Bryan Hanks: It's time to fix the EC2A league tournament
The Greene Central boys’ basketball team played its tail off all season. The Rams (18-6 overall) finished the Eastern Carolina 2A conference race with an impressive 11-1 league record, its lone blemish a loss at Kinston on Jan. 29.
Common sense would dictate the Rams would get at least one home game in next week’s EC2A tournament, right?
Because of an inane and ridiculous EC2A rule, the top-seeded Greene Central boys will play the semifinals and finals at Kinston High School on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. They’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between North Lenoir and Ayden-Grifton on Wednesday at Viking Gym, then likely play Kinston on Friday for the EC2A tournament title, also at Viking Gym.
The reasoning behind this insanity is the EC2A rotates home games in the league tournament to higher girls’ seeds in odd-numbered years while playing at higher boys’ seeds in even-numbered years.
To wit: The Kinston girls earned the No. 1 seed in the EC2A this year (2019), so the corresponding No. 1 seed on the boys’ side – Greene Central – has to play its semifinal game at Kinston. Both No. 1 seeds received a quarterfinal bye since the EC2A is a seven-team league.
Since Kinston and Ayden-Grifton have the largest gymnasiums, the EC2A championship games are rotated between them. The championship games were played at A-G last season, so this is Kinston’s turn to host the title tilts this season.
The end result for Greene Central is not being able to host a single EC2A conference tournament game in a season in which the Rams have certainly earned the right to host at least one home game at the Rams Pen.
It also affects Kinston High School’s boys’ team – they finished second in the league, but have to play their quarterfinal game vs. South Lenoir at North Lenoir, since the NL girls finished second in the league this season.
You read that correctly – the second-seeded Kinston boys’ basketball team has to play against the seventh-seeded Blue Devils AT North Lenoir on Tuesday.
I’m assuming the reasoning behind this insanity is to be fair to girls’ basketball teams. If that’s the intention, I have a better solution – group all the girls’ conference quarterfinal and semifinal tournament games at one site (the higher seeds) and the boys’ league quarterfinal and semifinal tourney contests at the boys’ higher seeds. That way, you honor teams – boys’ and girls’ – for their regular season finishes without forcing ridiculous situations like having Kinston and South Lenoir playing at North Lenoir.
You can continue to play the championship games at the larger venues – A-G and KHS – since the EC2A splits the gate seven ways.
It’s common sense, y’all – it’s unfair to Greene Central, in the midst of one of its best regular seasons in history – to not be able to host a league tournament game.
Please fix this, powers-that-be at the EC2A.