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Schools of Thought: Section seeds sketchy

February 23, 2009
By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald

This is exactly why media isn't allowed to sit in on the seeding meetings for sectional playoffs.

Most times, I'd agree with the policy because the coaches and league representatives should decide the seeds without having to deal with the prying eyes and second guessing of reporters. Then I get a head-scratcher like the girls Class B bracket handed to me and I have to sit down and try to figure out exactly what they were thinking.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at this meeting and heard what possible argument could be made for Watervliet to have the No. 1 seed.

The Cannoneers finished 14-6 overall, 14-4 in the Colonial Council, good for fourth place in a league that consists of three Class A schools, four other Class Bs and two Class CCs.

The No. 2 seed, Fonda-Fultonville was 19-1 overall, 12-0 in the Western Athletic Conference North Division, won the WAC North regular season championship and the WAC Cup championship. The Lady Braves played just two Class B schools in the regular season, sweeping Broadalbin-Perth in a home-and-home and splitting with Johnstown.

The No. 3 seed, Johnstown was 17-3 overall and 12-2 in the Foothills Council. The Lady Bills won the Foothills crown. The league includes two other Class B schools, four Class As and one Class AA school. Their two games with Mayfield were the only two not played against a school their size or larger.

I imagine Watervliet's history came into the conversation. The Cannoneers won the Class B championship two years ago and won the Class CC title last year.

Thing is, they haven't proven to be the best B team this year.

Looking at the teams' records, both FFCS and Johnstown belong above Watervliet. Looking at league championships, both FFCS and Johnstown belong above Watervliet. Looking at the weight of the teams' schedules, Johnstown belongs above Watervliet and FFCS.

Johnstown played up so much they would be in line for a top-5 seed in the Class A bracket.

I'd kinda like to see that, actually.

The Lady Bills played up more than any team other than No. 7 Hudson Falls and B-P, the two other B teams in the Foothills. Against Class A and AA teams, they went 10-1. They split with Hudson Falls, which is just two students below being an A again and beat Section III Class B's Herkimer. They split with FFCS, losing by 10 in the second game of the season and avenging the loss with an 11-point win Dec. 30.

Watervliet lost to Albany Academy. One of the Lady Bears' four wins on the season. The Cannoneers also lost a Jan. 23 game to 10-10 Cobleskill-Richmondville, 47-23.

Somehow, they're the No. 1 seed.

OK, so Watervliet split with Voorheesville (15-5, No. 2 seed in Class CC) and Lansingburgh (14-6, No. 4 seed in Class A), but how is that better than what Johnstown has done?

The seeds have to be assigned based on what the teams have done in the regular season, not what someone thinks they may be able to do in the postseason. Otherwise, why play the regular season? Just look at the team on paper and what they've done the last couple seasons and postseasons. Save a busload of money for the schools by getting rid of those apparently unnecessary 20 games in the regular season.

Watervliet is a good B team and they have a shot at winning the sectional championship again.

However, they have not yet earned top billing.

Fonda-Fultonville's only loss is to Johnstown. However, having played just Johnstown and B-P in Class B competition, they have not yet proven they are the top Class B school.

They may yet.

I'm convinced they are good enough to compete with anyone in the bracket. They played some tough smaller schools and got the best effort from those schools.

Regardless of who you're playing, winning 19 of 20 games is a challenge and the Lady Braves deserve more consideration than a lot of people give them.

How Johnstown and FFCS didn't draw the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively, is a mystery that will continue to befuddle anyone who hasn't drank the Kool-Aid on a Watervliet team that has not performed as well as the league reps are telling us they will. Heck, what happens if No. 9 Cobleskill beats No. 8 Schuylerville Tuesday and then has to play a Watervliet team that has been on the shelf for a week and a half? The Bulldogs already routed the Cannoneers once.

I guess all that's left to do for the Lady Bills and Lady Braves is to go out and prove exactly where they belong in the section by winning. If this isn't enough to give a little shot in the arm to any team weary from the rigors of the regular season, they need to check their pulse. Both teams should be itching to start kicking butts and taking names.

Bill Cain is a sports reporter for The Leader-Herald. We invite your feedback on this or any other sports-related topic. E-mail your opinions or ideas to us at



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