Lady Bears dealt unjust state playoff seed

Posted 3/1/19

When my cell phone blinked Saturday afternoon and I read a message from Chatham Central girl’s basketball coach Lynda Burke informing me of the draw her squad had received for the upcoming 1A …

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Lady Bears dealt unjust state playoff seed

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When my cell phone blinked Saturday afternoon and I read a message from Chatham Central girl’s basketball coach Lynda Burke informing me of the draw her squad had received for the upcoming 1A NCHSAA state playoffs, my body temperature went from 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit to about 2000 degrees in .0002 seconds.

Learning that the Lady Bears had gotten a 4th seed overall in the East was just unfathomable to me.

After talking with Burke, I decided to call the NCHSAA in Chapel Hill to get an explanation.

What I found out was interesting, albeit, I still 100 percent believe the seed is unjust, and that the Chatham Central girls deserved a 2 seed, or at the least, a 3 seed.

First, let me say this, when NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker called me back later in the day, she was nothing short of gracious and professional, which she always is. And she precisely laid out the reasoning behind the seeding.

To my surprise, or more aptly put, to me turning a blind eye, the seeding all came down to Maxpreps rankings.

Yep, you got it, the website that struggles to get times, schedules, coaches names, etc., correct on a routine basis played that significant of a role deciding the final seeds. Tucker was thorough with how the process worked, and then plainly stated that Maxpreps was being used because this is what the coaches voted for and wanted.

Now, having been around Tucker, and those she had worked with for so many years in Charlie Adams and Rick Strunk, I can vouch that what she says are facts, though I must say, I have yet to talk to any coaches, especially football, that admit they are proponents of using the Maxpreps rankings to decide seeds.

But it is what it is, and that explained a lot of why the Lady Bears drew the fourth seed.

At the end of our conversation, Tucker asked me point blank, what is your reasoning behind feeling that Chatham Central should be seeded higher. It was an honest question, and one with no chippiness or ill spirit.

And neither was my answer.

I plainly stated, “reality.”

And that’s what my opinion, which again, I feel is 100 percent accurate, is based upon.

The Chatham Central girls, all 12 members strong plus head coach Lynda Burke and assistant coach Kathryn Hackney, did about all that they could do this season.

The Lady Bears went a perfect 12-0 to win the 1A Central Tar Heel regular season title, then repeated the feat in the league tournament last week in dominating fashion.

In compiling a 19-3 mark, Chatham Central lost games to 2A state playoff berth winner Providence Grove, 3A state playoff berth winner Orange, and 3A Southern Alamance. To put it shortly, the Bears did not lose to a 1A opponent this season and beat everyone that was put on its schedule within the conference.

Now, to bolster my facts that are set in reality, and not into the Maxpreps rankings, these are the teams in the East that are seeded above the 4th seeded Bears.

Top seeded Pamlico. The Hurricanes are 23-2, went 12-0 in league play, and won their conference tournament. They are, and should be the top-seed, period, end of story.

At the No. 2 seed is East Carteret. This one is close, because the Lady Mariners finished 18-3 overall, and won their conference tournament, including beating 2A Croatan, which had issued East Carteret two of its three losses on the season.

East Carteret plays in a split 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference, and also lost to 2A Richlands while going 10-3 in the league, but received the 1A top seed issued the conference.

Now, I understand playing in the split league with 2A teams, and that is a valid argument. The Mariners didn’t lose to a 1A team, and won their conference tournament. So, though I think three losses in the conference should certainly have been a deciding factor and the Lady Bears should have been the No. 2 seeds, that one is a little easier to swallow.

Washington County on the other hand, the No. 3 seed, is a different story. There simply is no reasonable explanation.

The Vikings closed the season at 16-3, went 9-1 in the conference in the regular season, and lost in the opening round of its conference tournament.

Insert me shaking my head and throwing my hands up.

I mean, I don’t care of what some computer out in California says, this Sports Editor here in NC emphatically states that Washington County receiving the 3 seed over the Chatham Central is completely wrong, and to the point of being a joke.

There is absolutely no conceivable way that Chatham Central should not be the 3rd seed. Simple as that.

To Coach Burke’s credit, she wasn’t happy, nor did she agree with the 4 seed, but she did make a classy and realistic retort to me personally on Saturday, saying, “Well, we will just have to prove them wrong.”

And as I told Tucker on Saturday, I have nothing against Washington County and the people in the Plymouth area, nor down in the East Carteret community. Both are great places. But facts are facts, and they needed to be recognized in hopes of possibly tweaking the system in the future so that these kinds of things won’t happen.

With that said, one plus to the injustice for the Lady Bears is that Bishop McGuinness was sent to the East Bracket. Now granted, this isn’t the Bishop McGuinness of old, but the Villains are still very formidable at 18-8, and lost mainly to bigger schools.

So in the end, it could work out better for the locals. Who knows? The bottom line is the Lady Bears have to play and take it one game at a time, just as the Chatham Central boys, the Chatham Charter boys, and the Northwood boys and girls team have to do.

At the end of the day you just always want to see your local teams get rewarded fairly for their hard work.


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