Area produces 7 No. 1 seeds in District 6

There are seven teams from the Altoona Mirror coverage are that are top seeds for the upcoming District 6 high school basketball playoffs, and the 20-2 Bellwood-Antis girls, a state finalist last year, are not among that group.

In fact, the Lady Blue Devils aren’t even seeded second or third in a loaded D6-2A field.

District 6 unveiled the seeding and pairings for its tournament on Wednesday afternoon, showing the Altoona girls, Hollidaysburg boys, Bishop Guilfoyle boys and Central girls as the top-rated teams in Class 6A, 5A, 2A and 3A respectively in their tournament brackets.

The Huntingdon boys (4A) Juniata Valley boys (1A) and Bishop Carroll girls (1A) also enter the tournament — which opens on Monday with three games — as No. 1 seeds.

Notably, the Carroll girls are seeded first over Juniata Valley, which avenged a D6-1A championship loss to the Lady Huskies in last year’s PIAA semifinals with five underclassmen starting. The Lady Huskies enter this year’s playoffs with one loss and the Lady Hornets have two, but Carroll was helped to the top seed also because District 6 did away with the bonus points based on opponents’ winning percentage that used to be figured into seeding formula. Teams now just get a set number of points for winning a game and added points based on the classification of the defeated opponent.

While that wouldn’t have changed the rankings in 1A girls, it might have impacted Bellwood. The Lady Devils, led by all-state sophomore and Division I recruiting target Alli Campbell, just happened to be in a class with several other teams with similar records who defeated larger schools. As a result, B-A is likely to find itself matched with No. 1 seed Blairsville in the semifinals and will have one of the more challenging quarterfinal-round opponents, Homer-Center.

Teams in girls Class 2A need to win to reach qualify for the state tournament.

Both Altoona teams will have at least two more games. As part of an agreement between District 6 and Class 6A subregional partners District 8 and District 10, the victor of the D6 final automatically qualifies for the state tourney, while the runner-up gets a second chance to advance if it can beat the team that comes out of those other two districts. The Mountain Lions and Lady Lions have byes into the District 6 championship game.

The Altoona girls are seeded first and will take on the winner of State College and Mifflin County on Feb. 23 at Penn State Altoona, the first time that venue is being used for District 6 playoff games. The Altoona boys play top-seeded State College there in the nightcap, and the Hollidaysburg boys will play there in the boys 5A title game the following afternoon, perhaps as part of a tripleheader that also might include the Hollidaysburg girls.

The Bishop Guilfoyle boys, meanwhile, will be hoping to put a loss in last year’s championship game behind them in Class 2A boys. The Marauders’ target destination is Mount Aloysius College, which will be the site for six championship games Feb. 28-March 2.

The higher-seeded teams will host games leading into the finals.

The District 5 bracket will be released on Sunday.