The Section VI postseason begins tonight with first round games, and the winners move on to participate in the pre-quarterfinal games played on Wednesday. Friday night is when the action really kicks up, as 32 quarterfinal games will decide which teams move on to Buffalo State and JCC for the semifinals.
Below I take a look at some of the best matchups we could potentially see in the pre-quarterfinals, quarterfinals, semifinals, and even the championship games. There's also my thoughts on the biggest favorite and the most competitive brackets, along with some winning streaks and predictions.
Top 6 Pre-Quarterfinal Games (Wed. 2/20)
6. Class A2 Starpoint vs. Riverside ** At McKinley
5. Class B1 Tonawanda vs. Burgard ** At MST Seneca
4. Class B2 City Honors vs. Emerson ** At Hutch-Tech
3. Class B1 Alden vs. Lafayette ** At McKinley
2. Class C1 Allegany-Limestone @ Salamanca
1. Class AA Lancaster @ North Tonawanda
Top 6 Quarterfinal Games (Fri. 2/22)
6. Class B2 Roy-Hart @ Cleveland Hill
5. Class B2 Akron @ Fredonia
4. Class AA Kenmore West @ Williamsville North
3. Class AA Lockport @ Clarence
2. Class B1 Newfane @ Maryvale
1. Class B1 Depew @ Lackawanna
Most likely Quarterfinal upsets
(5) Hutch-Tech @ (4) Hamburg - It seems like every season, the Engineers are a tough large school that finishes behind the elite large schools of the Yale Cup, ending up with a lower seed and a road game in the quarterfinals, before advancing to Buffalo State for the semifinals. Why sould this year be any exception?
(7) Cheektowaga @ (2) Iroquois - The Chiefs biggest obstacle to reaching the Class A2 final might occur before they even reach Buffalo State. Cheektowaga benefits from playing in ECIC III, where they've faced teams similar to Iroquois all season. I like the Chiefs to pull it out and grace us with their presence on the big stage, but don't be surprised if the Warriors find their way back to Buffalo State, where they seem to wind up year after year.
(5) Lake Shore @ (4) South Park - It's a shame that the seedings fell in a way that these two must face each other now, rather than in the semifinals. Instead, Lew-Port is a three seed and hosting a quarterfinal. Both schools bounced back nicely from a series of down years to make some noise on the hoops scene. Both schools also have a player that can fill it up - Tyrell Mitchell for the Sparks and Clark Brueckl for the Eagles.
(6) Pioneer @ (3) Lew-Port - The Panthers boast a large lineup that could present a problem for the Lancers. Lew-Port is coming off an 11-point loss to Grand Island.
(5) Tapestry Charter @ (4) Randolph - Both teams have faced the best in Class C this season and are battle tested. Tapestry has the ability to go into Randolph and steal the win, as evidenced by road wins this season against MST Seneca and Roy-Hart.
(6) Barker @ (3) Holland - A battle between teams led by talented underclassmen, sophomore Clay Lewis for the Dutchmen and junior Jake Haight for the Raiders. Holland ended the year on a three-game skid with lopsided losses to Lackawanna, Cleveland Hill, and MST Seneca, so its confidence may not be where it needs to be for the postseason. Conversely, Barker won three of its last five, and the two losses were a five-point decision to CSAT and a one-point heartbreaker to Roy-Hart.
Biggest Favorites to win a Sectional
3. Class A1 - McKinley
2. Class A2 - Amherst
1. Class B1 - Olean
Most likely to avance to Glens Falls
Class B - Olean
Best Brackets top-to-bottom
Class AA & Class B2
Most exciting potential semifinal matchups
4. Class A1 - Williamsville South vs. McKinley
3. Class AA - Clarence vs. Jamestown
2. Class AA - Williamsville North vs. Niagara Falls
1. Class B2 - East vs. Cleveland Hill
Most exciting potential championship matchups
Class D - Brocton vs. Sherman
Class C2 - Maple Grove vs. Silver Creek
Class C1 - Oracle Charter vs. Middle College
Class AA - Niagara Falls vs. Jamestown
Winning Streaks heading into Sectionals
Class C2 Silver Creek - 18 games
Class C1 Oracle Charter - 17 games
Class C2 Maple Grove - 16 games
Class A2 Amherst - 16 games
Class B2 CSAT - 13 games
Class D Brocton - 11 games
Class B1 Olean - 10 games (Huskies have won 35 straight vs. public schools)
Class AA - Niagara Falls
Class A1 - McKinley
Class A2 - Amherst
Class B1 - Olean
Class B2 - East
Class C1 - Oracle Charter
Class C2 - Silver Creek
Class D - Sherman