‘Seven’ is not so luckyPublished 10:48pm Tuesday, December 27, 2011
For the foreseeable future, Lakeland’s boys basketball team will hold a unique title within the Southeastern District ranks.
Even as the Southeastern District has decided, rightly so, to expand its field hockey, volleyball, soccer, baseball and softball tournaments from four to six teams each season, it has shrunk the basketball tournaments from eight squads to six starting this February.
The reasoning is understandable. It is fair for the same opportunities to go to kids playing all the other team sports as to kids playing basketball.
At the same time, it’s unfortunate to have to reduce the excitement that goes into the district’s little version of March Madness.
Last year, the No. 7-seeded Cavaliers made their whole season worth it in one 32-minute span by upsetting No. 2 King’s Fork in the first round of the districts. Lakeland, even with a tough season overall — a losing record, in fact — got to play into the district semis and the Eastern Region Tournament.
This year and, at least for the foreseeable future, the seventh seed won’t be a part of the party.
District-wide, changes to the tournaments are positive. It was always tough seeing a baseball or softball squad go through the Southeastern with a winning record, on occasion up to a 12-6 record, yet be finished at the end of the regular season.
If a team could play right with the super-competitive world of diamond sports in Chesapeake and Suffolk, it certainly could give anyone in the region or state a fight on the right day.
In hoops, having the top two squads in the district regular season earn automatic regional spots is a good for competition and makes the regional tournament as strong as possible.
On the other hand, the change removes some of the unpredictablity, and means there will be fewer squads with something big to play for right down to the end of the season.
It could not have been an easy decision to make, but it should make for some interested sporting championships.