If the London High School girls basketball team is going to get to where it wants to go in the postseason, it’s going to have to earn it.
The Red Raiders (17-3) were selected the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Division II Central tournament. It’s the same seed London had a year ago before it was knocked off in the second round by Bishop Hartley. Hartley is the No. 1 seed and is in the other district bracket.
But while the Raiders’ bracket is void of the talented Hawks, there are plenty of possible stumbling blocks including a possible second-round matchup with neighboring Jonathan Alder, the eighth seed.
Alder (11-9) will open up the postseason at home against No. 16 Licking Valley at 7 p.m. Feb. 20. The winner will then advance to play at London Feb. 24.
If the game is Alder and London in the second round, the Pioneers will surely pose a threat to the highly-seeded Raiders. The two squads played back in early January with London pulled away late in the contest for a 56-50 victory.
Choosing the spot that feeds into the No. 2 seed was partly about his team’s familiarity with the Red Raiders but also the fact that he didn’t want his team sitting around for two weeks from the end of the regular season and opening the tourney.
“I really didn’t know where we would be seeded going into the draw,” Jonathan Alder High School Bob Wehner said. “I thought we’d be in the 10-12 range, but we got a good seeding from Buckeye Valley and River Valley which got us up to No. 8.
“There are a lot of good teams in D-II, we think we can play with any of them except maybe Hartley. We chose that spot because we’re familiar with London but also because our season ends this week and I didn’t want to go two weeks without playing. That was a spot where we could play sooner. We’ll be off now 11 days instead of not playing for more than two weeks.”
The Lady Roughriders of West Jefferson received the No. 9 seed in the upcoming D-III tourney and will play host to fellow Mid-State League Ohio Division foe Grandview (12-7) the No. 11 seed. The two squads will square off Feb. 21 with the winner advancing to play at No. 7 Cardington Feb. 25.
The two teams have already played two tight contests against each other this season. Grandview took the first match-up 39-35 in December and West Jeff pulled out a 39-37 victory in the middle of January.
Madison-Plains has struggled through a tough season and is the 24th-seed in the D-III tourney. It will have a first-round bye and will likely get No. 1 seed Africentric Feb. 23 in a second-round game.
Africentric will play No. 22 Columbus Academy in the district tournament opener for both schools.
The Shekinah Christian girls were tabbed as the No. 3 seed (out of 19 teams) in the D-IV tournament and will open the postseason against No. 11 Delaware Christian on Feb. 20 at Jonathan Alder High School. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.
The Flames (13-5) game with Delaware Christian (9-11) figures to be a tightly fought one, especially if the two regular-season match-ups are any indication. Shekinah narrowly defeated Delaware Christian 28-25 back in early December and then lost 51-42 in the rematch last month.
The winner of the first-round tilt will advance to host No. 13 Village Academy Feb. 25. If it’s Shekinah the game will again be played at Jonathan Alder High School.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.
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