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Quarterfinal trip to Jamestown is worth it

JAMESTOWN -- Last year I tried seeing as many Section VI boys basketball quarterfinals as I could in one day. This year, there was only one doubleheader, which would have made it very tough to get around to several games. Meanwhile, there were a handful of high-quality games worth taking in. So this year we picked one for me to go to and report on. We picked a good one.

Carlos Rivera missed the first free throw with 4.4 seconds left, but made the second to give Jamestown a 62-61 victory over visiting Riverside.

Rivera went to the line on a foul call which was certainly worth questioning. From where I was sitting (midcourt near the scorer's table), it appeared the Riverside defender had his hand on the ball and not enough body to warrant a call, especially a game-deciding one in the playoffs.

However, Riverside shouldn't blame its loss on the call, nor did it. Coach Ron Killinger disagreed with the foul, but rightly said that his team shouldn't have allowed itself to be put in that position. The Frontiers had a five-point lead in the late moments but turned the ball over twice.

This game is also sure to raise the issue of Section VI's seeding system, which is debated nearly every year.

Riverside was ranked among the top 10 large schools all season long but its power points rating was hurt because it is the only Class AA team in the Yale Cup; that made it a No. 5 seed and gave it one of the toughest road trips -- if not the toughest -- in Section VI. Jamestown, the No. 4 seed, has an outstanding student section of "Raider Rowdies" (they also go by the moniker "Event Staff" for the white t-shirts they wear), plus, the Red Raiders have been on a nice uptick to end the season -- they knocked off both Frontier and Williamsville North at home.

I'd like to see the seeding system tweaked, but that's a whole other blog. Having the seedings out of human hands is a good thing, to avoid controversy. With things somehow having to be based on school sizes, I'm not sure if Riverside's situation would be much better if a different system was in place -- being the only AA school in a large league like the Yale Cup will provide difficulties no matter what.

Here's a look at the results and box scores from Friday night's action.

Can't say I'm surprised to see Sweet Home win when the lights are brightest. ... How about the postseason run for Hutch-Tech? ... Some impressive wins by the A-2 final four: Depew, Lafayette, Lackawanna and East. ... Akron goes OT to beat Alden in its third shot at them this year. ... Didn't somebody write that Gowanda was a sleeper? ... And a nice win for Frewsburg.

Check out Saturday's Buffalo News for more on the Jamestown-Riverside game as well as all the key quarterfinals. And there will be plenty more to come here.

---Keith McShea

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