The SAC and ACAC released the pairings for the conferences basketball tournaments Wednesday.
The SAC tournament will take place Dec. 26-27 and 29 at Wayne, and the ACAC tournament will be Jan. 8-10 and 12. The first-round ACAC games will be at host sites and the final two rounds will be at Memorial Coliseum.
The defending SAC tournament champions –Northrop boys and South Side girls – were voted by the leagues coaches as the top seeds.
We are working very hard to be a strong team and to be recognized as such, South Side coach Juanita Goodwell wrote in an email. We are happy to receive the votes to give us that honor. We know that being No. 1 in the SAC tourney is a privilege, and we are very thankful for that. It will be a tough road to be able to repeat as champions and we have to take it one game at a time, but that will be our goal.
The Northrop boys have won the last two SAC tournament titles and will play in the Hall of Fame Tournament in New Castle on Dec. 28, thus the reason the conference tournament skips a day.
There are some very good teams, players and coaches in our conference, and it will be very difficult for us to three-peat, Northrop coach Barak Coolman wrote in an email. We are excited about the challenges that lie ahead of us, and we look forward to the chance to compete for a championship.
For the boys, Concordia is the second seed and North Side is the third seed. For the girls, Snider is No. 2 and Concordia is No. 3.
The ACAC does not seed its tournament, but the big news from the draw was Garrett getting to play at home for the first time in a first-round tournament game since the Railroaders joined the conference in 2006.
We are inexperienced, so it is better than the alternative of going to Southern Wells, Garrett boys coach John Bodey said. We talked about how it has been a curse (always playing on the road) since we have been in this conference. It will be nice to be playing at home.
Southern Wells will play at Garrett on Jan. 8 in a boys/girls doubleheader at 6 p.m., beginning with the boys game.
It is just one game a year, but it builds up over the years, Garrett girls coach Bob Lapadot said. We have played well at home this year, and we feed off the energy of our crowd.
You play no harder game than the first game of the conference tournament on that Tuesday night because of the history of the tournament, and for the fact that your next game could be in Memorial Coliseum. It is like a sectional, because there are no (tournament) games after that. Everybody wants to be in the Coliseum, and no matter who you draw or where you draw them, there are going to give it their all on that Tuesday to have that opportunity to play there.
Both tournaments are sponsored by SportOne Orthopedics Northeast.