Tournament brackets alter seeding

One of the intriguing aspects of high school tournaments in northeast Ohio will go by the wayside with a recent move by the Northeast District Athletic Board.

The board approved the language and brackets for seeded brackets recently by an 8-0 vote. Baseball and softball tournaments this spring will be conducted with seeded brackets and soccer, volleyball and basketball tournaments will do the same next season.

Previously, the seeding for a district tournament determined the order in which teams would place their name on the bracket. Because teams could place their name anywhere on the bracket, it led to some strategy.

For example, after top-seeded LaBrae went on the board in the boys basketball Division III district at Warren G. Harding this season, seeds two, three, four and five all went into the opposite bracket.

That cannot happen with a seeded bracket. With a seeded bracket, the position of the teams in the bracket are determined by the seeding. In all situations, seeds one and four will be on the same side of the bracket and seeds two and three will be opposite. The rest of the bracket is predetermined by the seeding, and its look depends on how many teams are in the district.

For the last couple of years, seeding voting has been conducted online and the NEDAB has made the results available on the Saturday evening before the seeding meeting. The new format does away with the actual seeding meeting, though coaches still will have to meet with their tournament director to cover other organizational issues.

The board made the move to seeded brackets after surveying members of the district in the spring of 2015. According to NEDAB, administrators and athletic directors, in consultation with their coaches, overwhelmingly supported seeded bracketing.

Speaking of tournaments, the 2016-17 basketball season brought plenty of excitement from area teams, including a pair of top-ranked Associated Press poll boys teams, LaBrae and McDonald, and six district championship teams — John F. Kennedy, McDonald, Ursuline and Garfield on the boys side, and Jackson-Milton and Garfield on the girls side.

There were plenty of outstanding individual efforts with three girls — Antonella LaMonica of John F. Kennedy, Sara Price of Howland and Grayson Rose of Garfield — and one boy, Justin Bofenkamp of Kennedy, earning Player of the Year honors on the Northeast Inland District team.

Many of those outstanding players and their teams are being recognized today in the Tribune Chronicle with the Gallery of Champions.

The Trumbull County Coaches Association will announce its players of the year — a senior boy and a senior girl — at its annual banquet on March 27. Then the next night, many senior stars will be in action in the Frank Bubba All-Star Classic at Harding High School.