McKinley considers the Buffalo State College Sports Arena as its home away from home.
In order for the Macks to get a chance to play at BSC during the Section VI boys basketball tournament, the perennial title contender will have to take a slightly longer road than usual just to get to Championship Week in Class A-1.
The seeding for the boys and girls basketball playoffs was unveiled Saturday during the section's annual mid-February meeting at Erie/BOCES.
While West Seneca West (20-0) earned a nice reward for its unbeaten regular season by securing the No. 1 seed in Class A-1 in the boys tournament, the same can't be said for Franklinville's girls who also ran the 20-0 table but enters Class D as a No. 2 seed behind two-time defending state runner-up Panama.
Power points amassed during the season determine playoff seeding. Both tournaments begin Tuesday night. Girls quarterfinals are scheduled for Thursday, while the boys take place Friday.
Other top seeds among the boys are defending champion Niagara Falls (Class AA), Maryvale (A-2), Lackawanna (B-1), Middle Early College (B-2), Randolph (C) and East (D).
Defending Class B champion Health Sciences is a No. 4 seed in Class B-2, the same as last year. Defending Class A champion North Tonawanda is a four seed in A-1. Chautauqua Lake is the defending Class C champion and also a No. 4 seed.
The top seeds for the girls tournament are Orchard Park (Class AA), Williamsville South (A-1), East Aurora (A-2), Newfane (B-1), Olmsted (B-2), Holland (C) and Panama (D). Defending sectional champions are Clarence (AA), Amherst (A), Williamsville South (A-1), Fredonia (B), Wilson (B-2), Frewsburg (C), Chautauqua Lake (C-1) and Panama (D).
McKinley streak: The McKinley boys have reached Championship Week in each of coach Zaire Dorsey's 18 seasons (including his time as an assistant coach). The Macks have a tougher road to get there, as they earned a No. 6 seed in a loaded Class A-1 bracket. That's McKinley's lowest seed in the tournament since 2011, when the Macks were seeded sixth in Class AA.
McKinley hosts a pre-quarterfinal game Wednesday against Kenmore East. A win secures a road trip to No. 3 Sweet Home on Quarterfinal Friday. The Panthers' only losses came against the three Williamsville schools – including South twice, and North Tonawanda.
Can the Macks extend their run of Championship Week appearances?
"It'll be interesting to see if we can do it," Dorsey said.
Time shift: For safety reason, the Class AA boys final on March 3 was moved from its traditional time slot of 8:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The top two seeds in Class AA are Falls and Lockport. The two Niagara Frontier League rivals have been playing afternoon games against each other since early 2017 because fans from both schools got into an ugly postgame brawl in Lockport -- a melee that began in the gym and carried out into the school parking lot. After police seemingly ended the fight, a carryover incident in which someone -- according to a Niagara Gazette story -- reportedly fired guns shots occurred at a nearby gas station.
The time shift means the AA final will be the last of three games that are part of the afternoon session on Championship Saturday. The Class A-2 and A-1 finals serve as the two-game evening session. Tickets for each of the sessions cost $6 as the arena will be cleared out following the Class AA final.
Coin flips: For the boys: A flip of the coin gave Randolph the top seed in Class C over Allegany-Limestone. The coin toss also resolved a three-way tie for the No. 3 seed in B-1 with Medina earning No. 3, Newfane No. 4 and MST Seneca No. 5. Jamestown won the toss against Clarence to host their AA quarterfinal. Franklinville won the flip against Ellicottville to take the No. 3 seed in Class D.
On the girls side: In Class AA, Jamestown won the flip against Clarence for the No. 5 seed. Sweet Home is the No. 11 seed in Class A-1 , West Seneca West is 12th. In Class A-2, the No. 3 seed went to Lake Shore, leaving Iroquois fourth. In Class C, Salamanca won the No. 12 seed over Cassadaga Valley.
Opting out: Boys teams that chose not to participate in the postseason: Barker, Falconer and Catt./Little Valley. Girls teams opting out of the tournament: Burgard, da Vinci, East, Falconer, Forestville, Global Concepts, Lackawanna, Lafayette, Oracle and Riverside.