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Brackets set for postseason high school hoops showdowns

Section VI brass spent Saturday morning dotting the final I’s and crossing the last T’s as the committee unveiled the official brackets for the boys and girls basketball tournaments during its annual meeting.

The only real drama at Erie I BOCES in West Seneca was the flip of the coin determining the top seed in the girls Class AA bracket as Williamsville North won the tiebreaker from defending champion Jamestown after the two split their regular-season meetings and finished with the same number of power points.

The Spartans captured the teams’ first meeting by a point back in January, but the Red Raiders won at North earlier this month.

“It doesn’t really matter,” Spartans coach Bill Shaw said of the difference between being No. 1 or 2 in sectionals. “If we get to the semifinals, we’re potentially playing Lockport instead of Kenmore West. … You have to play everybody anyway.”

Or at least quality teams along the way if you want to emerge a champion in one of the 16 brackets, with tournament play beginning on Tuesday.

That’s how McKinley and Williamsville South will approach things on the boys side. Instead of being on opposite sides of the bracket and setting up a potentially juicy Championship Saturday showdown, the two Class A-1 heavyweights could essentially kickoff Buffalo State week. So long as both teams win their quarterfinal contests on a busy Friday, they will play each other in the second A-1 semifinal at 7:45 p.m. March 2. The reason? Starpoint knocked off Williamsville South last week, which likely cost the Billies a top seed.

McKinley beat South in last year’s Class A-1 final en route to winning the overall Class A title and reaching Far West Regionals. The two have played memorable games at Buff State in the past.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up with them. It’ll be a good week for high school basketball,” said McKinley coach Zaire Dorsey, who admitted he was concerned about not having the usual four days between games to prepare for the semifinals.

The only school to earn a No. 1 seed in both the boys and girls tournaments was Amherst in Class A-2.

The other top seeds in the boys tournament are Jamestown (Class AA), Niagara Frontier League co-champion North Tonawanda (Class A-1), Burgard (Class B-1), Cleveland Hill (Class B-2), Silver Creek (Class C-1), Middle College (Class C-2) and I-Prep/Grover (Class D).

Girls teams earning No. 1 seeds included Williamsville South (Class A-1), East Aurora (Class B-1), Wilson (Class B-2), Chautauqua Lake (Class C-1), Holland (Class C-2) and Panama (Class D). Chautauqua Lake is the defending state champion.

• Boys Class D No. 2 seed Sherman (19-0) has won 28 straight against Section VI competition. Sherman is the only unbeaten team in Western New York.

• Championship Saturday at Buffalo State will be divided into two sessions. Tickets to each cost $6. The first session includes the Class B-1, B-2 and A-2 finals, which begin at noon. The Sports Arena will be cleared after the A-2 final. The evening session features the A-1 and AA finals, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the semifinals cost $5.

• Last year’s boys champions: Jamestown (Class AA), McKinley (Class A-1), Cheektowaga (Class A-2), Olean (Class B-1), East (Class B-2), Middle College (Class C-1), Randolph (Class C-2), Sherman (Class D).

• Last year’s girls champions: Jamestown (Class AA), Williamsville South (Class A-1), East Aurora (Class A-2), Tonawanda (Class B-1), Wilson (Class B-2), Tapestry (Class C-1), Chautauqua Lake (Class C-2), Pine Valley (Class D).

• Manhattan Cup: Playoffs begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at St. Mary’s of Lancaster with the Class B play-in game between Cardinal O’Hara and Niagara Catholic. The Class A play-in game follows and features St. Joe’s versus St. Francis. Winners advance to the semifinals next Sunday, which will be played at Canisius College’s Koessler Center.

• The Monsignor Martin girls basketball Class A and B semifinals will be at the Koessler Center on Saturday with a quadruple-header of action starting at 9:30 a.m. Top-seeded Cardinal O’Hara is the defending state Federation Class A champion.