Region’s strength resides in Class AA this season

On Friday night, the Bellwood-Antis girls defeated for Bishop Guilfoyle for the first time in what seemed like ages.

The Lady Marauders don’t lose many regular season games, so this was pretty notable just from that standpoint.

This, though, was the BG girls’ second loss in half a season. It might not be so much a reflection of the Lady Marauders not being up to their typical level as it is something else: Both of those losses have come to Class AA opponents, in fact the two teams that played for the District 6 championship in that classification last year, Bellwood and Blairsville.

The fact is that double-A has been Grade A in 2013-14.

It’s hard to argue that Class AA basketball has been by far the best in the area this season. Sure, the Bishop Carroll and Bishop Guilfoyle boys might be the two best teams, and they’re both in Class A, but, for overall depth and top-to-bottom quality, Class AA looks far-and-away stronger than the rest of the classes combined.

While it can be a struggle to find teams to fill the Mirror Fab Five rankings in Class AAAA-AAA and Class A, it’s not a stretch to say the Class AA rankings could very easily have been extended to eight or nine teams without much problem, not just because the teams seem so close, but they are worthy and would have been worthy of ranking in other seasons.

The Penns Valley boys, Northern Bedford boys, Conemaugh Township boys, Windber boys, Blairsville boys, Tyrone girls, Penn Cambria girls, North Star girls, Juniata girls and Marion Center girls are a combined 100-26 this season. Want to know what they all have in common? They are all Class AA teams that aren’t listed in this week’s Mirror rankings.

In fact, of those 10 schools, only the Penns Valley boys have been in the Mirror Fab Five yet.

You could make a case that any of them should be listed, in a vacuum. But it’s hard to make a stronger case for them than the teams that already are in there. Bishop McCort boys are only ranked third, and they’ve dominated the 6-AA scene for the last few years, but they are stuck looking up at 11-1 Bald Eagle Area, which has a pair of wins over Class AAAA opponents and several more over Class AAA foes, and Richland, which defeated Guilfoyle by more than 30 points.

Penns Valley boys lost by eight last Monday at Tyrone for the Rams’ first setback of the year. That was enough to knock them out of the top five, considering they only won by three at home to a Central team playing without Austin Cunningham that has since beaten Tyrone.

It will be a lot of fun watching the next four weeks to see how the seedings eventually play out, because matchups could mean so much more when these teams begin playing for district gold.

Cmor can be reached at 946-7440 or