Sunday, March 7, 2010

The traveling Trinity Hillers

Trinity's boys basketball team became the fifth-place Class AAA team from the WPIAL when Chartiers Valley won the championship. The Hillers lost to the Colts in the district quarterfinals.

In the PIAA Class AAA boys playoff pairings, Trinity (15-5) draws the District 9 champion, which is Bradford (21-2). Bradford and Clearfield were the only teams in the D9 Class AAA playoffs.

Given the distance between the two communities - Bradford is just minutes away from the New York border - and with the game scheduled for Friday night, logic might dictate the game be played at Clarion University, located in District 9 or another place, say DuBois or St. Mary's.

Instead, Trinity must load up its bus Friday knowing it faces a 204-mile ride to the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford campus, where the Hillers will play the D9 champs at 7 p.m.

That's the equivalent of making Bradford play Trinity at Wash High.

Talk about unfair.

The following are the dates, sites and times for the six local teams playing in the PIAA basketball playoffs.

First round
Class AAA
Trinity (15-5) vs. Bradford (21-2) at Pitt-Bradford, 7 p.m.
Class AA
South Fayette (19-5) vs. Cambria Heights (15-9) at Baldwin High School, 2 p.m.
Washington (18-5) vs. Brookville (17-7) at Tippin Gymnasium, Clarion University, 3:30 p.m.

Preliminary round
Class AAAA
Erie McDowell (13-11) at Peters Township (13-12), 7 p.m.
First round
Class AA
South Fayette (17-7) vs. Cranberry (22-3) at Tippin Gymnasium, Clarion University, 5 p.m.
Class A
Monessen (18-5) vs. Tussey Mountain (22-3) at Pitt-Johnstown, 3:30 p.m.


Anonymous said...

It's common in the first round that the team on top of the bracket gets the game in their district. It happened to Washington last year as well, nothing unfair about it, that's just how they do it.

mike_kovak said...

Let's get a couple things straight:

1. Wash High's home game was a prelim game played on a Tuesday. The host school always gets the play-in game on their home court.

2. Washington's first round game in 2009 was played at Edinboro University.

3. Been around long enough to know that Bradford was going to play somewhere in District 9.

There's a big difference between playing in your district and your hometown. Big difference.

Dale Lolley said...

I really thought that game would be played at Clarion. St. Marys at the worse. Playing that game in Bradford is unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the Prexie's game site. Not too far from Brookville either. Looks like the Hillers and the Prexies have to face some home cooking in the first round. Lets face it, if either of them are going to advance, they have their work cut out for them.

Anonymous said...

Trinity is lucky to be playing and will probably get rolled this game or next so who cares where they play. They could play at Trinity or Park and Dewey, who cares. They only won 1 playoff game so they deserve to travel. WPIAL cries too much about sites. What about Wash High against North Catholic at North Hills? 30 miles compared to 5 miles, Wash High didn't complain.

Anonymous said...

Mike, if State College beats McKeesport...they have to then turn around and play Mt. Lebanon at Baldwin.

Also, if Erie Cathedral Prep beats Upper St. Clair AT USC they then would have to drive to Altoona to play Holidaysburg.

The PIAA does it to everyone. Look at football. How many times did TJ have to go to Erie to play an Erie team? Clairton, in 06 and 08 had to go play the D5 Somerset teams in Johnstown...granted its not 204 miles but its still in their backyards.

mike_kovak said...

Onca again, there is a big difference between in the district and hometown.

As for the Wash High game at Clarion, remember the game has to be played in District 9, the same as the Trinity game. Brookville may not be far from Clarion but at least the game is not in Brookville.

And, for the second time, you cannot include play-in games into this argument.

The home schools always hosts the play-in game. Always. So, yes, USC and McKeesport are at home. They won't be playing in their home towns in the second round.

Again, in the area is one thing. In your hometown entirely another, especially in a first-round game with a four-hour bus ride.

Interesting comment though on TJ football. I always found it interesing how the Jags had to travel north to trounce a D10 team. I always thought the reason was there is a very high ranking PIAA official from D10. Those schools have always got the breaks when it came to travel.

mike_kovak said...

And, true, Trinity only won one playoff game.

Go check and see how many Bradford won ... bet it's the same number.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I loved the picture of you holding the rubber basketball on the back of the paper. I think that mullet you sport is a little unfair to the 2000's. Do you perm the back of your head? Let me know.
-Girty Drillo

Sarcastic Sword said...

Did Serra Catholic make the PIAA playoffs?

mike_kovak said...

Haven't had a mullet since the early 1990s. The hair is just long and floppy everywhere.

And, no, not a perm. Naturally curly bro.

mike_kovak said...

The Serra Catholic boys made the PIAA playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Good Luck hillers!!!!

Dale Lolley said...

As Mike stated, having Trinity travel to Bradford to play is pretty much unheard of. I went to a D-9 school and they don't even play D-9 playoff games up there.
Like I said, I thought the game would be at Clarion, Dubois or St. Marys. Not actually in Bradford. You'll get to Philadelphia quicker from Washington than you will Bradford. You could be in Cincinnati, Washington, D.C. or Detroit, faster from Washington than you could Bradford.

Chris Dugan said...

I'm old enough to have covered an Immaculate Conception boys basketball playoff game against Elk County Christian at St. Mary's High School. Had to be in the late 80s. ECC is located in St. Mary's, a mere 2.3 miles away from the game site. IC, well, let's say that was a long drive to play in the warmest gym I've ever been in. Still not as long of a drive as Trinity has.

However, that's not the worst site I can recall. Also remember the Trinity girls getting a game in the state tournament against a team from another district (forget who), again probably in the late 1980s, at Wash High. And Trinity wasn't seeded any better than maybe 7-3.

The WPIAL has had its share of boneheaded decisions when making playoff sites. The worst might have been Fort Cherry, back when it had Brad Tokar, playing a baseball playoff game against Charleroi at Vets Field in Charleroi. It was on Charleroi's home field!

voice of reason said...

I am a hiller fan and yeah our local teams(including WHS) usually get shafted but just win the game and shut the WPIAL up!! For years they have done this to us-nothing new. Kind of used to it by now. Sure would have been nice for the WPIAL to put the Hillers and Prexies same place, consecutive game times. Nice dream. Good Luck to both teams! Be safe in your travels.

Bob.Gregg said...

The answer to "how many times TJ to Erie" isn't what the writer expected. And you can't pull TJ out and look at them exclusively. Here's the decade:

Cath. Prep vs. W.All. at NA in '09
TJ vs. Strong Vincent in Erie in '08
TJ vs. Strong Vincent in Erie in '07
TJ vs. Gen. McLane at NA in '06
Frank. Reg. vs. Gen. McLane at Slip. Rock in '05
TJ vs. Strong Vincent at Slip. Rock in '04
Pine-Rich vs. Bradford at Warren in '03
Bradford vs. Perry at Couples in '01

So, TJ to Erie twice. Erie teams to NA twice, to Slip Rock twice. Pine-Rich to Warren once, Bradford to Couples.

And football has DIFFERENT PIAA site rules than all the other sports.

I really expected the game at Clarion. What a road trip...

Anonymous said...

yes football and basketball are a little different. the point i was trying to make is is very rare that, no matter the sport, the piaa makes a "fair and neutral" playoff site. mike, you can say that there is a big difference between playing a home game and playing a home district game...and you are right...but mt. lebanon being able to potentially play state college at baldwin? i mean its right next door...same with these other "home district" might as well be a home game. the piaa makes little to no effort to ensure a neutral, even playing field/court.

mike_kovak said...

Point taken and agreed ... but to make Trinity drive four hours to play a night game still seems a bit unfair. I can't imagine anyone having a longer trip.

Anonymous said...

I think Trinity won 2 playoff games. They lucked out by playing CV, because that was the best shot at making the state playoffs.