GWOC Central gets the top four seeds in Sectional tournament
CENTERVILLE — When it comes to the clear-cut favorite in the Dayton Division I sectionals, Wayne was identified as the top team. The top-seeded Warriors were chosen unanimously by the other 19 teams and as a result, they got to choose their spot on the bracket.
All of the teams are seeded by the number of points they accumulate through voting by the coaches, and in succession the other remaining top seeded teams got to select their spots on the bracket. There are three sectionals from which to choose, and a team calculates where they would like to go on the bracket to give their team the best position.
After Wayne went on the board, it was not until No. 12 seed Piqua that another team decided to place themselves in the same bracket with Wayne.
It was obvious that Wayne is considered the sectional’s juggernaut. Teams would rather take their chances on anybody else, rather than play Travis Trice’s loaded 18-3 Wayne squad.
Centerville head coach Brook Cupps, whose 18-3 team earned the No. 2 seed in the sectional draw, thought things went about like he expected.
“With everybody staying away from Wayne it really loads up the other two brackets,” Cupps said. “We’ve got some really good teams in our sectional. We’re going to have to play well, I think anybody can beat anybody in our sectional, so we’re going to have to be ready to go.”
After Centerville, Fairmont (16-4) chose the third sectional bracket, and fourth-seeded Springfield (13-7) also went in the third bracket. If both teams win out, they’ll face each other in the sectional finals. Fairmont knocked off the Wildcats both times they played in conference games, but both games were close. Springfield led in the second half of each game.
All top four seeds play in the GWOC Central, and it was clear the division garnered the most respect. Springfield edged out GWOC South team Xenia (15-4) and GWOC North team Greenville (15-4), as well as defending regional champion and GWOC North power Trotwood-Madison (13-7) for the fourth seed. Springfield could potentially have a second round game with the Rams if Trotwood knocks off 12-8 Fairborn and Springfield beats Beavercreek (5-15) for the third time this year.
Even Northmont, who struggled in the Central division snagged the nine-seed with a 9-11 record, got a better seed than Lebanon (13-8), Fairborn, Piqua (11-10), and Central Buckeye Conference team Tecumseh (13-6).
Thunderbolts head coach Collin Abels felt pretty good about his team’s seeding despite the sub-.500 record.
“I thought we’d be right there in that 8-10 range,” Abels said. “We had a pretty tough schedule and other than our Beavercreek loss, a lot of our losses were to top-notch competition.”
As far as the trend to avoid Wayne, Abels saw it too.
“I knew the two brackets opposite of Wayne would just be loaded and you’re going to play that kind of competition,” Abels said. “I think that Wayne is head and shoulders over everybody, but I think the reality of it is that after Wayne, there’s probably eight or nine teams that can win a sectional final.”
Springboro (12-9) head coach Mike Holweger, whose team lost to Northmont in the regular season, was a little unsure about how he felt with his team’s eighth seed.
“I have no idea how I feel,” Holweger said. “I have a lot of respect for Greenville… we knew we were going to play a good team.”
Springboro plays sixth-seeded Greenville and if the Panthers can advance they would play either fifth-seeded Xenia or Northmont.
“I think with teams trying to avoid Wayne, the other two brackets are stacked. There is nowhere to hide,” said Holweger. “It makes it exciting.”
Tecumseh plays Piqua and Wayne plays Butler (1-19) on Feb. 27 to open sectional action. All of the rest of the teams tip-off the following day at Trotwood and Butler.