The Favorites - Bishop Carroll
I mean could it really be anyone else? The Huskies enter the postseason with a 21-1 record and have been ranked in the top ten of the state all year long. BC knocked off AAA favorites, Hollidaysburg to close out the year emphatically last week. They are paced by all-state guard Brandon Martinazzi, who is the best player in the bracket. Cosie Aliquo's team is very guard-oriented and they Huskies will give their opponents relentless pressure and score plenty of points off their full-court press. Not many teams will be able to match Carroll's combination of effort and skill in a playoff setting.
The Challenger - Homer-Center
The Homer-Center Wildcats enter the playoffs champions of the Heritage Conference and they own a gaudy 20-2 record. Homer was able to hand a very good Blairsville team two losses, and not many people expected that. Homer has been as consistent as anyone in class A for some time now, and they are ready to make another run to a district final. Homer has the best chance of anyone to de-throne the mighty Bishop Carroll Huskies
The Dark Horse - Bishop Guilfoyle
Other than Homer-Center, Bishop Guilfoyle may be the only team with a chance to take down Bishop Carroll. You have to look deeper than their 8-13 record and their 9 seed, but just a few weeks ago they took Carroll to the wire. The Marauders have typically played Bishop Carroll tough over the past three seasons and they have the recipe to take down the Huskies others seem to can't figure out. We know this group has athletes, given that they are the state football champs. We will find out right away, as this is projected to be BC's first opponent, provided Guilfoyle can beat Williamsburg in the opening round.
The Buzz - Ferndale
There is a buzz around the Ferndale basketball program, and they have been one of the hottest teams the past month. We know about Ray Hinton and how good of a player he is, but we are starting to see some capable players emerge beyond him. Ferndale is believing right now, and coach Ryan Durham is doing a heck of a job there. They open with a tough Saltsburg team in the 4/5 game, but Ferndale is more than capable of moving onto the semifinals.
The Forgotten - Portage
Not a lot of people are talking about the third seeded Mustangs, and that may be just how the boys from Portage like it. Portage is coming into the playoffs with a very good 17-5 record and they are working on one of their better seasons in recent history. Michael Bryja is a dynamic player and the senior is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Not many teams in this playoff field have an answer for an athletic 6'5" forward like him.
The Deeper Sleeper - Moshannon Valley
Moshannon Valley is a dangerous 11-11 six seed, and could definitely give Portage some trouble in the opening round. The Knights have played a good schedule and played some quality teams very tough and have given them some problems. So even despite the record, this team will be battle tested and ready to play in a postseason setting.
The New Guys - Saint Joseph's
Saint Joe's is back in the postseason for the second time in a row. The school is only in it's second year of operation, but they are growing. The Wolves went out and played a daring schedule. St Joe's played a lot of playoff quality teams, and may be able to steal a game over Glendale in the first round.
The Longshot - Williamsburg
Williamsburg has a daunting task to make any noise this postseason. They are scheduled with Bishop Guilfoyle in the 8/9 game, and if they make it out of that one, well it's the top dog, Bishop Carroll. The Pirates will not be intimidated by Bishop Guilfoyle in that opener, and they will play with a chip on their shoulder. Look for it to be a competitive game.
The Slide - Saltsburg
At one time, Saltsburg looked like a challenger for a top spot. After a 9-5 start. the Trojans crawl into a playoffs with just an 11-10 mark. They are going in the opposite direction of their first round opponent, Ferndale, who has been very hot lately. Still, it is the playoffs and you never now how things will play out.
The Big Man - Glendale
It seems Glendale got hot at the right time and have won five of their last six games. They have a dominating force that could cause some problems in this postseason. Big Shea O'Donnell is a beast of a player checking in at 6'5" 235. He has posted 17 double-doubles this season and is the main reason why this team has done anything this year. If one player can carry a lower seed to some upset victories, it would be this kid.
(9) Bishop Guilfoyle over (8) Williamsburg
(7) Glendale over (10) Saint Joseph's Academy
(1) Bishop Carroll over (9) Bishop Guilfoyle
(4) Ferndale over (5) Saltsburg
(2) Homer-Center over (7) Glendale
(3) Portage over (6) Moshannon Valley
(1) Bishop Carroll over (4) Ferndale
(2) Homer-Center over (3) Portage
(4) Ferndale over (3) Portage in consolation
(1) Bishop Carroll over (2) Homer-Center