Wahconah's Girls Seeded First in Division 3
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Wahconah girls basketball team is coming off a tremendous regular season that earns it a target on its back in the Western Massachusetts tournament that gets under way on Monday.
Wahconah (16-4) received the top seed in the Division 3 tournament when brackets were announced on Saturday afternoon at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum.
That is good enough four first-round byes in the 12-team D3 field.
Wahconah has a few days to get ready for Thursday's home game against either No. 9 Palmer (10-10) or No. 8 Frontier (14-6), who will meet on Monday night in South Deerfield for a spot in the quarter-finals.
No. 3 Hoosac Valley (14-6) earned another of those byes. The Hurricanes Thursday will host either No. 11 Mount Greylock (10-10) or No. 6 Granby (10-10) depending on the outcome of their Monday game in Granby.
The county also has three teams in the D4 girls bracket.
All three are in the top half of the draw, and all three are home on Monday night.
No. 3 Lenox (13-7) entertains No. 14 Duggan (10-10). No. 4 Lee (11-9) hosts No. 13 St. Mary's (11-7). No. 7 McCann Tech (11-9) is home to No. 10 Pioneer Valley Regional.
The Hornets beat Pioneer Valley, 49-40, in North Adams back on Jan. 10.
The D2 girls bracket features another rematch. The Pittsfield girls fell to Northampton on the road, 65-45, in the Generals' season opener in December.
On Thursday, No. 8 Pittsfield (10-10) gets another crack at the top-seeded Blue Devils (14-6), this time for a trip to Curry Hicks Cage and the sectional semi-finals.
Taconic (18-2) was awarded the third seed in the eight-team D2 bracket. It will be home on Thursday against No. 6 Quabbin (15-5).
The reigning Berkshire County North Division champs were seeded third despite having the best winning percentage (.900) in the field.
Tournament director Lou Conte notes that this is the last year that the Western Massachusetts tournament will be seeded with the Walker System, which also takes into account strength of schedule and record against tournament-qualifying teams.
Next year, all Massachusetts sectionals will be seeded using the CBS Sports' Maxpreps algorithm mandated by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Conte for one is sorry to see the Walker system go.
"The Walker has been very good for us," Conte said. "We have done it right in Western Mass. We align our leagues in terms of fair and equitable competition.
"Do times change? Yes they do."
They could change even more in the 2021-22 basketball season. If Friday's MIAA membership vote goes in favor of a statewide tournament in most sports, the 2020-21 season will be the last with a Western Mass tournament.