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Now that the boys basketball season is in the home stretch of the regular season, time to make some sense of all the playoff races for the Lancaster-Lebanon League Tournament, which starts next Thursday, Feb. 9, and the District 3 Tournament, which begins Monday, Feb. 20.
Section Three still unsettled, but coming together
While Lancaster Mennonite (18-2, 12-0) and Lancaster Catholic (17-3, 11-1) continue slugging it out for the section title, Columbia (14-5, 8-4) leads Elco (7-13, 6-6) by two games for the No. 3 spot heading into Friday.
The Crimson Tide can clinch the No. 3 spot with a win at the Raiders Friday.
Should both teams finish tied at 8-6 in the section by season’s end, it would fall to the third tie breaker, which would go to Columbia by virtue of a higher power ranking.
The tie couldn’t be decided by the second tie breaker because both teams went 0-2 against whoever wins the section between the Blazers and the Crusaders.
Section One setting up for wild finish
While Lebanon (16-3, 12-0) has already clinched the section title and is third in the Class 6A standings, the final two spots for L-L’s are still very much up in the air.
Heading into Friday’s games, Hempfield (13-6, 8-4) leads Cedar Crest (13-6, 7-5) and Manheim Township (11-8, 7-5) by one-game for the No. 2 spot.
All three teams have three games remaining, including two section games and one non-league game.
Here’s the Black Knights remaining schedule – vs. Lebanon Friday, at Lower Dauphin Saturday, vs. McCaskey Tuesday.
The Falcons are at Penn Manor Friday, vs. York Saturday, at Lebanon Tuesday.
Manheim Township is at McCaskey Friday, at Exeter Saturday, and vs. Warwick Tuesday.
Hempfield already has the head-to-head tie breaker with the season sweep of Cedar Crest.
Because of that and the way the schedule lays out, the Black Knights have their first chance to clinch second place with a win Friday.
If Hempfield loses and Cedar Crest wins Friday, then the Falcons can clinch the No. 2 spot Tuesday with a win and Black Knights loss. Hempfield would just need a win Tuesday to clinch.
So to review – Cedar Crest needs to win out its section games, and Hempfield needs to win one game.
If things don’t go the Falcons way for second place, they still control their own destiny for third place to qualify for the L-L tourney.
With a win against Lebanon Tuesday, Cedar Crest would have a better record against the section champ, as Manheim Township went 0-2 against the Cedars, so that’s tie-breaker No. 2.
If the Falcons lose to Lebanon, they would still win tie breaker No. 3 with a higher power ranking than the Blue Streaks.
Both teams split their season series, so that wipes out the head-to-head tie breaker.
The Falcons can clinch the No. 3 seed with a win and a Manheim Township loss Friday.
If both teams win Friday, the Blue Streaks would clinch the No. 3 spot with a win over Warwick and a Falcons loss.
If Cedar Crest wins its final two section games, they’re in.
Palmyra district bound
Even though the Cougars missed out on a chance to compete in the Mid-Penn Conference Tournament by losing out on a MPC Keystone title, the Cougars still find themselves in the top five of the Class 5A standings, currently fourth heading into Friday’s rematch with Lower Dauphin.