The Bellwood-Antis High School girls basketball team worked all year to get a high seed when the District 6 playoffs rolled around, and, with 12 straight wins, the Lady Blue Devils achieved that goal.
Along with the second seed in the Class AA girls bracket, though, also comes the potential for a quarterfinal-round meeting with Central, the last team to beat Bellwood this season.
The Lady Devils aren't the only team to find itself in that position. The brackets District 6 basketball chairman T.J. Kakabar unveiled on Monday afternoon for Class AAA, AA and A revealed a number of rematches and possible rematches: four opening-round contests and potentially eight in the AA and A quarterfinals involve teams in the same league or conference. That doesn't even include the Bellwood and Central girls, who played in a holiday tournament game won by the Lady Dragons by 17 points.
The playoffs open next Monday with six games at three sites.
The only two teams entered in Class AAA girls, Tyrone and Hollidaysburg, already played earlier this season and faced off in last year's semifinals - Hollidaysburg, the lower seed in this year's playoffs, prevailed in both of those meetings. Meanwhile, the three-team Class AAA boys field is likely to result in an all-Laurel Highlands Conference Section 2 matchup between top-ranked Johnstown and second-ranked Somerset.
The Class AAAA seedings and pairings will be released next week. District 5 is set to announce its official pairings on Sunday.
Four area teams will enter the postseason as top seeds. Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic, seeking a sixth straight district title and a return to the state finals, are the top-ranked team in Class A girls. Tyrone is seeded first in two brackets - Class AAA girls and Class AA boys. Northern Cambria, which finished runner-up last year, is the No. 1 team in Class A boys this time around.
In addition to the Bellwood girls, five other area squads also received top-four seeds: The Hollidaysburg girls are second (Class AAA), the Bishop Guilfoyle boys (Class A), Bellwood-Antis boys (Class AA) and Portage girls (Class A) are each third and the Williamsburg boys (Class A) are a fourth seed.
The BG and Williamsburg boys and Portage girls all drew intriguing first-round matchups with other teams from within the Mirror coverage area. Williamsburg will play Inter-County Conference rival Glendale, with which it split a pair of regular season meetings, while BG faces Juniata Valley. Portage opens with neighboring Claysburg-Kimmel, although those schools play in different leagues and didn't cross paths this season.
The Guilfoyle girls, Tyrone boys, Bellwood boys and Northern Cambria boys might face a team they've already played this season when they start playoff competition later next week. Both Penn Cambria teams will take on opponents with which they are familiar in their Class AA playoff openers, while both Bishop Carroll teams are matched up with nearby Blacklick Valley; if the Carroll boys advance, they'll play Conemaugh Valley, which they beat by one to open this season.
Central's boys and girls are among the teams that will get started early, playing a doubleheader at Central Cambria in Ebensburg on Feb. 21. Both Penn Cambria teams will be playing at that venue on Monday, Feb. 20. The Carroll teams will be in action in a twinbill next Monday at Richland High School.
The district championship games are slated for Feb. 29-March 3. For a schedule and seedings, please see Scoreboard, Page B5.