AA D6 Boys Basketball Playoff Preview & Thread

High School & College Sports Enthusiast Jim Hammett breaks it down for you!
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Crimson's Ghost
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AA D6 Boys Basketball Playoff Preview & Thread

Post by Crimson's Ghost » February 18th, 2017, 8:48 pm

The Favorite  - Bishop McCort 18-4

Bishop McCort earned the top seed by going 18-4 in the regular season. Jerry Murphy's team has a well-balanced roster that has been very good on both sides of the ball. Junior 5'5" point guard Imil Britt is the key to the attack. He runs the offense and is a very good defender as he averages 13 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals per game.  The offense is run through senior shooting guard, Logan Kasper, who is coming off a 33 point performance in the regular season finale against Somerset. 6'6" senior Ben Vitovich is a great rim protector and is one of the better shot blockers in the area. They have a solid team that has been playing good basketball all year long. 


The Challenger - Bishop Guilfoyle 15-6 

Bishop Guilfoyle handed Bishop McCort their only loss this season, so in a sense they might as well be the co-favorites. This BG team took a while to get going, and that was expected after winning their third consecutive state football championship. Since a January 20 loss to Forest Hills, the Marauders won 8 of 11 down the stretch. They hung with a good Richland team in the LHAC final, but came up just short.  The football playing seniors, Luke Frederick, Josh Trybus, Andrew Irwin, and Evan Chadbourn set the tone, but junior AJ Labriola and sophomore Luke Ruggery are big contributors for this team also. They like to shoot the three ball, and Trybus and Ruggery are very good at doing just that. 


The co-Challenger - Moshannon Valley 20-2

The AA playoffs feel like a three team race, and right there with McCort and Guilfoyle would be a very good 20 win Moshannon Valley team. First year coach Derrik Eckenrode inherited a good group coming off a strong season, and may be ready to take the Black Knights to some new heights. This program has never won a District Six championship, but this could be the team to do it. Big 6'7" senior center Connor Holobinko is a big presence inside. 1,000 point scorer Curtis Neff is another big part of this team. 


The Sleeper - Purchase Line 13-8

After a slow start, Purchase Line got it together in the second half of the season. The Dragons won 7 straight games before falling to Saltsburg in the Heritage Conference semifinals. Junior guard Melvin Sanchez leads the team in scoring at 14.3 point per game.  6'3" Dominique and 6'2" Shamar Campbell also both average double figures in scoring. Dominique is also very strong on the glass, pulling down 12 rebounds per game.  This is an athletic team that is playing better basketball of late.  Much of the attention is of the first three teams, but Purchase Line is not far off from the top. 


The Wrong Way - Penns Manor 12-10

Penns Manor was out to a great start to the season with an 11-2 record. The Comets seemed to be a lock for a postseason first-round bye, perhaps even a threat for the top seed. And then, it went the wrong way for this team, and they have been fading ever since.  The Comets went 1-8 down the stretch. Perhaps with a clean slate in the playoffs, they can get back on track.  They travel to Purchase Line, a team they split a pair of games with during the regular season. 


The New Guys - Homer-Center

Homer Center had a season for the ages last season. They rolled through the Heritage and District VI playoffs with an undefeated record, and ultimately finished with a 27-1 mark.  They were a very senior driven team last season, but this group is looking to leave their own mark, as they will look to bring back the school's sixth all-time District VI title. There is only one senior on the roster, and this younger group looks like they can be another good one.  Look for sophomore Tanner Yancy to play well for Bob Rado's team.
 
The Three Ball - United (12-10)

United will look to use the three-point shot to their advantage in the postseason. Sophomore guards Collin Moore (33 made) and Luke Means (28 made) along with freshman Kyle Silk (23 made) can both knock down outside shots.  Hot shooting is one way to win in the postseason, and if the Lions are hot, they will be tough to beat. 


The Second Sleeper - Blairsville 4-17

You could look at Blairsville's record and not expect much, and that is totally fair.  Still, they are a dangerous team.  On the right night, they can steal a game from someone. They hold wins over United and Purchase Line this season. Geoff Helm and Matt Jackson are two talented guards that can score. They also aren't short either, and can cause matchup problems for smaller defenders.  You are what your record says you are, but I wouldn't look at the Bobcats as only a four win team, they do have some skill. 


The Spiral - Portage 9-13

After a 6-0 start, the Mustangs have been in a downward spiral to close out the year.  Although many of their problems are out of their control, as injuries have really taken hold of the season.  Still, Travis Kargo does a good job with this program, and they'll be ready to play in the postseason.  They'll host Conemaugh Valley, a team they beat twice this season. 


The Underdog - Conemaugh Valley 5-15

There have not been many bright spots for the Jays this season. Although with a young team, this playoff experience should help in future seasons. The backcort of sophomore Bryce McCleester and senior Zack Kent are the kets for this team.  They must face off with conference rival Portage in the first round, a team that only beat them by seven a few weeks ago.  


The Picks
(8) Portage over (9) Conemaugh Valley 
(7) United over (10) Blairsville

(1) Bishop McCort over (8) Portage
(4) Purchase Line over (5) Penns Manor
(2) Moshannon Valley over (7) United
(3) Bishop Guilfoyle over (6) Homer Center

(1) Bishop McCort over (4) Purchase Line
(3) Bishop Guilfoyle over (2) Moshannon Valley

(2) Moshannon Valley over (3) Purchase Line (Consolation)

(1) Bishop McCort over (3) Bishop Guilfoyle 

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