The Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division leader got the respect it craved.
The 15-3 Buckeye boys basketball team earned the No. 1 seed Sunday at the Westlake Division II District draw and was followed by Holy Name (11-6), Keystone (13-5) and Clearview (12-5).
Oddly enough, fellow division members Brookside and Keystone voted for the Green Wave, causing a deadlock and forcing Buckeye to win a coin toss.
“Obviously that’s what we were hoping for, but I think with our league we don’t always get that (respect),” Bucks coach Matt Saunders said. “It’s good for our league in general to have that opportunity.
“Our kids are thrilled, and I think we have proven ourselves on the court this year. They deserve it.”
The Bucks did not take a bye and will host 11th-seeded Brooklyn (5-14) on Feb. 26. No. 8 Firelands (7-9), which plays Buckeye on Tuesday in PAC action, is on tap March 1 in the sectional finals.
Keystone took the other bye on Buckeye’s side of the bracket and will play the winner of No. 5 Vermilion (11-5) and No. 12 Padua (2-15).
“It can go one of two ways,” Saunders said. “You can like it because it’s someone you’re familiar with, but you can look at it as they’re familiar with you, too.”
At the blended Copley/Canton D-I draw, Massillon Jackson (15-2) and Uniontown Lake (16-2) were the top seeds. Medina (15-3) followed in third and ahead of Austintown Fitch (14-3) and Timken (14-2) with 24 of the 28 votes.
The Bees chose the opposite side of Lake in the Copley bracket and will host No. 27 Youngstown Boardman (2-16) in a Feb. 26 sectional semifinal. The winner of No. 14 Wadsworth (11-6) and No. 20 Kent Roosevelt (10-9) follows.
No. 6 Austintown Fitch (14-3), No. 11 Green (12-6) and No. 16 Hudson (8-8) also are on Medina’s side of the bracket.
“Obviously our strength of schedule was an important piece, but some people respect our league and what we’ve done so far,” Medina coach Anthony Stacey said. “It’s all good on paper, but you know as well as I do those seeds go out the door. It’s a one-game season and it doesn’t matter what’s on the paper.”
Suburban League leader Highland (13-5) received multiple votes beginning with the seventh seed and lost No. 11 by one vote to Green, which received help from its future Federal League brethren.
The Hornets chose the Lake half of the Copley District instead of playing on Jackson’s side of the Canton District. No. 17 Walsh Jesuit (10-8) jumped on Highland almost immediately, with the winner to face No. 8 GlenOak (13-6) or No. 21 Firestone (7-10) in the sectional finals.
“I was initially disappointed with our seeding,” Hornets coach Michael Murphy said. “Not so much with the results of where we’re at, but I expected us to 8, 9 or 10.
“It was more of the (top) four teams and the two we identified that we match up better with — Timken or Lake. That was our thought process.”
Wadsworth edged New Philadelphia (13-6) for 14th and had an interesting decision, but coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. couldn’t pass up the last remaining home game on the bracket.
It will be a rematch of the Grizzlies’ 55-48 win over Kent Roosevelt on Dec. 10 in a Feb. 26 sectional semifinal.
“We’re going to see Medina once (Feb. 18) before the tournament, so to play a game against a higher seed or play at home, I want my boys to play at home,” he said. “We talked about that before the draw.
“The bottom line is it’s not going to be easy.”
Cloverleaf was the 28th and final seed and will play at Jackson in a Feb. 26 sectional semifinal.
Brunswick (9-7) was the seventh seed at the Midview/Brecksville D-I draw and will host a Feb. 26 Brecksville sectional semifinal against rival and No. 23 Strongsville (2-16) that leads to a potential home game against Midview or North Olmsted,
St. Edward, ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press state poll, is the top seed and elected to play at Brecksville. The Eagles could see Brunswick in the district semis.
The next three seeds — North Royalton, Berea-Midpark and St. Ignatius — chose Midview.
Black River was 12th out of 13 teams at Wooster D-III. The Pirates (3-15) travel to No. 4 Chippewa (12-6) for a Feb. 25 sectional semifinal, with the winner to play No. 8 Northwestern (10-9) or No. 5 Tuslaw (13-7) on Feb. 28.
The opening-round game has an ironic twist, as initial Pirates coach Barry Balderson was forced to resign following a 80-42 loss to the Chipps on Dec. 3.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or email@example.com.