Friday, February 15, 2008

Second Round AAAA Thoughts, Plus ...

A few observations on the District One Class AAAA and Catholic League playoffs ...

1. Really big wins for Great Valley and Methacton. Many people questioned Great Valley's schedule, but the Patriots reached states with consecutive wins against North Penn and Cheltenham. Methacton reached the state tournament for the first time with a tough victory over visiting Council Rock-North.

2. Downingtown East is rolling. The Cougars haven't been in a close game since a 32-31 win over Wilson on Jan. 19. Their last seven wins have been by an average of 26.3 points. All of those victories were by at least 20 points.

3. Norristown's upset of Conestoga isn't really a shock. The Pioneers were vulnerable and the Eagles were underseeded. How did the SOL Continental not have a team seeded in the top 12 again? Norristown won. Tennent lost by only two to Spring-Ford. CR-North led Methacton in the second half and was down by three points late despite leading scorer and rebounder Sarah Kiely missing almost the entire game with foul trouble. The system needs to be reevaluated again. If you want to use the power rankings, fine. Although they are horrifically labor intensive for the people who have to calculate them. But use power rankings as one of several factors. Do I need to remind the district that there was usually only minor grumbling, if that, after the old seeding meetings? I sat in on the final one and found it very fair. The system was not broken for the girls. It is now.

4. The PCL playoffs started on Thursday with Archbishop Carroll's 64-43 win over Neumann-Goretti and Cardinal Dougherty's play-in win over St. Hubert. Tonight, Wood hosts Dougherty, Conwell-Egan hosts Archbishop Ryan, and Cardinal O'Hara hosts Archbishop Prendergast.

5. Some Bucks County PCL facts: Wood won its 12 PCL games by an average margin of 35.1 points. The Vikings scored 741 total points in 12 games and allowed 320. Wood averaged 61.8 points a game in the league and allowed an average of 26.7 points. Conwell-Egan’s 10 PCL wins were by an average of 20.3 points. The Eagles won three Catholic League games by 40 points or more. They averaged 59.2 points a game in 12 PCL games and gave up an average of 43.4 points a game.

6. The PIAA and District One need to do something to improve the quality of officiating in the girls games. I really respect the hard work and effort of the officials. But questionable calls and inconsistent officiating have too much impact on playoff games, I believe. One or two bad calls can completely change a game. It's too much of a factor, and the situation is getting worse.

7. Lower Merion is also rolling. The Aces have won 16 of 17 since Dec. 19.

8. Norristown guard Bryn Cotteta seems to be a real clutch shooter. She beat Conestoga with a last-second 3-pointer on Thursday. A few weeks ago, she hit two big 3-pointers down the stretch to beat CR-North.

9. Abington's defense and size could mean trouble for Methacton. It's going to be a close, low-scoring game. And Renee Womack was able to avoid fouls on Wednesday by jumping over CR-North rebounders when she didn't have position. She won't be able to do that against the Ghosts.

10. At 14-10 against one of the top schedules in the district, Downingtown West obviously deserved better than a No. 22 seed. The Whippets played the third-toughest schedule in the entire district. Tweaks to the power rankings must include much more credit for scheduling--and not necessarily beating--very good opponents.

11. League records in the first two rounds:
Ches-Mont Nat.5-1
SOL American4-3
SOL Continental4-4
Ches-Mont Am.2-2
SOL National3-5