Parity might be the key word when subdistrict tournaments begin in classes C-1, C-2, D-1 and D-2 on Monday.
Some area teams find themselves in wide-open subdistricts where a number of teams seem to have legitimate shots at moving on to district finals.
As always, geography determines the strength (or weakness) of a subdistrict.
When the pairings are officially released by the Nebraska School Activities Association on Thursday, four area teams should be the top seed in their subdistrict field:
>> Central City (Class C-1, Subdistrict 9 at Northwest): This looks to be the leader of the wide-open subdistricts.
The Bison (10-10) are the only of the five teams without a losing record. The Bison are 1-1 against the other teams, beating St. Paul 43-40 and losing to Wood River 36-34.
Look at some of the other scores between these subdistrict teams: St. Paul 34, GICC 32; GICC 42, Wood River 40; St. Paul 38, Adams Central 35; Wood River 53, Adams Central 46, OT; St. Paul 37, Wood River 33, OT.
Anybody see a trend?
Whoever wins this subdistrict will have earned it...along with a district date against a subdistrict that includes the only two undefeated teams left in the state, Minden and Kearney Catholic.
That C1-10 subdistrict sees Centura (16-7) as a distant third seed.
>> Hastings St. Cecilia (Class C-2, Subdistrict 8 at Minden): After their mid-January schedule gauntlet of doom, the Hawkettes have returned to their winning ways and picked up nine straight victories.
Blue Hill (17-1) should be the strongest challenger for St. Cecilia in this subdistrict. The Bobcats suffered their only loss to the Hawkettes 45-32 on Dec. 13.
Class C-2 could provide a loaded state tournament field. Crofton and St. Cecilia, the top two teams last year, sit atop the wild-card standings. A Shelby-Rising City team with Illinois recruit Chatrice White and a 19-1 record is currently seventh.
It’ll be interesting to see which teams do get to Lincoln and what first-round battles await.
>> Ravenna (Class C-2, Subdistrict 11 at Broken Bow): The Bluejays (16-6) are the only team with a winning record in this subdistrict.
Ravenna is battle-tested. Its losses have come to Kearney Catholic, Centura, Minden and Sutton, teams that are a combined 73-14. And the Bluejays avenged their two losses to Centura in the Lou-Platte Conference Tournament.
Dundy County-Stratton (19-2) likely awaits the C2-11 winner in the district final.
>> Giltner (Class D-2, Subdistrict 7 at Adams Central): The Hornets sit in second place in the wild-card standings as they begin their pursuit of a third-straight trip to the state tournament.
Silver Lake (11-8) is the other team in the subdistrict with a winning record.
Just like last year with Hampton, Giltner gets an early preview of a potential postseason matchup to end the regular season.
This time the Hornets travel to Silver Lake on Thursday.
Northwest close to home
Northwest once again won’t have to travel far when district play begins in Class B on Feb. 25.
The B-5 district tournament will be held at Grand Island Senior High.
The tournament could feature another showdown between the No. 4-rated Vikings and No. 5 Holdrege, teams that split a pair of meetings in a seven-day span already this month.
Aurora, Hastings and Lexington round out the district’s field.
Northwest still has three regular-season games left on its schedule, including Friday’s home match-up against No. 7 Beatrice.
Dale Miller covers girls basketball for the Independent.