Thursday, July 5, 2012
Boston City League hoops to realign for 2012-13
By Brendan Hall
Earlier this week, the Boston City League boys basketball coaches voted 12-3 in favor of the three-tier alignment based on competitive balance, for the upcoming 2012-13 season.
The realignment was initially proposed last month by Latin Academy coach Danny Bunker and Snowden coach Megan Waterbury, and forwarded to the Boston area media. At the coaches' meeting on Monday, Bunker and Waterbury led the discussion in favor of the new alignment.
Starting this upcoming season, the divisions will look like this:
Division A East Boston
Division B Boston English
Division C South Boston
Berths for the City Championships will be awarded to to the first and second place teams from Division A, and the division champions from B and C. The Division A winner would face the Division C winner in the first round, while the A runner-up would face the B winner.
In addition to the eight home and away games that each team would be scheduled to play in its own division, teams from Division A would have three crossover games booked with teams from Division B, and two from Division C, for a total of 13 scheduled games.
Teams from Division B would have the three crossover games with teams from both Division A and Division C for a total of 14 scheduled games. Teams from Division C would have two crossover games with teams from Division A and three crossover games with teams from Division B for a total of 13 scheduled games.
All of these crossover games would be picked at random and would be for a two year home-and-away cycle. Each team would also be responsible to book enough extra games to meet Boston Public Schools Athletic Director Ken Still's minimum of 16 games on their schedule.
As far as the schedule dates themselves, that's in for a change too. Previously, the North teams played on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the South played on Wednesdays and Fridays. The three tiers will be mixing it up week to week.
"It's great for the city," said New Mission head coach Cory McCarthy. "It gives teams who haven’t been to City's in 10-plus years an opportunity to feel like they have a chance to compete to be in the City Tournament. It also gives teams in lower divisions the chance to go into the state tournament with better than a .500 record and not get matched up with a top seed every year, to actually get a possible home game."
Bunker and Waterbury presented recent history to the coaches, pointing out the dominance of Madison Park, East Boston and Charlestown over the last six seasons. Over that time, those three teams have a combined 139-5 record against Snowden, Latin Academy, Fenway and South Boston, with Snowden and Fenway having never beaten them.
"Someone in the room talked about how it breathes new life into the city, something to look forward to," Waterbury said. "I think it’s awesome. Quite a few of those coaches were excited about it."
She added with a chuckle, "You sportswriters get to see some good games every week."
In other words, Division A figures to deliver must-see action every week. Expect the five-team division to remain in MIAA basketball dialogue in preseason, throughout the regular season and beyond.
Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson was one of the few dissenters in the room, voicing his displeasure with the premise of the five de facto "power teams" of the league beating up on one another. Teams that would be aligned in Division A for 12-13 accounted for all but two spots in the Boston City Championships the last three seasons.
"I lost nine seniors from last season [2010-11], then I bounced back this year, but it wasn't a star-studded cast -- we overachieved," Wilson said. "You could have a situation where, say, Eastie or Charlestown or Brighton has a down year, and they could stand to lose 6-8 games right out the box.
"They make a good point, though, when they say English, Latin Academy, O'Bryant playing amongst each other is gonna be more competitive than having to play Charlestown, Madison, Mission. And they're right, I cant deny that."