Mentor coach Bob Krizancic and the Cardinals are going to get very familiar with the Premier Athletic Conference by the first week of March.
Mentor earned the No. 1 seed at the upcoming Division I Euclid district tournament. The Cardinals have won 9 of the last 12 district titles at Euclid.
The Cardinals went to the bottom half of the bracket and were joined by five PAC teams - Chardon, Lakeside, Riverside, South and Madison.
With the rule change that after the top two seeds go to opposite sides of the bracket the rest of the teams can go on either side, none of the high seeds were in a hurry to go to Mentor’s half of the draw. So, the top half of the bracket is loaded with No. 2 seed Glenville, No. 3 seed Brush, No. 4 seed North, East Tech, Shaw and Mayfield.
“I thought maybe one of the other teams would come down in to our half, but with the new rule, it didn’t work out that way,” Mentor coach Bob Krizancic said. “I’m happy with our draw. For us, the big thing is playing the first game so we can try to get some of our young kids on the big floor in front of the big crowd at Euclid.”
On the opening night of the tournament on Feb. 25, East Tech plays Mayfield and Shaw plays North in a pair of sectional semifinals. The Mayfield-East Tech winner plays Glenville and the Shaw-North winner advances to play Brush - both on Feb. 27.
On Tuesday, Feb. 26, Riverside plays South in one sectional semi and top-seeded Mentor takes on Chardon in the other. The Riverside-South winner plays Madison on March 1, and the Mentor-Chardon winner takes on Lakeside the same Friday night.
Madison coach Pat Moran was the No. 6 seed and had an option to go up into a play in game in the top half of the bracket against either Glenville or Brush or go down and take a bye into a sectional championship game. It worked out that the Blue Streaks will see South or Riverside for the third time this season with a sectional title on the line.
“I have no idea what will happen when we play South or Riverside, but I like the way the draw worked for us,” Moran said. “Our kids have a chance to play for a sectional championship against a familiar opponent. Some people disregard sectional championships, but we take pride in those kind of opportunities. We are excited for the tournament.”