The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 3, 2013

Road to state is never easy

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The most thankless job in the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association is setting brackets for the small school basketball tournaments.

Someone is always upset over having to travel too far or the pairings themselves.

Has any coach ever said,  “We’re in the easiest area’’?

Unlike 5A and 6A, the tournament officials don’t have the option of separating girls and boys teams. This is a prime year for Class B girls in our area. They have to be separated some way.

Here’s a look at the top 20 teams in our area to see how good of a shake they got from the brackets:

Pond Creek-Hunter, No. 6, Class A girls: The Lady Panthers are projected to play No. 9 New Lima in the regional finals at Agra.

On the other side of the bracket are No. 3 Frontier, No. 11 Stonewall, No. 18 Davenport and No. 20 Olive. Frontier beat PC-H in last year’s area finals.

The Lady Panthers have to travel to Stroud for the area instead of going to nearby Chisholm Trail Expo Center Coliseum. Pond Creek-Hunter, though, was 0-2 at the Expo last season.

Seiling, No. 13 and Garber, No. 19, Class A girls: The Lady Wildcats and Lady Wolverines have only two other ranked teams in Area I. However, they are No. 1-ranked Okarche and No. 7 Cheyenne-Reydon.

Seiling and Cheyenne-Reydon are projected to meet in one regional final and Okarche and Garber in the other. If Garber can reach the area, it should benefit from playing close to home in the Coliseum. Waukomis, which reached the area a year ago, could be a roadblock for Garber in the regional semifinals.

Pond Creek-Hunter, No. 11 and Drummond, No. 12, Class A boys: Pond Creek-Hunter is projected to play No. 5 New Lima in the regional finals.

Drummond is projected to play No. 2 Glencoe in the regional finals. That could be an interesting matchup since  Glencoe coach John Lazenby once coached the Bulldogs.

Garber, No. 16 and Seiling No. 17, Class A boys: Seiling is projected to play No. 4 Cheyenne-Reydon in the regional finals.

Garber is on the same side of the regional bracket with No. 9 Okarche and No. 8-ranked Laverne. The Wolverines are projected to play Laverne in the regional semifinals.

Lomega, No. 2 Class B girls: The defending state champion Lady Raiders will have to go to Paden for a regional semifinal, Ada for a regional final and Kingston for the area.

Lomega is projected to play No. 12 Midway in the regional final. No. 3 Red Oak, No. 14 Whitesboro and No. 18 Pittsburg are on the other side of the Area IV bracket. Lomega beat Red Oak in last year’s area finals.

Burlington, No. 4, Timberlake, No. 6 and Deer Creek-Lamont, No. 8, Class B: Timberlake and No. 16 Bluejacket are projected to play in the regional finals.

Burlington and DCLA are projected to meet in the other regional final. DCLA beat Burlington in last year’s area losers bracket finals and lost to Timberlake in the area finals. All three teams are used to traveling. They have to go to Cleveland for the area tournament.

Burlington boys, Class B:  The Elks, who reached the state tournament a year ago, are projected to play No. 9-ranked Mulhall-Orlando in the regional finals. Mulhall-Orlando eliminated Timberlake in last year’s area tournament.The other side of the bracket has No. 6 Coyle, a traditional power.

Deer Creek-Lamont, which has played well in the playoffs the past few years, is on Burlington’s side of the bracket in the regionals. The Eagles are projected to play Mulhall-Orlando in the regional semifinals.

Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.