A quick glance at the playoff races

Photo by Aimee Herbert Exeter is still very much in the playoff hunt with a record of 4-3 in the Berks Boys' Basketball League.

Weíre getting down to the home stretch in the high school winter sports season so itís time to look at the playoff prospects of our local teams. There are still some league games to go on the schedule and many local teams are in the hunt for a division title or playoff spot.

Boysí Basketball

Exeter is very much in the hunt for at least a wild card berth in the Berks League playoffs, and could still finish in second place and get an automatic bid to the playoffs. Daniel Boone and Governor Mifflin will have to count on getting one of the wild card berths to make the playoffs.

The top two teams in the three divisions of the Berks League get a berth in the playoffs. The final two wild card teams are determined by power rankings. Thatís good news for teams from Division 1, who normally play tougher opponents in non-league games. Last year both wild card teams came from Division 1.

At 4-3 in the Berks League, Exeter is alone in third place with three games to go. The Eagles are a game behind Reading in second place, which is at 5-2. Yes, Exeter could catch the Red Knights, but in reality, it wonít be easy.

With three games remaining in league play, Exeter will most likely have to win all three of them. Obviously, the Eagles will have to defeat Reading in the final game of the regular season on Feb. 4 at Exeter. The Eagles also have a game remaining with Wilson, a team that is undefeated at 7-0, including two double digit wins over Reading. That means Reading will not have to play Wilson in its final three games.

That means that if Exeter is not able to beat Wilson on Jan. 28 (press deadline did not allow us to report the score of this game), Reading will have to lose to Daniel Boone at home on Jan. 31, in order for Exeter to have a shot at tying Reading for second place. The Blazers beat the Knights last year, so you never know.

Daniel Boone and Governor Mifflin at both 2-5 in the Berks League. Boone has games with both Reading and Wilson while Mifflin is done with Reading, and has one game left with Wilson.

Daniel Boone made the playoffs last year with a 5-5 record, so anything can happen, but it will be an uphill battle for both teams.

Girlsí Basketball

On the girlsí side, Exeter is definitely the surprise team in the league. After only winning two league games since the 2006-07 season, the Lady Eagles are very much in the playoff race, sitting alone in third place in Division 1 at 4-3. Their four wins is twice as many as they have had total in the last seven seasons.

As the case with the boys, the top two teams in the three divisions get a automatic berth in the playoffs, with two wild card teams being determined by power ratings.

The Lady Eagles are tied for third place with Governor Mifflin at 4-3. Wilson is pretty much a shoe-in for the division crown at 7-0, with Muhlenberg in second place a game ahead of Exeter and Mifflin.

The Lady Eagles will host Muhlenberg on Jan. 30, as one of their three remaining games. They will also play a game at Wilson and at Reading.

The Lady Mustangs have Wilson, Muhlenberg and Daniel Boone yet to go on their schedule.

Muhlenberg has already played Wilson twice, so the Muhls donít have to worry about the Bulldogs anymore. They also have games against Gov. Mifflin and Reading at home.

Having the opportunity to play the Lady Muhls on their home court is a big advantage for Exeter. But the Lady Eagles may have to upset the Bulldogs in West Lawn if they want to get the automatic ride to the playoffs.

But even if they donít get second place, Exeter is 13-3 overall this season which means its power rankings should be high, giving them a wild card berth.

Governor Mifflin will close out the season at Muhlenberg in a game that could decide second place. But the Muhls are tough at home and they beat the Mustangs in Shillington by five points on Jan. 14. The Mustangs may also have to upset Wilson if they want a shot at second place.

Daniel Boone is out of the playoff picture with an 0-7 league record. Reading is also out of the picture at 1-6.

Boysí Bowling

The three local teams have a shot at all making the playoffs, but there is still a ways to go so it wonít be easy.

Exeter and Governor Mifflin are battling it out for the top spot in Division 1. Thatís important because the two division winners get a bye in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs, while the second and third place finishers in both division meet up in the quarterfinals.

Exeter is currently in first place at 22-5, with Governor Mifflin right behind them at 19-5 with one match and three games in hand. If the Mustangs win that match by a 3-0 score, the two teams are lock up for first place with three matches left for each team.

Daniel Boone is in third place at 16-11 with three matches (nine games) left to go, but breathing down its neck is Muhlenberg at 14-10 and Wilson at 13-8. Wilson still has five matches left to go and could realistically finish out of a playoff spot, or vault into first place.

With so much action yet to go, itís pretty near impossible to make any real predictions at this point. Exeter has league matches with Twin Valley, Muhlenberg, Wilson and Governor Mifflin. Daniel Boone has Wilson, Governor Mifflin and Twin Valley left on its league schedule, and Mifflin has Reading, Daniel Boone, Exeter and Wilson yet to play.

Girlsí Bowling

Division 1 on the girls side is even more closely compacted. But one thing is for certain, Daniel Boone will not make the playoffs. At 2-25, itís been a rough season for the Lady Blazers.

For Exeter and Governor Mifflin, both teams are very much in the playoff hunt. Exeter is currently in fourth place at 16-11, with three matches remaining on its schedule. Governor Mifflin is in third place at 15-9, with four matches (and 12 games) left to go.

Twin Valley is alone in first place with a record of 21-6. Muhlenberg is right behind the Raiders at 17-7, and Wilson is hanging around at 13-8. With anywhere from nine to 15 games remaining on the schedule, anything can still happen.

Exeter has matches with Muhlenberg, Wilson and Governor Mifflin, the other three teams fighting for a playoff spot. That is bad news and good news. The bad news is that they have a tough schedule remaining. The good news is that with victories, they can knock the other teams below them in the standings.

The next two matches on Mifflinís schedule is with Reading and Daniel Boone, two teams that have a total of six wins this year. That should mean a pair of 3-0 victories for the Lady Mustangs. They then close out the season with matches against Exeter (Jan. 30) and Wilson (Feb. 3).

First Twin Valley has just three matches remaining, but two of them are dates with Daniel Boone and Reading. They too should pick up a pair of 3-0 wins in those matches, meaning it will be very tough for any team to catch Twin Valley.

As for the other four teams and two playoff spots, itís a real battle. Keep a close eye on this race. It should be a good one.

About the Author

Ric Webb is the sports editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at edwebb@berksmontnews.com or follow Ric on Twitter: @berksmontsports.