Jeff Anastasia, the winningest scholastic boys basketball coach in Western New York history, has guided Olean to nine Section VI boys basketball championships the past 10 years. Maryvale's Mark Kensy has led his program to at least the semifinal round of the tournament 11 times the past 14 years.
Only one of those gentlemen will get to coach in a game during the Championship Week lineup at Buffalo State this season.
That's because their respective teams must go through each other on a big quarterfinal-round Friday in Western New York.
Both tournaments begin with first-round games Tuesday. Higher seeds host unless their respective gyms do not meet Section VI postseason guidelines.
The boys championship games are set for March 3-4 at Jamestown Community College and Buffalo State Sports Arena, while the same venues host the girls March 4-5. Overall Section VI finals in Classes A, B and C are March 7-8.
The Class A-2 boys' bracket perhaps qualifies as this year's gauntlet of the tournament.
While three teams that either shared or won division titles outright secured the top three seeds – two teams that are no strangers to making it to the Buffalo State Sports Arena portion of the event will play for the right make it to the venue when fifth seed Maryvale visits No. 4 Olean on quarterfinal Friday.
That's an in-season rematch as Maryvale (13-7) beat the Huskies (18-2) on its home court in overtime, 59-54, in December. Olean (18-2), last year's Class B state champion, has won 15 in a row and avenged its only other defeat of the season to Chautauqua Lake. The Huskies also captured their division title.
The top seed in the bracket is Amherst (17-3), which shared ECIC II title with Class A-1 top seed and defending Section VI champion Williamsville South (17-3).
Cheektowaga (13-7), which shared the ECIC III crown with Class B-1 top seed East Aurora (17-3), is the No. 2 seed in A-2 with Yale Cup I champion South Park No. 3.
"It is something," Flyers coach Mark Kensy said of the depth of quality teams in Class A-2. "Amherst is playing very well and Cheektowaga I think they're playing their best basketball (of the season). Then you throw in South Park, Olean and us. ... Lake Shore is playing everybody well. They were six seconds awayy from beating East Aurora."
Cheektowaga hosts the winner of No. 7 Lewiston-Porter vs. No. 10 Kenmore East at 7 p.m. Friday. All eyes will be on Dominick Welch in that one. He needs 49 points to break the Western New York all-time career-points record. He is coming off a school-record setting 51-point effort in Thursday's win over Depew.
Should Welch not get the 49 he needs to pass Ritchie Campbell on Friday but the Warriors win, he will resume his quest during Championship Week at the Buffalo State Sports Arena on March 1 in the finale of a semifinal tripleheader slated for an 8:15 p.m. start time.
Other teams to earn No. 1 seeds on the boys side include Jamestown (Class AA), Medina (Class B-2), Chautauqua Lake (Class C-1), Randolph (Class C-2) and Clymer (Class D).
When coin flips came up heads, Jamestown and Ellicottville were the big winners. Jamestown earned the top seed that way after finishing with the same number of power points as fellow ECIC I champion, No. 2 seed Lancaster, in AA. Ellicottville is the No. 2 seed in Class D while Franklinville is No. 3.
On the girls side, the No. 1 seeds are Clarence (Class AA), Williamsville South (Class A-1), Kenmore East (A-2), Depew (B-1), Olmsted (B-2), Allegany/Limestone (C-1), East (C-2) and Franklinville (D).
Other items of note:
-- Only one school had its boys and girls teams each earn a No. 1 seed. That's Williamsville South. The Billies boys reached the state semifinals last year in Class A, while the girls won their second straight Class A-1 sectional title. South's girls won the state title two years ago but lost in the overall Class A Section VI final last year to Lake Shore (19-1), which is the No. 2 seed in Class A-2.
-- Call it a case of coin-toss touche. Ellicottville's boys won their coin flip to break a tie for a better seed with Franklinville. On the girls side, Franklinville won the toss with Ellicottville to determine the No. 1 seed in Class D.
-- With only six teams in Class D bracket, Ellicottville winning the coin flip means it has extra time to prepare for perhaps a familiar foe.
Ellicottville and third-seeded Franklinville teams split their regular-season meetings and are a combined 31-7 heading into the postseason. Franklinville has lost four games total with Burgard of the Yale Cup, a Class B-1 school, edging the Panthers twice (by three and two points) and private school Archbishop Walsh beating them by three.
The Eagles and No. 1 Clymer each received byes into the semifinals.
-- On the boys side, six schools opted out of the tournament, but one of them is defending Section VI champion Panama. The Panthers went 3-17 following a season in which they reached the state Class D state semifinals. They graduated five senior starters from last year's lineup.
-- Fourteen schools opted out of the girls tournament.