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Top seeds become targets in district tourney play

Thursday, January 31, 2002

Sioux Center one of 32 teams to receive reward of No. 1 seed.

DES MOINES - The Sioux Center boys basketball team has received its reward for its strong start this season.

Well, the Warriors hope it's a reward, anyway.

Sioux Center was among the 32 teams that were made No. 1 seeds in Class 2A and 1A district tournaments on Tuesday.

"It's kind of a feather in our cap," coach Todd Arends said. "But it also puts a big target on your back, so there's a tradeoff to it."

This is the second year the Iowa High School Athletic Association has seeded basketball teams at the district level. The association started the practice after coaches complained that two outstanding teams often were paired against each other in the first round.

Arends knows all about that. His team was ranked ninth in the state in Class 2A in 1999 and had to play No. 3 Orange City Unity Christian in the first round at Orange City. Unity won and went on to reach the state tournament.

"It's a good idea. It's a move in the right direction," said Arends, whose team is seeded No. 1 in Class 2A District 2. "It think it rewards a team for having a good regular season.

"I'm not sure it takes into account strength of schedule, but I don't know if you can have a perfect answer. Then you get into a BCS-type system and we saw what happened with that."

Sioux Center still might have to face Unity Christian in tournament play, but it would not be until the district final. Unity Christian is the No. 2 seed in that district.

The higher seeded teams play at home in the first round. All games after that are at neutral sites.

Seedings are determined by winning percentage through 15 games or games through Jan. 26. Head-to-head competition and strength of schedule are used to break ties.

"I was born and raised in Illinois and everything is seeded over there," said Danville coach Ken Laffoon, whose team is the defending 2A state champion and is seeded No. 1 in its district.

"This is more of what I did when I was in school. I like it."

Laffoon said any pressure from being seeded No. 1 would be no different from what his team already has faced as the defending champion. Danville has been ranked No. 1 all season and was 15-0 heading into Tuesday night's game with West Burlington.

"The kids have done a good job with it," Laffoon said. "They haven't done anything silly with it yet. They've had expectations all year. This is just another thing to throw on the pile."

Defending champion Pomeroy-Palmer, the state's top-ranked Class 1A team, is among the No. 1 seeds in that class. The Knights' long-time rival, Newell-Fonda, is seeded second in that district.

"The best thing about being a number one is you don't have a number two or number three in your bracket," Pomeroy-Palmer coach Brian Heide said.

Class 3A and 4A pairings will be announced next week. District tournaments begin on Monday, Feb. 18.

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