By David Fong
MIAMI COUNTY — The battle lines have been drawn in what is perhaps the toughest girls basketball sectional bracket in the state.
Going into Sunday’s draw, three Division II teams — Tippecanoe, Carroll and Trotwood-Madison — all were ranked seventh or better in the Associated Press state poll. All three teams also are in the Tecumseh sectional bracket, meaning a showdown between at least two of the teams was pretty much inevitable.
Carroll, ranked third in the Division II state poll going into the tournament draw, earned the No. 1 seed and went into the lower half of the 14-team bracket.
Tippecanoe, the No. 7 team in the state and No. 2 seed in the draw, went into the top half of the bracket, where they were soon joined by Trotwood-Madison, the No. 6 team in Ohio and the No. 3 seed in the sectional.
That sets up a potential rematch between Greater Western Ohio Conference foes Tippecanoe and Trotwood in the sectional finals in a matchup probably more suited for the district or regional level.
In a Jan. 21 meeting between the two teams, Tippecanoe defeated Trotwood 35-32.
Before Tippecanoe and Trotwood can start thinking about a rematch, however, they both will have to play their way into the sectional final.
The Red Devils open the tournament with a Feb. 18 match-up against No. 12 Graham. Should the Red Devils win, they would move on to the sectional semifinals against No. 10 Urbana, which took a bye through the first round.
Here’s how the tournament draw went for the rest of Miami County’s teams:
Troy, the No. 15 seed in the Dayton 1 sectional, opens the tournament against No. 16 Xenia Feb. 18 at Butler High School. When the two teams played on Jan. 25, Troy beat Xenia 36-32.
Should Troy win, it would face the winner of No. 2 Springboro vs. No. 19 Springfield in the sectional semifinals Feb. 21.
Piqua, the No. 20 seed, will face top-seeded Wayne in the opening round of the Dayton 2 sectional. The winner plays No. 21 West Carrollton in the sectional semifinals.
Tippecanoe is the lone Division II team in Miami County.
Milton-Union, the No. 4 seed, will face No. 8 Anna in the first round of the Franklin-Monroe 2 sectional. The winner will move on to face the winner of No. 6 Carlisle vs. No. 7 Preble Shawnee in the sectional semifinals.
Miami East, seeded No. 10, will play No. 9 National Trail in the opening round of the Franklin-Monroe 3 sectional. The winner will face No. 11 Dayton Christian in the next round.
Bethel, the 12th seed in the Franklin-Monroe 1 sectional, will face No. 5 Madison in the opening round. The winner will face No. 13 Dixie.
Perhaps in an effort to stay away from Tri-Village — the No. 2 team in the state and the No. 1 team in the Brookville sectional — the second, third and fourth seeds in the sectional all went into the top half of the bracket, away from the Patriots.
That sets up an intriguing first-round match-up, as No. 2 Covington will take on No. 3 Miami Valley. The winner will face No. 11 Twin Valley South.
Bradford, seeded ninth, will face No. 8 Yellow Springs in the first round. The winner will meet No. 4 Southeastern.
In the lower half of the Brookville bracket, No. 5 Newton will open against No. 10 Tri-County North. The winner of that game will move on to face the winner of No. 5 Franklin-Monroe vs. No. 7 Legacy Christian.
Troy Christian picked up the No. 5 seed in the Sidney sectional The Eagles took a bye through the first round and will face the winner of No. 4 Botkins vs. No. 8 Houston.
Lehman, the No. 9 seed, will take on No. 2 Russia in the opening round. The winner will advance to face No. 6 Mechanicsburg.
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong