On Sunday afternoon, Feb. 9, the Southeast District of the Ohio High School Athletic Association released the much-anticipated tournament seedings for varsity boys basketball teams.

While the brackets always seem to be a popular topic among fans, the discussion has been amplified this year since the Southeast District opted to go to a “super sectional”, eliminating the division by geographic location.

The new format is explained in detail on the Southeast District’s website, located within the OHSAA website (ohsaa.org). It is also shared in part in the next three paragraphs.

The Southeast District has changed the seeding format this year. Instead of each division being seeded based on their geographically-aligned site, they are all seeded together by ranking. Guidelines for the coaches for voting include the following: 1. A coach cannot vote for his/her own team; 2. A team’s highest and lowest vote will not count; 3. A coach who does not vote/seed will be penalized by losing their second highest vote (the top vote is discarded as mentioned).

As has been done for the past 15-plus years, the board will use NCAA-paired brackets that are pre-determined. Teams will be placed on the bracket as determined by their voted seed number.

Following the seeding process and placement of teams on the brackets, as per their voted seed, the Board will then assign the games to one of the two sectional sites indicated on the tournament set up. In situations in which one team in a match up is closer to one site while the other team is closer to the other site, the higher-seeded team will be given priority. The Southeast District Athletic Board reserves the right to adjust games.

The top seeded teams for the 2019-2020 boys basketball season are Fairfield Union (Division II), Fairland (Division III) and Peebles (Division IV). The record listed is what it was at the time of the draw.

For the Pike County teams, Waverly received the highest seed, securing fifth in Division II. The fifth-seeded Tigers (15-4) will head to Southeastern High School on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. to take on the 12th seeded Gallia Academy (8-11) Blue Devils. The winner of the game will advance to the sectional final on Friday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. to face the winner between fourth-seeded Unioto (16-3) and 13th-seeded Hillsboro (7-12). The sectional final will also be played at Southeastern. The district semifinal for that bracket is set for Saturday, Feb. 29 at Ohio University’s Convocation Center in Athens at 7 p.m. The district final is scheduled for Thursday, March 5 at 7 p.m. at the Convo.

In Division III, the 15th-seeded Piketon Redstreaks (9-10) will begin play on Monday, Feb. 17 at 6:15 p.m. versus the 18th-seeded West Union Dragons (7-12) in Waverly High School’s downtown gymnasium. The winner of that game advances to the sectional final to meet second-seeded Zane Trace (16-3) on Friday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. That game will also be played at Waverly. The district rounds will be played at Ohio University’s Convocation Center in Athens with the semifinal set for Sunday, March 1 at 5:30 p.m. and the final scheduled for Friday, March 6 at 8:15 p.m.

Also in Division III, the 19th-seeded Western Indians (8-10) will begin sectional semifinal play against 14th-seeded Portsmouth (8-11) on Monday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. at Waverly High School’s downtown gymnasium. The winner of that game will advance to the sectional final, also at Waverly, and will face third-seeded Eastern Brown (18-1) at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22. The district rounds will be played at Ohio University’s Convocation Center with the semifinal scheduled for Sunday, March 1 at 7:15 p.m. and final set for Friday, March 6 at 8:15 p.m.

In Division IV, the 16th-seeded Eastern Eagles (6-13) will begin play at Wellston High School versus the 17th-seeded Clay Panthers (6-13) on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 6:15 p.m. The winner of that game will advance to the sectional final at Northwest High School on Tuesday, Feb. 25 to face the top-seeded Peebles Indians (17-2) at 6:15 p.m. The district rounds will be played at Ohio University’s Convocation Center in Athens with the semifinal set for Monday, March 2 at 6:15 p.m. and the final scheduled for Saturday, March 7 at 7 p.m.

Complete brackets can be viewed with this story online at newswatchman.com/sports or on the OHSAA website at ohsaa.org/Southeast-Sports-Tournaments/Basketball-Boys.

Email at jbillings@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @ Julie_Billings

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