A new twist to the historic postseason chase.
The ‘super-sectional’ element has been added this year to the 2020 Southeast Ohio District Boys Basketball Tournament brackets, which were released Sunday by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Instead of the traditional north/south or east/west breakdowns that have previously been used at the sectional level in all divisions, the Southeast Ohio District Athletic Board is using more of a universal approach this postseason by implementing a seeding process that applies throughout the district.
Instead of two brackets at travel-friendly locations for different parts of the district in each division, the Southeast District tournament is now using a division-wide seeding system that has all programs capable of facing one another at any level of the postseason — particularly in the sectional rounds.
The general concept is to ensure that the very best teams from the Southeast District are advancing deeper into the postseason, regardless of what side of the district a team hails from.
For example, teams from Gallia or Meigs counties now have just as much of chance of playing programs from the west side of the district — say Greenfield McClain, Portsmouth Clay, Peebles, etc. — in the sectional rounds as previous regulars such as Athens, Wellston, Waterford, etc.
Previously, those programs from the west side of the district were usually matchups to be found at the district tournament level.
Half of the area’s programs are participating in the Division IV field this winter, with South Gallia, Southern and Eastern all needing two victories apiece to reach the district tournament.
The 10th seeded Rebels — the highest seeded team of the local D-4 trio — opens tournament play at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, when they face 23rd seeded Manchester in a sectional semifinal at Wellston High School.
The winner faces seventh seeded Leesburg Fairfield in the Athens 2 sectional final held at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at WHS.
The 14th seeded Eagles are also in the Athens 2 side of the sectional draw and open tournament play at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, when they take on 19th seeded Portsmouth Notre Dame in a sectional semifinal at Wellston High School.
The winner faces third seeded Trimble in the sectional final at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at WHS.
The 13th seeded Tornadoes open Athens 1 postseason play at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, when they face 20th seeded Waterford in a sectional semifinal at Wellston High School.
The winner faces fourth seeded Federal Hocking in the sectional final held at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at WHS.
Both Gallia Academy and River Valley are part of a singular Division II bracket, but the Blue Devils need one less victory to advance to the Ohio University Convocation Center.
The 12th seeded Blue Devils will face fifth seeded Waverly in a sectional semifinal game at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, at Southeastern High School. This is also a rematch — of sorts — after both programs met in the opening round of the Region 15 playoffs this past football season.
The GAHS-WHS winner faces the winner of the 4-13 matchup between Unioto and Hillsboro in a sectional final at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at Southeastern High School.
The 16th seeded Raiders open postseason play in a sectional quarterfinal against 17th seeded Circleville at 6:15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, at Southeastern High School.
The winner advances to the semifinal round and faces top seeded Fairfield Union at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, at Logan High School.
The winner of that contest moves to the sectional final round at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at Logan High School.
Meigs is the lone Division III program from the area and is positioned in the Athens 2 side of the bracket.
The 13th seeded Marauders take on 20th seeded Portsmouth West at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, in a sectional semifinal at Jackson High School.
The winner advances to the sectional final and takes on fourth seeded Wheelersburg at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at Waverly High School.
Visit ohsaa.org for complete brackets of the 2020 Southeast District boys basketball tournament in all divisions.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.