Looks like the right time to take a look at postseason picture
Most of the area’s teams have played at least 11 games, meaning the regular season is more than half over.
So let’s take a peek at where the teams in the Mirror’s coverage area stand and where they might be by the time the playoffs begin.
We’ll start on the girls side where once again the most intriguing race is in Class 2A.
The field isn’t as deep this year with teams like Blairsville and Bishop McCort taking steps back, but the top four are as solid as ever.
Bellwood-Antis is at No. 1 and seems like a good bet to stay there. The Lady Blue Devils turned down an invitation to return to a national tournament they played in last year that ended up saddling them with the No. 4 seed and a tough first-round matchup with Bishop McCort that they won in overtime.
Behind B-A is Penns Manor and Bishop Guilfoyle. The Lady Marauders will have to play well against some tough competition in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference to remain ahead of Juniata Valley, which defeated BG head-to-head. The difference between being the third seed and the fourth seed is huge, considering it could mean the difference between playing Bellwood in the semifinals or the championship.
There’s another good race with some local teams in Class 3A. Cambria Heights and Tyrone have been trading the top seed back and forth, and Central looks like it could be the fourth seed. Heights is much more senior-driven than the young Lady Eagles, but that doesn’t mean they have more playing experience. A game between those two teams for a district title is both a possibility and an intriguing matchup.
A year ago, it seemed as though Portage and Hollidaysburg would get the chance to have a Part II of their back-and-forth regular season game in the District 6 Class 5A playoffs, but the Lady Mustangs were ravaged by the injury bug and didn’t make it to the final. Barring injuries, that game is much more likely to happen than not this season, and the two will be meeting for a regular season preview Saturday at Saint Francis.
Despite being the second seed in Class 1A behind Blacklick Valley, Bishop Carroll still seems to be the big favorite there, and though Bedford might make the state playoffs as the runner-up in Class 4A, Forest Hills has proven to be the Lady Bisons’ superior so far this year.
Altoona is battling Mifflin County for the No. 2 seed in 6A right now, but the Lady Lions have a stretch that should be very successful coming up. As usual, it should come down to who is better when the Lady Lions meet up with State College in the final.
The most interesting field on the boys side is shaping up to be what may serve as the Mountain League playoffs. Huntingdon, Tyrone and Central are the top three seeds, and while the Golden Eagles have beaten both the Bearcats and Dragons, they’ve looked vulnerable since New Year’s Day.
Bishop Carroll and Williamsburg have both been at No. 1 in Class 1A during the first half of the season, and a matchup between the two could be fun to watch. Both teams like to press and play defense.
Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic appears to be the prohibitive favorite in Class 2A despite the fact that starting 6-foot-6 junior Cameron Khoza will be ineligible to play in the postseason after transferring from Saint Joseph’s, though Portage could make some noise as the current No. 3 seed.
The higher classifications seem like we’ll get Hollidaysburg against Johnstown for the 5A title and Altoona against State College for the 6A championship.
Altoona has already beaten the Little Lions once, so we’ll give it the edge there. Johnstown likes to run a quick pace, and when the Golden Tigers faced that type of team in Huntingdon, the end result was not pretty. Brad Lear’s team will have to make some adjustments before February to come out on top.
Michael Boytim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 946-7521