MANKATO — Records matter, but head-to-head is a powerful tool in determining section seedings.
Mankato West and Mankato East will both have home games in the opening round of the Section 2AAA boys basketball tournament Tuesday, and a key nonconference victory played a large part in the seeding process for each team.
West (16-8) is the No. 2 seed and will host New Ulm (4-21) in the section quarterfinals on Tuesday. The Scarlets, who were 5-1 against section opponents, were seeded ahead of Willmar (18-7) due to a 62-54 victory in the season-opener Nov. 30.
“It’s great to have a home game, and we don’t have to leave Mankato as long as we keep playing, so we’re very pleased,” West coach Tom Boone said. “We’ve got some good things going, and different guys have been stepping up every night so that’s been good. We still have some things to work on, and we need to be more consistent.”
East (10-14) drew the fourth seed and will host Hutchinson (8-15) on Tuesday. The Cougars defeated Hutchinson 62-58 last month.
“We play so much better at home,” East coach Dave Makela said. “I don’t know if it’s home comfort or knowing the gym or not getting on the bus. We’re finally getting some home games lately so we’re happy.”
Marshall (21-4) is the No. 1 seed and will play Dassel-Cokato (4-20) in the quarterfinals, and No. 3 Willmar will host Worthington (8-14).
The section semifinals will be played March 1 at Minnesota State’s Bresnan Arena, with the championship game March 6, also at Bresnan Arena.
In Section 2AA, South Subsection, Waseca (23-2) is the No. 1 seed and will host Kenyon-Wanamingo (0-23) is the quarterfinals Tuesday.
The No. 2 seed went to New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (18-6), who will host Medford (3-20) in the quarterfinals.
Other first-round matchups in the subsection are No. 3 Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (17-8) at home against Maple River (11-14) and No. 4 St. Peter (10-14) hosting Tri-City United (10-10).