Things went as expected Sunday when the Northeast Ohio district tournament seed meetings were held at Copley High School.
With a new rule stating any team can pick either side of the bracket — the top four seeds were previously required to split themselves evenly — everyone within their power avoided state-ranked Wadsworth.
The defending champion Grizzlies (17-2) earned top billing at the Medina Division I District. Medina County’s hottest team, Brunswick (15-5), took the second seed and was followed by Kenmore (14-4), Highland (12-7) and Firestone (13-6).
After the Grizzlies selected the bottom half of the bracket, the next four seeds chose to duke it out on the other side, meaning Wadsworth’s path to the title game will run entirely through sub.-500 opponents.
“I think it’s pretty much shook out the way we expected it to,” eighth-year Grizzlies coach Andrew Booth said. “It certainly makes it more interesting with the (rule) change because it doesn’t have to be the top four (seeds split between) different brackets.
“We look at it like one game at a time. We can’t worry about the other brackets.”
The Grizzlies maintained tradition under Booth and selected to play a first-round game. They will battle 11th-seeded Barberton on Feb. 20 at 7:30, with the winner to face No. 12 Akron Garfield on the 23rd.
Meanwhile, Brunswick chose a bye and will face No. 10 Cuyahoga Falls or Firestone in a Feb. 21 sectional final at 7:30 p.m.
The Hornets elected a Feb. 18 sectional semifinal, when they will play No. 9 Akron Ellet. The winner will battle Kenmore three days later.
Seventh-seeded Cloverleaf (7-13) jumped at a Feb. 20 rematch with No. 6 Strongsville (6-12), which beat the Colts 46-42 on Jan. 9. The winner advances to play eighth-seeded Copley (6-12) for a sectional title Feb. 23.
Valley Forge D-I
Medina (13-6) made a statement by crushing Strongsville on Saturday, and was rewarded less than 24 hours later with the No. 2 seed behind 17-2 Cleveland St. Joseph.
The Bees elected a bye. They will play the winner of Brecksville-Parma on Feb. 23 at 1 p.m.
“We were honored to get the 2 seed,” coach Chris Hassinger said. “We came in with a 13-6 record, but it’s a credit to our league and our non-conference schedule. It’s not like we’re losing to bad teams.”
St. Joseph, Lakewood (17-2) and North Royalton (11-7), which beat Medina by 25 last week, are on the other side of the bracket. However, Brecksville (8-9) is a tough out should it get by Parma, and Midpark (14-2) is the defending champion.
The Bees defeated the Meteors in the season opener, and very well could meet them again in the Feb. 28 district semifinals.
“I’ve got to be honest. I think Midpark is just as good as anybody else out there,” Hassinger said. “And you look at a team like Brecksville, they played Brunswick just as tough as anyone else has.”
Buckeye (8-10) received the 10th seed and will play Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division rival Brookside (7-13) in a sectional semifinal Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.
The Cardinals won both meetings in league play, including a 40-37 decision on Saturday. The winner will play No. 3 seed Holy Name or Cleveland Central Catholic on Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Fairview (17-3) received the top seed, followed by Firelands (14-5), Holy Name (11-9) and Clearview (14-4).
Black River (4-15) received the 10th seed and will play No. 7 St. Thomas Aquinas on Feb 18 at 6 p.m.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.