Top girls hoops seeds try to avoid collision course

When it comes to postseason basketball, coaches from top teams abandon the “one game at a time” cliche.

They project across the brackets anticipating who might be their opponent in a district final and possibly in the regional. Those projections, of course, are based on their teams performing in tournament play as they did in the regular season.

So it went Sunday in the Division I girls tournament drawings in Dayton and Cincinnati. Fairmont was the No.1 seed in Dayton while Centerville was No. 2. Mason was No. 1 in Cincinnati while Princeton was No. 2.

Coaches Tim Cogan of Fairmont, Rob Matula of Mason, Adam Priefer of Centerville and Jill Phillips of Princeton all placed their teams in paths where they may not meet until the regional championship games.

There are five D-I sectionals in Cincinnati and three in Dayton feeding into the district tournament which is Saturday, March 2, at Harrison High School.

The four district winners head to the Wright State regional semifinals March 6 and the title game March 9. If the seeds hold true, Mason would play Centerville in one regional semi and Fairmont would get Princeton in the other.

That could set up a regional championship game fans would love to see. Fairmont and Centerville split games this year, as did Mason and Princeton. So rematches would be fun. There could also be the possibly of Fairmont meeting Mason in a rematch of last year’s regional final.

“You just try and put your team in the best position to have a chance at making it to state,” said Cogan, whose Firebirds squad was D-I runner-up last year. “You hope you and your coaches do a good enough job of scouting during the season so you know what your best match-ups and the district might be.”

There were no surprises in the Cincinnati D-I seedings with Lakota West going No.3, Ursuline No. 4 and Mother of Mercy No. 5.

In Dayton, a little payback may have changed the seeding a tad. Fairborn (18-2) was No. 3 while Springboro was (14-5) was No. 4 and Tecumseh (20-1) was No. 5.

Seedings were based on 20 points for first place vote, 18 for second, 17 for third down to one point for 20th and last place.

Tecumseh may have gotten the fourth seed with mostly fourth and fifth place votes. But Springfield coach Robert Thomas gave the Arrows a 19th place vote with only two points. His low vote was a reaction to Tecumseh defeating his team 100-15 earlier this season.

“I anticipated that,” said Tecumseh coach Danielle Thomas. “But I’m not going to tell my girls not to stop playing and scoring in any game. Seeds don’t really matter except if you’re No. 1.

“We’re where we thought we’d be against the teams we feel we have the best chance against to get district.”

Tecumseh is in the Dayton 3 sectional and could meet Springboro in the second round. Fairborn is the top seeded team in that sectional.

In Division II, the top seeds were Bellbrook in the Springboro sectional, Carroll in the Tecumseh sectional and undefeated Talawanda (19-0) at Cincinnati Withrow.

If the seedings hope true, Carroll and Talawanda could meet in the district final at Mason on March 1.

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