By Tiffany L. Rehbein
To get from Havre to Dillon, 324 miles must first be crossed.
Because so much distance separates all the teams in the Central A division, Havre and Dillon posing the most distance, a point system was established to provide a fair evaluation when tournament-time rolled around.
Standard win-loss records are not the only things used to determine tournament standings. For example, this season, four of the top five teams in the Central A have a 13-5 record, Havre included. The No. 2 seed coming into the divisional tournament, the Dillon Beavers have the best record at 14-4.
However, due to strength of schedule, the Blue Ponies are the No. 1 seed with 50 seeding points.
Some of the Central A teams do not meet during the regular season. Havre has not met Belgrade (more than 300 miles separate the towns), Butte Central (269 miles to travel), or Livingston (287 miles between). Therefore, a point system was developed to insure a fair evaluation.
The seeding system, used only by the Central A, measures wins and losses, the strength of each teams schedule, whether or not the team wins on the road, and whether or not they are competing against teams in a higher classification, for example, a AA school.
This is how the point system breaks down:
1. 4 points if they beat a winning team on the road.
2. 3 points if they beat a losing team on the road.
3. 2 points is they beat a losing team at home.
4. 1 point if they lose a to a winning team on the road.
5. Add 1 point if they play a team with a higher classification.
For example, Havre defeated the Eastern AA Great Falls Bison at Great Falls. The Bison are a higher classification, Havre won on the road, and the Bison had a losing record. Those three factors played into the seeding points.
That same night, Oct. 19, Belgrade, a Central A team, defeated District 4-B Columbus at home. Columbus sported a losing record, was not in a higher classification, and the Panthers were at home.
Although both teams collected a win, the Blue Ponies gained more points that Tuesday in October, due to the tougher schedule.
With divisional beginning Thursday at Lewistown, Havre will meet the Anaconda Copperheads (6-12) at 6:30 p.m.
The two teams have met only once this season (they are 288 miles apart) at the Tip-off Tournament held Sept. 3-4, at Lewistown. Havre collected the 57-45 win.
Tiffany Shrauger nailed six 3-pointers in the contest. She is ranked ninth in 3-point percentage in the division, and fourth in 3-point goals with 21.
Junior Alyssa Matter has snatched 112 rebounds, averaging 6.2 per game for the Blue Ponies. Matter averages 46 percent from the field, the ninth-best in the division, and has nailed 16 3-pointers this season, the eighth-best in the league.
Nikki Baltrusch has 138 assists on the season, averaging 7.7 per game, to lead the division.
The Dillon Beavers (14-4) will enter in the No. 2 seed and will face the Park Rangers (6-12), from Livingston, at 12:30 p.m. Thursday to open the tournament.
At 2:00 p.m., No. 3-seed Browning Indians will meet the Butte Central Maroons (9-9).
The Fergus County Golden Eagles, of Lewistown, (13-5) will face the Panthers of Belgrade (13-5) for the final evening game.
The winners will advance to the Friday evening winners bracket, with the losers playing the afternoon session Friday.
Central A Standings
L Seed Pts Avg Off