February 14, 2013
Some quick thoughts after viewing the seeds for the Section II girls basketball playoffs:
• The Bethlehem side of the Class AA bracket is very interesting. Besides the top-seeded Lady Eagles, you have defending Sectional champion Colonie and Big 10 power Catholic Central battling each other to see who will take on Bethlehem in the semifinals. No matter who they face in the semis, the Lady Eagles will need to be on top of their game to advance to the finals.
• The other half of the Class AA bracket should feature a semifinal showdown between Big 10 champion Albany and Suburban Council North Division champion Shaker. Both teams feature dynamic scorers (Albany's Emia Willingham-Hurst and Shaker's Madison Rowland) and tough low-post players. It may come down to which team's supporting cast performs the best to determine the winner in this semi.
• I can't help but wonder what Scotia-Glenville could have done in this year's Class A playoffs had leading scorer Cassie Broadhead hadn't suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in December. Broadhead probably wouldn't have carried the Lady Tartans to a Sectional title by herself, but she could have gotten them back to the finals. As it stands, Scotia-Glenville will be out in the quarterfinals when it meets undefeated Holy Names in Albany.
• No. 1 seed Watervliet is no longer an automatic lock to make the Class B finals following word that senior forward Lashana Tolliver has been suspended 30 days by the school for violating its extra-curricular code of conduct. Tolliver was a rebounding machine for the Cannoneers, and she was averaging 10 points per game at the time of her suspension at the beginning of the week. if Watervliet can't compensate for Tolliver's absence, I could see the Cannoneers losing to a talented Cohoes team (No. 4 seed) in the semifinals or sooner if No. 8 Schalmont plays well in the quarterfinals. The Sabres lost to Watervliet 44-40 Tuesday in a Colonial Council game -- the first game of Tolliver's suspension.
• And on the other side of the Class B bracket, we should have a great semifinal match-up between No. 2 Tamarac and No. 3 Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk. Tamarac (17-1) is in the middle of its best season in nearly three decades under first-year head coach Eric Medved, while Ravena (12-6) looks primed for another Final Four appearance. It will be interesting to see how Tamarac's junior stars, Jenna Erickson (19.0 points per game) and Briana Matazinsky (15.2 ppg), perform against a Ravena team that allowed opponents an average of 38.3 points per game.
The madness begins Friday.