The final weekend of the high school basketball regular season is upon us. Much has been settled, but there is plenty still to be determined as well — especially in Division I.
Manchester Central (18-0), Trinity of Manchester (16-1) and Merrimack (16-2) will be the top three seeds for the Division I boys' tournament, which begins Tuesday. Trinity will finish No. 2, regardless of tonight's outcome against Dover.
The No. 4 seed will go to either Bishop Guertin of Nashua (13-4) or Londonderry (13-4). BG will wrap up the regular season with a home game against Spaulding of Rochester tonight, and Londonderry will finish with a contest at Nashua South. Londonderry holds the tiebreaker edge because it beat BG 64-58 earlier this season.
Since the highest-seeded teams will be at home for the tournament's preliminary round and quarterfinals, the No. 4 seed could earn either BG or Londonderry an extra home game.
Winnacunnet of Hampton (11-6), Bedford (10-7) and Exeter (10-8) are the other teams that will be at home for the preliminary round. Bedford will enter tonight's home game against Keene with a nine-game winning streak. Exeter won its last five games to secure the No. 8 seed.
The other question mark comes further down in the standings, where Alvirne of Hudson (5-12), Manchester West (5-12) and Nashua North (5-12) are all fighting to get in the tournament. Two of the three teams will qualify.
North will play at Alvirne tonight, and the winner will extend its season. The loser of that game will also qualify if West loses at Concord tonight, since both North and Alvirne beat West this season. West will qualify if it beats Concord.
- - - - - - -
DEFENDING champion Bedford (17-0) has secured the No. 1 seed for the Division I girls' tournament, which begins Wednesday. Londonderry (14-3) will be the No. 2 seed if it defeats Nashua South in Londonderry tonight.
After that, three teams — Bishop Guertin (13-4), Nashua North (13-4) and Pinkerton Academy of Derry (13-4) — are battling for the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds.
BG will wrap up the regular season at Spaulding, Nashua North will conclude its regular-season schedule with a home against Alvirne, and Pinkerton will finish at Salem. If there is a three-way tie, BG and Pinkerton are in the best position because two of North's four losses came against teams that would be involved in the tie (both against BG).
If Keene (4-13) loses to unbeaten Bedford tonight there will also be a three-way tie for the 15th position between Keene, Concord (4-14) and Exeter (4-14). Two of the three teams will qualify for the tournament.
Exeter and Keene are in the best position to win that tiebreaker since two of Concord's victories came against Timberlane, a team that will not make the tournament field. If Keene upsets Bedford, however, Concord would win a two-way tiebreaker against Exeter because it beat Exeter during the regular season.
- - - - - -
THE Hinsdale boys' and girls' teams were headed in opposite directions for most of the season. The Hinsdale girls earned the No. 1 seed for the Division IV tournament and improved to 19-0 with Tuesday's 58-21 preliminary-round victory over Concord Christian. The Hinsdale boys lost their first 17 games, but ended their season by beating Concord Christian 49-45 Wednesday night. … Mascenic of New Ipswich junior Jake Stauffeneker reached the 1,000-point milestone when he tossed in 45 points during Tuesday night's 77-54 triumph over Monadnock. He became the eighth Mascenic player (fifth boy) to reach milestone. … Pending its game on Thursday night against Nute of Milton, Derryfield School of Manchester (17-1 before Thursday) was primed to be the No. 1 seed for the Division IV boys' tournament, which starts Tuesday.