WE LEARNED more details about the upcoming boys and girls basketball tournaments this week.
As expected, each division will be grouped into four regions or “pods” and the winner of each pod will advance to the semifinals. Here’s how the pods will look for Division I boys basketball:
• Nashua North, Nashua South, Bishop Guertin, Alvirne and Keene.
• Pinkerton, Londonderry, Merrimack, Salem, Timberlane and Windham.
• Dover, Spaulding, Winnacunnet, Portsmouth and Exeter.
• Trinity, Memorial, Central, Concord, Bedford and Goffstown.
The Division I girls pods will be the same with the exception of Timberlane, which competes in Division II for girls basketball.
Teams will be seeded randomly. In the five-team pods, the No. 5 seed will play the No. 4 seed for right to play the No. 1 seed. In the six-team pods, No. 6 will play No. 3, and No. 5 will play No 4. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will have a bye.
“There’s no rhyme or reason to the seedings,” Pinkerton coach Dave Chase said. “Basically all the games leading up to the tournament are considered scrimmages. That drew complaints from a lot of coaches. However, I can see the point of the ADs and the state. They’re just trying to give the kids an opportunity to play. There’s a lot of states out there not having a state tournament.”
The semifinals will feature the winner of the Manchester pod vs. the winner of the Seacoast pod. The two remaining pods will meet in the other semifinal.
Alvirne boys basketball coach Marty Edwards said most coaches he spoke with were against random seeding.
“I’m sure if you brought the coaches together you could get a consensus on which teams should be seeded where,” he said. “If you did that with the coaches in our pod I think it would be unanimous.
Some have suggested teams could be seeded by winning percentage, as was done during the football season. At least that would have rewarded teams for regular-season wins, although in some cases those wins may have come against teams in lower divisions.
“I would have liked something other than picking teams out of a hat,” Edwards said. “Otherwise you’re eliminating the regular season, which isn’t fair to the kids.”
If any Division I boys basketball program has established itself as the team to beat this season, it’s Exeter.
The Blue Hawks raised their record to 10-0 by beating Portsmouth 67-53 Monday. That gave Exeter 50 wins in its last 51 games. Exeter beat Salem to win the Division I championship in 2019, and the Blue Hawks were the No. 1 seed for last year’s tournament when COVID-19 brought a premature end to the season.
Portsmouth and Exeter were declared co-champions last season, and those teams are scheduled to meet for the third time this season tonight in Exeter.
Dates for this year’s boys and girls basketball tournaments (all divisions)
Play-in Round (if needed): Monday, March 1
Preliminary Round: Thursday, March 4
Quarterfinals: Saturday, March 6
Semifinals: Wednesday, March 10
Final: Saturday, March 13
Play-in Round (if needed): Tuesday, March 2
Preliminary Round: Friday, March 5
Quarterfinals: Sunday, March 7
Semifinals: Thursday, March 11
Final: Sunday, March 14
All games will be at home sites through the quarterfinals. Locations have not been announced for the semifinals and championship games.
Salem girls basketball coach Ricky Oliver was recently inducted into the New England AAU Sports Hall of Fame. Oliver served as the NE AAU girls basketball chair for 12 years and was a member of the National AAU Girls Basketball Committee. He was the girls basketball coach at Nashua North before he took the Salem job. …
Members of the Mascoma Valley boys basketball team helped pack boxes of food donations earlier this month that were delivered to local families in need. The distribution drive was organized by the school’s Student Athlete Leadership Training (SALT) Team. Isaac Rayno, Cole Moulton, Cooper Peavey, Noah Lecuyer, Michael Loyns, Zachary Thompson, Connor Thompson and Ian Moulton were the players who participated. …
Playing an opponent in back-to-back games has produced some interesting scores this year. Perhaps none more interesting than Alvirne’s games against Nashua North and Windham. After losing to North 83-47 on the road, the Broncos beat the Titans 55-52 three days later; and two days after losing 72-37 at Windham, the Broncos posted a 69-63 decision against the Jaguars in Hudson.