Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Realignment is Coming! Maybe.....

So when I got up this morning I did something I rarely do first thing, I looked at the TU's High School Basketball page.  When what to my wondering eyes did appear, but an article from Eric Medved outlining how Schuylerville has petitioned to join the Foothills next season.  Within that post is a link to an article from the Post Star which states that the Foothills didn't want to add a single team, giving them 9, rather to add two teams giving them an even 10.  It also mentions that in 2011 Amsterdam similarly petitioned the league to join and was rejected for the same numbers reason. 

Now, realignment, as you may know, is one of my two favorite things to think about when discussing high school basketball, Sectionals being the other.  In fact, I posted a article myself on it back in March, realigning the whole Section.  The problem with that realignment of course is that I didn't have Schuylerville or Amsterdam in the Foothills.  In theory, I agree with Schuylerville's premise for wanting to move.  I am actually a proponent of playing as tough a schedule as you can and believe by doing so you increase your chances in Sectionals. 

What I don't agree with is that the Wasaren isn't a good enough league to make that happen.  While it's true the Foothills has larger schools, that hasn't translated to more championships for its B schools in boys basketball.  Since the 03-04 season, the first with a AA bracket, the Foothills has won 1 B championship and lost 1 more.  The Wasaren has won 3 and lost 4 more.  Five of those six were Schuylerville, so the league most be doing something right.  The class of the B field is of course the Colonial who has won 5 and lost 3 more.  That being said, it's only one more total appearances than the Wasaren. 

In total over all classes, the Foothills has won 5 championships and lost 7.  The Colonial has won 9 and lost 6 and the Wasaren has won 7 and lost 11.  Championship teams are just that, regardless of class.  Last year we saw Class D State Champion Argyle beat Class C State Champion Lake George on two separate occasions.  We're splitting hairs, all three are good conferences and produce Champions.

Now, on to the real question.  How am I going to correct my realignment scenario.  If you look through my original post you'll see I had two divisions in the Wasaren, one including Schuylerville.  Fixing this is actually not as hard as other problems this will create so I'll get it out of the way now.  Your new Wasaren League:

Boys and Girls
Saratoga Catholic

Hoosic Valley
Hoosick Falls

While I don't love the fit, I think it's the best available.  Of the teams on Eric's list, I had already added Spa Catholic and Mechanicville.  Waterford already petitioned the League for entrance when they were kicked out of the Colonial and were denied.  That would leave Maple Hill and South Glens Falls.  The latter wouldn't work if the Foothills really does want 10 teams, they aren't about to get rid of one, not to mention their enrollment is double all the teams in the Wasaren.  Maple Hill is a good choice for a couple reasons, they are comparably sized and a competitive program which the League should want.  The negatives however are the distances they would have to travel with the northern schools still in the league and the removal of Tamarac (who is closer) doesn't make things any better.  

The reason Rensselaer makes more sense is that they are closer, and they don't fit as well where they currently are being the smallest school in the Patroon (which is on average a larger enrollment conference than the Wasaren).  They are also a fairly decent program most years.  They played Hoosic Valley to 5 points in Sectionals last year.  This would also reduce the Patroon from 9 to 8 teams which I'm happier with.  They aren't my favorite choice, but they are certainly the easiest.

Where the problems come in is with Amsterdam moving out of the Big 10, which would leave them with only 9 teams.  After looking at it, I don't see an easy answer.  No other comparable league I've created has more than 8 teams so if I move a team out, I have to move another in from somewhere else.  Those movements could trickle down all the way to the Adirondack League.  I think the best thing to do is leave it at 9 and call it, what else but, the Big 9.  Albany Academy doesn't appear to want to be in the League anyway, so perhaps it would just be 8 after all.  

While that solution makes me more disappointed than moving Rensselaer into the Wasaren, I think it makes the most sense.  What I love best about talking realignment is that there is no right or wrong way to do it.  I have literally tried hundreds of different scenarios and even tried to develop a formula based on distances and enrollment variances (which failed miserably with my weak programming skills).  No matter what I come up with I can still poke holes in it.  There just isn't a perfect grouping.  

Moving Schuylerville from the Wasaren creates a myriad of issues.  There's no guarantee any of the teams Eric or I have listed actually want to go to the Wasaren.  If I had to move just one team into the Wasaren, it would probably be Saratoga Catholic mostly because they don't belong where they are and they are a good fit geographically whereas Mechanicville, though they fit the geography, they are probably happy where they are.  

What makes me happy about it however is that someone is actually talking about it. I love this stuff.

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