Boys Basketball Playoff Preview

The Eagles look to advance and possibly earn a rematch with rival Bellwood


Anna Baran

The 2015-2016 varsity and jv boys basketball teams (left to right): Row 1: Gary Weaver, Parker Mitchell, Michael Lewis, Jake Meredith, RaShawn Hicks, Dylan Thomas, Joe Kohler, Andrew Lang Row 2: Zack Soellner, Alex Weaver, Anthony Politza, Andrew Ferguson, Hunter Anderson, Noel Politza, and Denver Light. – See more at:

After a convincing senior night win over BEA last week, the Tyrone Golden Eagles boys basketball team wrapped up the 2015-2016 regular season with a 14-7 record. Considering the relative youth and inexperience of much of Tyrone’s squad, that’s very respectable outcome for the Golden Eagles.  But none of the those wins or losses matter any more.  Coach George Gripp’s squad goes back to 0-0 tonight as they begin the District 6 playoffs against number five seed Bishop McCort at Bishop Carroll High School in Ebensburg at 6:00 pm.

This is an intriguing matchup as two teams did not play each other this year and have only two common opponents, Richland and Hollidaysburg

If their records against Richland are an indicator, that would put the Golden Eagles at a disadvantage.  McCort defeated Richland by 10 while the Golden Eagles lost to Richland by 20.  However, the Eagles know they had an off night against Richland and this being the playoffs, Coach Gripp and the Eagles will not let that happen tonight.

The records are nearly identical with McCort at 15-7 and Tyrone at 14-7.  However, McCort played some tougher matchups given that they are from Johnstown and play in the historically strong Laurel Highlands Conference.

At the top of the bracket, West Branch (2) and Bellwood (1) definitely look like the teams to beat with records of 20-2 and 21-2 respectively.

The third seed, Penns Valley, could also be a factor as well with their only losses coming from Bellwood and Mountain League rival Clearfield.

In the 6th vs 11th seed matchup on Wednesday, Juniata beat Central in a close game that came down to a failed Central buzzer beating three point shot, allowing Juniate to advance and face Penns Valley tonight in round two. Penns Valley demolished Central during the regular season, so they would be the obvious favorite to advance.   While the playoffs are a different monster and anything could happen, Penns Valley is the better team and should be able to pull this game out.

West Branch will have to beat Westmont, who took care of Ligonier Valley 67-47 on Wednesday.  While Westmont beat West Branch during the regular season by one point, West Branch’s explosive offense should prevail, leading in a matchup with Penns Valley.

Bellwood will look to conquer Richland, who defeated Central Cambria 79-64 in the first round on Wednesday. Richland, who also come from the Laurel Highlands Conference, is battle tested and cold give Bellwood a run. However, Bellwood’s experience should prevail, leading to a matchup with the winner of Tyrone vs. Bishop McCort.

If Tyrone prevails, local fans could get a Backyard Brawl resurrection with the Eagles getting an opportunity to avenge their opening game loss to the Blue Devils with a trip to the District championship game on the line. 

The playoffs are here and February could get a hint of March’s Madness. Tyrone looks to advance against McCort this Friday at Bishop Carroll at 6:00.