By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
MIAMI COUNTY — In the final week before the girls basketball sectional tournament draw, plenty could still change.
Records and comments are due on Wednesday, with voting for seeds then lasting until noon on Saturday and the meetings at 2 p.m. Sunday, but in most of the sectionals — particularly in Division III — nothing is clear cut this season.
In the Division III Covington draw, there are between four and six teams that all could make a legitimate case for the No. 1 seed. Waynesville may seem like a lock with a 16-0 record and ranked No. 3 in the latest D-III state poll, but 13-3 Versailles, 13-3 Anna, 14-3 West Liberty-Salem and possibly even 15-3 Greeneview and 13-4 Miami East all have solid resumes, as well.
Versailles, which was the state runner-up last year and was ranked No. 6 in the latest D-III state poll, faced West Liberty-Salem head-to-head late Tuesday night, which could factor into some decisions. And Miami East’s Tuesday night matchup against Tri-Village — which is state-ranked in Division IV — on Tuesday could also make some waves. On Thursday, the Vikings will take on Covington, another D-IV contender, and on Saturday they took Fort Loramie — a shoe-in for the top seed in the D-IV Sidney sectional — to overtime.
Needless to say, quality teams will be getting high seeds in the D-III sectional, and with three Covington brackets to choose from, there is plenty of potential for interesting matchups.
Arcanum sits with the seventh-best record at 12-6, while Milton-Union and Preble Shawnee both own 11-5 records, Ben Logan is 11-8 and National Trail sits at 10-8, giving the draw 11 out of 20 teams with double-digit wins and 14 teams — Bethel is 9-9, Greenon is 9-7 and Indian Lake is 9-8 — with .500-or-better records. Needless to say, getting to this year’s district final in Division III is going to be a tall task.
• Division I
The Troy Trojans and Piqua Indians both head into the the Division I Dayton sectional draw with 11-5 records — far better than last year for both when Troy was the No. 11 seed and Piqua the No. 16 seed. And while Troy’s schedule has been slightly tougher, the Indians do hold a 62-54 head-to-head win over the Trojans earlier this season.
Still, there’s plenty of competition for higher seeds.
At 17-1 and ranked No. 3 in the state in the latest D-I poll, Centerville is a lock for the No. 1 seed. Beavercreek is 12-6, Tecumseh is 11-5 along with the Trojans and Indians, Wayne is 11-4, Fairmont is 11-7 and Springboro is 10-8, giving D-I eight out of 19 teams with double-digit wins fighting for seeds No. 2 through 8. Butler is the final team in the draw with a .500-or-better record at 9-8, with a handful more teams a few games under .500. With three brackets to choose from — two at Troy High School and one at Butler — expect whichever two brackets the Elks don’t choose to get packed with tough matchups quickly.
• Division II
Last year, Tippecanoe was the lock for the No. 1 seed.
This season, the Red Devils are a lot younger but will still be near the top of the Division II Springfield draw, coming in with a 12-5 record as they look keep their regional tournament streak alive.
Of the Devils’ five losses, though, two are to teams in the draw — including Carroll, the likely No. 1 seed at 16-1, and Trotwood, the prospective No. 2 seed at 14-2. In the latest D-II state poll, Carroll was No. 1, Tippecanoe was tied for 12th and Trotwood was not ranked — but that likely changed late Tuesday night after the Rams’ 37-35 win over the Devils last Thursday.
After the top three teams, though? Kenton Ridge is 14-3, while no one else had an above-.500 record — although Belmont and Meadowdale’s records were not available. As is the case most years, Tippecanoe, Carroll, Trotwood and Kenton Ridge are the teams to beat in the two-bracket pool.
• Division IV
In the two-bracket Division IV Brookville sectional, Tri-Village — the No. 5 team in the latest D-IV state poll — is an easy choice for the No. 1 seed.
Naturally, things get tougher after that. Covington owns a 15-2 record — with one of those losses coming to Tri-Village — Troy Christian sits at 13-3, Franklin Monroe is 14-4 and Catholic Central is 13-4, making seeds No. 2 through 5 an interesting battle. Bradford, at 10-5, 10-4 Miami Valley, 9-8 Newton and 9-7 Yellow Springs add a handful more teams with winning records, making it nine out of 14 teams.
And in the two-bracket Sidney sectional, 17-1 Fort Loramie — the top-ranked team in the state in the latest D-IV poll — will take the top seed, 15-2 Legacy Christian will likely be No. 2 and 10-7 Mechanicsburg and 10-6 Russia will battle it out for the third and fourth spots. Past that, though, only two more teams have .500-or-better record in the 13-team field, with Lehman at 8-8 and Houston at 7-11.
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.