are a group laden with seniors whose championship aspirations will take a major step back after this season.
The rest of Class C1 is cloudy, as there are many more capable teams who could strike an upset, but I don’t see any team other than Pembroke having a chance to knock off Northstar.
Le Roy, the team who saw Northstar in the semifinals last season and played them to a close finish, and Avon, another strong Livingston County team, would be the only other two C1 squads to watch over the next few weeks.
Addison, Marcus Whitman, Gananda, East Rochester, and Sodus all come in with records over .500, but the task of unseating the top-seeded Knights seems just too great for any of them to pull off, at least from my point of view.
Intriguing First Round Matchup: #8 East Rochester vs #9 Sodus – two teams who have seen success, but consistency has eluded each of them.
Tournament Prediction: When it comes down to it, if anyone picked against Northstar in this bracket they would have to be drug tested. The Knights have beaten top-tier competition all the way from Class AA down to Class D. There really isn’t much else to say, this team could be headed for a NYSPHSAA Title.
Seeding: 1. Perry; 2. Cal-Mum; 3. Lyons; 4. C.G. Finney; 5. Oakfield; 6. Alexander; 7. Cuba-Rushford; 8. Rochester Academy; 9. Bloomfield; 10. South Seneca; 11. Warsaw; 12. Geneseo; 13. Red Jacket; 14. Rochester Prep; 15. Campbell-Savona; 16. Marion; 17. Keshequa
Bracket Outlook: Now, Class C2 is going to be a lot of fun. With six, or seven capable teams all in line for a run at the championship, this bracket is fairly wide-open. Although Perry, Cal-Mum, and Lyons are clearly the front-runners, C.G. Finney, Oakfield, Alexander, and last year’s Class C3 Champ Cuba-Rushford will all battle to force themselves into the title conversation before it’s all said and done.
Perry is led by a one-two punch consisting of Austin Croll and Tyler Cowie, both of which are in their senior season and still have a sour taste in their mouth from last year when they fell in the finals despite being the top-seed.
Cal-Mum put together a ten-game winning streak earlier this season, but had it snapped by Avon late in the year. They too are paced by a duo of seniors, Jon Boilard and Ian Lenhardt, who also come into this year’s tournament with a chip on their shoulder after falling in the Class C2 Finals to eight seed Geneseo last year. Vin Molisani, a sophomore, is the leading-scorer for the Raiders.
Lyons 6’6″ point guard Justice Smith might be the most-talented player within this bracket, but the Lions as a group will have to be stronger around him down the stretch if they hope to wind up in the finals.
Finney, Oakfield, and Alexander have all earned important victories, but have yet to earn a signature win against a team above them in the Class Standings. Ryan Douglas is a player to watch from this group of teams, as he has averaged near 25 points per game this year.
Intriguing First Round Matchups: #6 Alexander vs #11 Warsaw – Alexander previously defeated Warsaw 55-52 in overtime this season.
Tournament Prediction: It’s been very tough to pick a winner in Class C2. Can I flip a coin?
Perry, Cal-Mum, and Lyons will all be there in the end, and I would be shocked if any of them fell before the semifinals. However, choosing between the three is tough.
Perry has the easier road to the finals, avoiding a matchup with either of the other two in the semis, and Cal-Mum and Lyons will in all likelihood face-off in the other semifinal.
If you forced me to choose, I would go with Cal-Mum. I had them as the preseason favorite to win Class C2 and I will stick with the local pick. However, the title is very much up for grabs.
Seeding: 1. Clyde-Savannah; 2. Notre Dame; 3. Genesee Valley; 4. HAC; 5. Mt. Morris; 6. Honeoye; 7. York; 8. Fillmore; 9. Jasper-Troupsburg; 10. Naples; 11. Bolivar-Richburg; 12. Alfred-Almond; 13. Lyndonville; 14. Pavilion; 15. Wheatland-Chili; 16. Dundee; 17. Kendall
Bracket Outlook: In Class D1, it’s Clyde-Savannah – and then there’s everybody else.
The Golden Eagles are led by a trio of strong athletes in Derrick & Marcus Chance, and Drew Carnavale, all three of which have taken turns scoring the basketball this year. In a game against Lyons earlier this year, Marcus Chance hit 8 three-pointers in the first half, and followed that up with a 44-point performance a few games later. Derrick, and Drew are capable of doing much of the same, which makes this an incredibly scary group.
Notre Dame has put together a fine season and has drawn the two-seed, I don’t anticipate them being able to overcome the Golden Eagles, and in fact, the Irish may be ripe for an upset in the earlier rounds. Offensive, and defensive efficiency has hurt this group against the better teams on their schedule, as their inability to stop their opponents from going on long runs is certainly their achilles heel.
Intriguing First Round Matchups: #4 HAC vs #13 Lyndonville – Another team of note, HAC has played well all season and deserves a mention as a team who may be there at the end. Lyndonville has endured a roller coaster of a season and will have to put forth a big-time performance in order to beat the Wolves.
Tournament Prediction: Much like Class C1, if I picked against Clyde-Savannah here you’d probably have to check my brain chemistry. The Eagles are the clear favorite and until I see otherwise, they are the obvious pick for the championship this year.
Seeding: 1. Prattsburgh; 2. Belfast; 3. Scio; 4. Elba; 5. Avoca; 6. Bradford; 7. Whitesville; 8. Hammondsport; 9. Romulus; 10. Lima Christian; 11. Andover; 12. Houghton; 13. Friendship; 14. Arkport-Canaseraga
Bracket Outlook: Elba comes in as the three-seed and defending champ of Class D2.
Although I think they’ll walk to the semifinals, if they do indeed get there, they will have a lot of work to do in order to earn a semifinal victory over title favorite Prattsburgh. Belfast and Scio headline the other side of the bracket, but I believe the de facto championship game will take place between Elba and Prattsburgh in the other semifinal.
Mason Putnam (PRATT), Garrett Socola (PRATT), and Colton Dillon (ELBA) are the best three individual players within this classification from my perspective.
Intriguing First Round Matchups: #7 Whitesville vs #10 Lima Christian – this is my upset special within this classification.
Tournament Prediction: After falling to Elba in the Finals a season ago, I’ll take Prattsburgh to win the title this year. Their one-two punch of Socola and Putnam has proved to be formidable against the top-competition on the Vikings’ schedule, and I imagine they will have their way going up against all that Class D2 has to offer.
Be sure to tune in on Twitter for updates from the Section V Boys Basketball Tournament – beginning tonight.
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