Friday, February 20, 2015

D6SN 2015 Boys AAA Basketball Playoff Preview

The Favorite - Hollidaysburg

Hollidaysburg enters the AAA playoffs as the two seed,  but they are still the presumable favorites to win the district six championship.  They played a more challenging schedule than anyone else, and the Golden Tigers responded with a 15-7 record. Brad Lear is a first year head coach, but immediately turned things around from a 6-15 mark last year.  Hollidaysburg is pegged with Johnstown in the first round, a team they handled by 39 points earlier in the year.

The Challenger  - Somerset

Somerset is out to defend their title, and there is an excellent chance of that happening. The Golden Eagles have a first round bye and enter the playoffs as hot as anyone with a ten game winning streak and a 19-3 overall record. Scott Close's team ended up being named the co-champions of the Laurel Highlands and it was rightfully deserved.  The guard oriented attack from Somerset will be tough to defend as Jake Heiple and Dyan Barnes are as good as they come in district six.

The Dark Horse - Huntingdon

The Huntingdon Bearcats made it to the AAA title game last season, and played Somerset very tough, but ultimately lost by seven points.  If they can duplicate that same kind of game plan, they may be able to give the top seed some trouble again.  Huntingdon has some good athletes size with guys like Kobren Frederick and Nate Gearhart.  This is an experienced team and may catch fire at the right time.

The Unknown - Johnstown

It's hard to know which Johnstown team will show up for these playoffs. It could be the team that looked dominant at times this season, or the one that got dominated by Hollidaysburg and Westmont.  Johnstown has some talent, but will be without their leading scorer going into the postseason. The Trojans will need to rely on their athleticism and senior leadership for the rematch against Hollidaysburg. This team has ability, but entering the postseason with some adversity and two straight losses is concerning.

The Long shot - Bellefonte

The Bellefonte Red Raiders enter the playoffs as the fifth and bottom seed in the AAA playoffs, and there is no doubt they are a step below the other four teams. An 8-14 record may not seem like much, but that's more wins than this program had the past two seasons combined. It was a nice turnaround for Bellefonte, and the playoff experience should be good for their younger guys in their program. They played Huntingdon tough once this regular season, so they can go into this first round game with nothing to lose.

The Picks 

(4) Huntingdon over (5) Bellefonte

(1) Somerset over (4) Huntingdon
(2) Hollidaysburg over (3) Johnstown

(1) Somerset over (2) Hollidaysburg

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