Western Massachusetts Basketball Tournament Seeds Set
This story updated Saturday evening to reflect the final scheduling of Mount Greylock's boys and girls first-round games against Narragansett.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The truth of the Western Massachusetts basketball seeding meeting is that it is less of a meeting than an announcement.
Very little discussion actually takes place as the tourney committee presents its brackets for the next two weeks of March Madness.
In theory, it’s a time for coaches to question the records for their respective teams as reported on the brackets, but on Saturday, as usual, the committee had all the numbers right. And no one got up to challenge the strength of schedule-driven Walker System that seeds, for example, the 20-0 South Hadley girls basketball team behind the 18-2 Hoosac Valley Hurricanes, even when one of those rare Hoosac losses came against South Hadley.
As meetings go, this one is short and sweet. But that does not mean there is not business to conduct, and Taconic boys basketball coach Bill Heaphy had a definite objective on Saturday at Springfield Central High School.
“What I’m doing right now is trying to find scrimmages,” Heaphy said in the hallway outside the Springfield Central auditorium just after the brackets were released.
Taconic (17-3) is seeded second in a five-team Division 2 boys field. That means Heaphy’s team has a direct ticket to the sectional semi-finals at the University of Massachusetts’ Curry Hicks Cage … and a weeklong layoff while the first round and quarterfinal games are played this week in better populated tournaments.
“We’ve got one [scrimmage] on Monday. I’ve got Amherst coming in. That’s very, very important. I’d like to get a couple more if we can. We’ll line up two more and go from there.”
Heaphy does not even have a chance to scout his semi-final opponent this week. Third-seeded South Hadley (10-10) also has a bye through to the semis. Taconic and the Tigers will play on a date to be announced for a berth in the sectional final.
Berkshire County held down two top seeds in the girls basketball tournaments.
As previously mentioned, Hoosac Valley edged South Hadley for the top spot in D3 thanks to a rugged schedule that gave the Hurricanes 125.66 Walker System points -- edging South Hadley’s 123.20 points.
The spread was even narrower for the D4 girls, where No. 1 Lee (16-4) compiled 123.21 Walker points to edge No. 2 Quaboag (14-6), who beat the Wildcats in the last week of the season.
Taconic and Drury (17-3), who battled for the Berkshire North Division title on Thursday, were the highest seeded boys teams out of Berkshire County. The Blue Devils, like Taconic, are seeded second -- in Division 3 in their case.
That means Drury gets a bye through to the quarterfinals, where it will host either No. 7 Pioneer Valley Regional (15-5) or No. 10 Hoosac Valley (11-9) on Thursday night. Pioneer Valley hosts Hoosac on Monday evening for the right to go to Bucky Bullett Gymnasium.
The D3 boys bracket features more county schools than any other.
In addition to Drury and Hoosac Valley, the field includes No. 5 Mount Greylock (15-5), No. 9 Wahconah (12-8) and No. 11 Monument Mountain (12-8).
The Mounties are home in the first round on Monday against No. 12 Narragansett (11-9)
, but with Narragansett’s girls scheduled to play at Mount Greylock in the tournament’s first round on Tuesday, there was talk on Saturday afternoon of creating a boys-girls double-header and sending just one bus west.
Wahconah and Monument Mountain start their tournament runs on the road in the first round: Wahconah at No. 8 Easthampton (12-8) and Monument at No. 6 Hampshire (13-7).
“We knew we’d be right there, somewhere in that 8-9 game, so we were kind of preparing for that,” Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher said. “We’ve played [Easthampton] earlier in the year [a 75-53 Wahconah win]. We’ve seen them a couple of times, and I know they’ve seen us a few times. We’ll be ready. We’ll take the next couple of days to do what we need to do and be prepared to go.”
Three Berkshire County boys teams made it to the Division 4 tournament field.
No. 6 McCann Tech (16-4) is home on Monday against No. 11 Pioneer Valley Christian (13-7). No. 9 St. Joseph (6-14) and No. 12 Lenox (4-16) open up on the road Monday at No. 8 Baystate Academy Charter (9-8) and No. 5 Murcock (12-7), respectively.
Like the D2 boys, the D2 girls features one of the smallest brackets in the tournament, with just six teams qualifying.
Pittsfield (13-7) is seeded third and will host one of the division’s two quarter-finals on Friday when No. 6 Commerce (13-7) comes to call.
The 12-team Division 3 girls field features just three Berkshire County teams, but two of them could play one another in the quarter-finals.
Hoosac Valley, which earned a bye into the quarters, will be home on Friday night against either No. 9 Monument Mountain (10-10) or No. 8 Granby (10-10). The Spartans and Rams will meet Tuesday in the first round to see who gets to go to Cheshire.
The seventh-seeded Mount Greylock girls (14-6) are home Tuesday in the first round against No. 10 Narragansett (12-8).
Stay tuned to see when that game will played.
Top-seeded Lee will face either No. 9 Putnam (14-6) or No. 8 Hopkins Academy (10-10) in the D4 girls quarter-finals. The Division 4 bracket also includes No. 6 Lenox (11-9), which opens at home on Tuesday against No. 11 Sizer (10-10).
As usual, all tournament seeds are unofficial for 24 hours to allow teams time to file protests.