With the conference championships in our rear-view mirrors, the district basketball playoffs in 5 and 6 get underway this week.
District 6 opens this evening with doubleheaders at four different sites.
In District 5, action begins Thursday with four first-round Class A boys’ games and a pair of Class AA girls’ semifinals. All games are set for 7 p.m.
WestPAC champion Shade (22-1) is the defending Class A boys’ champion and the top seed for the playoffs. The Panthers will host No. 8 McConnellsburg. On the other side of the bracket, Shanksville-Stonycreek is the second seed and plays host to No. 7 Forbes Road. The other two pairings have No. 5 Rockwood at fourth-seeded Berlin and No. 6 Fannett-Metal at No. 3 Hope for Hyndman.
The semifinals are set for Feb. 26 with the final at Pitt-Johnstown on March 1.
The Class AA girls’ semifinals are also slated for Thursday and there will be a new champ this year because Conemaugh Township, the reigning champion, is now in Class A.
Everett, the top seed, hosts No. 4 North Star and third-seeded Windber plays at second-seeded Tussey Mountain.
The championship is also March 1 at UPJ.
On Friday in District 5, four first-round matchups in Class A girls are set with top-seeded and defending champion Southern Fulton hosting Fannett-Metal while second-seeded Berlin hosts No. 7 McConnellsburg. The other pairings are No. 6 Shade at third-seeded Conemaugh Township and No. 5 Meyersdale at fourth-seeded Northern Bedford. The semifinals are Feb. 27 and the finals are March 2 at UPJ.
Also on Friday, the Class AA boys have first-round games. Top-seeded and defending champ Conemaugh Township and second-seeded Northern Bedford receive byes. The other games feature No. 6 Windber at third-seeded Chestnut Ridge and No. 5 Southern Fulton at No. 4 Tussey Mountain. The semifinals are Feb. 27 with the title games at UPJ on March 2.
Milestone moments: Richland boys’ basketball coach Greg Burke’s brother, Gary, is the boys’ hoops coach at Lakeview High School near Erie.
Gary Burke, in his 13th season with the Sailors, reached the 200-win mark last week when Lakeview defeated Sharpsville, 71-49.
In addition, the Sailors also have two 1,000-point scorers on the team this year, 6-foot-1 senior forward Dalton Boggs and 6-6 senior forward Casey Greggs.
The Burke’s brothers played basketball for Windber.
19 and counting: There were four more area athletes to top the 1,000-point mark this past week - Ferndale senior Elizabeth Chobany, Richland junior Kyle Flick, Somerset senior Brent Barron and Blacklick Valley senior Johnny Sheesley - bringing the count to 19 this season.
Breaking down what a player has to score each game to reach the grand, figure that a player is in 22 games a season or 88 regular-season games during a career. That means a player must average around 11.4 points a game for his or her career, unless a team is fortunate enough to make its way into prolonged postseason play, which would give him or her more chances to score points.
You can’t have very many bad nights shooting when you are trying to reach such lofty standards.
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat.