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Michael Kresovich on basketball: District 6 playoff field is wide open this year

The finalized bracket for district 6’s Class 5A boys basketball playoffs is set to be produced Sunday and it is shaping up to be must-watch basketball.

As it stands now, 6-12 Central Mountain is set to host 6-11 Bellefonte on Monday night and 3-13 Hollidaysburg will travel to the No. 1 seeded Braves of Shikellamy. The sub .500 records from each of the four teams makes this year’s tournament interesting.

Just one team out of the district will move onto the state tournament and the bracket is wide open as there is not a clear favorite among the four.

“Records mean nothing once the postseason gets here. It becomes a second season, and you have to prepare that way, mentally,” Central Mountain coach Tyler Bardo said. “There is no “bigger picture” at that time of year. It’s what is directly in front of you and nothing else.”

Bardo’s Wildcats hold the second seed entering next week’s tournament and are winners of two of their last three after dropping seven in-a-row. He mentioned the Wildcats are ready to compete regardless of their seed.

“We are not concerned with how others perceive us in terms of underdog or favorite,” Bardo said. “This group is authentic. We are confident but also understanding of where we need to improve. “

Bardo believes his team will find success in the tournament as long as the focus level is there.

“Our success is dependent on our level of focus and accountability on the things that we can control. This is on a possession-by-possession basis in practice and games leading up to and including the postseason,” Bardo said.

As of late, Trevor Adair and Jack Hanna have been doing the majority of the scoring for the Wildcats. Hanna does a solid job of running Central Mountain’s offense and Adair has shown the ability to shoot well from deep.

The Raiders of Bellefonte–Central Mountain’s opening round opponent–are also winners of two of their last three outings. After an 0-3 start to the season, Bellefonte is 6-8 over its last 14 games. The Raiders have appeared to turn the corner thanks to some solid play from Blair Eckley-Jones and Nicholas Way. The two average a combined 27 points per game. Jones has reached double-figures in scoring in all but two games this season. The junior forward will be among the tournament’s top players to watch as he has the ability to score from all over the floor.

BOYS PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Gannon Brungard Bellefonte

The junior forward put together a 17-point, eight rebound performance in a big win over rival BEA. Brungard has had his role increase as of late for the Raiders as he has reached double figures in scoring in two of Bellefonte’s last five outings.

GIRLS PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Kiahana Jones

Central Mountain

Jones collected her third double-double of the season Monday night when the Wildcats defeated Williamsport. The sophomore playmaker will be a difference maker in the playoffs. Averaging seven points, eight rebounds and three blocks per game, Jones is set to help Central Mountain make a playoff run.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

Central Mountain girls

The Wildcats continue to dominate and have the area’s best record by far. At 15-2, Central Mountain is ready to make a splash in the playoffs beginning next week. Led by its guards Ava Renninger and Avery Baker, the Central Mountain backcourt is solid. The combination of Renninger and Baker, paired with Kiahana Jones inside creates matchup nightmares for opposing teams.

Michael Kresovich is the sports editor at the Lock Haven Express. He can be reached by email at mkresovich@lockhaven.com.

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