Every team dreams of having the No. 1 seed for the postseason.
It's a sign of accomplishment during the regular season, and supposedly it makes it an easier run through the sectional bracket.
But sometimes, that top seed can be a little deceiving, and not worth quite so much in a loaded tournament bracket.
KEVIN PIERSON The Marietta Times
Waterford's Austin Hilverding (14) flips the ball towards a teammate after gathering in a loose ball as Eastern's Zakk Heaton (5) and Kirk Pullins (35) defend during the second quarter of a boys' basketball game at Waterford Elementary School last Friday night. Waterford won 51-39.
Of the 19 boys' basketball teams in the Athens district, 11 of them had winning records at the time of the tournament draw.
None of the four or five seeds have fewer than 10 wins, and in the bottom bracket the four and five teams combine for a 27-9 record.
Some teams, like the Marietta Tigers, even have deceiving records based on strength of schedule.
"Our schedule has definitely got us ready for the second season. That's what we're looking to take care of," said Marietta boys' basketball coach J.D. Secrest.
Only two teams in the district had posted fewer than seven wins at the time of the draw, and only three were more than two games away from being .500.
That just goes to show anything can, and often does, happen.
"When it comes down to it, it's who's the best team that night and who plays best that night. It's not the NBA best of three series," said Warren boys' basketball coach Blane Maddox.
The Warriors secured the No. 1 seed in Division II for their sectional, and will face the winner of New Lexington and Gallia Academy at 3 p.m. at Logan High School on Feb. 25. Chillicothe took the No. 1 seed in the other Div. II sectional in the Athens district.
A win in that game, and it's time to face a team that's guaranteed to have at least 14 wins.
"You don't want to over look anything. The thing about the four and the five, they're quality teams," Maddox said.
The Fort Frye Cadets also secured a top seed for the sectional, and they have a slightly easier run as the Cadets will face the winner of No. 7 West Muskingum and No. 4 Martins Ferry at 7 p.m. at Meadowbrook High School on Feb. 27.
"We feel good about it. The nice thing about it is we're playing different teams and we like that," said Fort Frye basketball coach Dan Liedtke.
Fort Frye was 14-3 at the time of the draw, and boasts one of the area's premiere players in junior guard Shon Smith.
Smith is averaging 19.1 points a contest while fellow guard senior Zach Eddy is chipping in 12.3 per game.
The Cadets are in the bracket where they will have to win just one game to claim a sectional title. But while they have a shorter tournament run to get to the districts than some teams, they're not about to believe their victory assured. They still have to play the game.
"We don't want to take anything for granted. We go by one game at a time. We don't want to talk about anything past our next game. Right now we have the OVAC (Ohio Valley Athletic Conference) championship game on Saturday and that's where we're focusing right now," Liedtke said.
After the OVAC title game on Saturday, the Cadets have a rescheduled game with Warren on Tuesday before beginning the tournament run on Feb. 27.
"It's a new season. Tournament is a new season. You take everything that you've learned, your experiences, how a team gels together, the chemistry and everything, at this point there's not much new or anything you're going to add," Liedtke said. "You just have to go play."
Marietta, which took a No. 5 seed in the opposite Div. II sectional from Warren, will face No. 4 Sheridan at 7 p.m. on Feb. 25. That game is also set to take place at Logan High School.
"Sheridan is a nice ball club. They play in a pretty tough conference in the MVL," Secrest said. "If we're not ready to play against Sheridan we'll be going home."
The Tigers were 10-8 at the draw, and of the 20 games on Marietta's schedule 15 of them are against Division I or Division II opponents.
"We think we're playing pretty good basketball right now and we want to keep improving on that," Secrest said.
In the Div. III sectional at Meadowbrook, two area teams will face each other as Pioneer Valley Conference foes Monroe Central and Shenandoah will play at 3 p.m. on Feb. 25.
The Zeps, which were 13-5 at the time of the draw, took the three seed while Monroe Central, which was exactly the opposite of the Zeps at 5-13, was given a five seed.
Belpre's Golden Eagles also play on Feb. 25 as they will face Zane Trace at 7 p.m. at Athens High School.
A year after winning just seven games, Belpre improved dramatically as the Golden Eagles were 13-5 at the time of the draw and rewarded with a No. 3 seed in their sectional at Athens. Belpre is 14-5 after beating Reedsville Eastern on Tuesday and guaranteed at least a share of the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division crown.
Waterford's Wildcats also secured a three seed in their Division IV sectional at Meigs High School where the Waterford boys will face Symmes Valley at 8 p.m. on Feb. 28.
The Wildcats were 9-7 at the time of the draw and had won nine of their last 11 games after beginning the year 0-5.
Symmes Valley was 7-10 at the time of the draw.
In the Div. II sectional at Zanesville, the Morgan Raiders got a tough draw.
Morgan, which was 1-17 at the time of the draw and 2-17 after a win Tuesday night, will face top seeded John Glenn, a Muskingum Valley League opponent, at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at Zanesville High School.
Federal Hocking, which was 10-8 at the draw, took a five seed in Div. III and will play Ross Southeastern at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at Athens High School.
In the Division IV sectional at Union Local the Caldwell Redskins claimed a five seed and will face No. 2 Beallsville at 6 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Union Local.
Caldwell was 7-12 at the time of the draw and ended the regular season 7-13 after losing to Wood County Christian on Tuesday evening.
The Frontier Cougars have the earliest of the boys' sectional games as Frontier will play on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.
Frontier, which was 2-16 at the draw, was the No. 8 seed and will face No. 4 Barnesville at Union Local.
No matter what seed a team may have drawn, once the tournament starts the only thing that matters is how many points are put on the scoreboard. It's entirely possible that an 11 seed can knock off a one, and that's what can make the tournament so much fun.
"It's what people love. One game and anything can happen," Maddox said. "Once the tournament starts we won't be saying anything about one seed, four seed, five seed."