Bob Coffey has taken teams to the basketball playoffs in Oklahoma and Missouri, states with different formats. He sees positives in both.
4 Oklahoma teams must wade through three layers of competition to reach the state tournament — district, regional and area. After the first round of district, play is double elimination.
4 Missouri teams start with an eight-team district. Survivors move to sectionals with those winners going to quarterfinals, semifinals and finally, the championship round.
4 In Texas, basketball uses a format similar to Oklahoma high school football, where the top four teams in eight-team districts advance to the playoffs.
“It’s like most things … there’s good and bad,” said Coffey, in his second season as girls’ coach at Seneca, Mo. He previously had been boys coach at Afton and Wyandotte.
Oklahoma’s playoffs begin Feb. 11 for Classes A and B and the following week for 4A through 2A.
Post-season play in Missouri doesn’t start until March 3 for Class 5 schools and March 9 for the other four classifications.
While Oklahoma’s playoffs run for about a month, Missouri’s is completed in less than two weeks — start to finish.
“We have eight-team single elimination tournaments,” he said. “You lose and you are done. It evens out when its all over. We start a little later but with the double elimination over there, it runs a little longer.”
Oklahoma’s state tournament in Classes A and B is March 4-6 while state for the remaining five classes runs March 11-13.
“If you have a really good ballclub that has a bad night, it’s not so good,” he said of Missouri’s format. “If you have had one of those seasons where you haven’t had such a good year, you have new life. You knock somebody off on a given night, suddenly you are in a position to go a long ways.”
The Lady Indians beat East Newton in the District 12 finals last season but lost to Fair Grove in the Bolivar sectional the following week.
“When you have a good record and a high seed going in, it puts more pressure on you,” Coffey said. “It’s great for the fans because the district tournament is electric. By the time you get to the semifinals and the finals, you have some quality teams playing for all the marbles already.”
Coffey’s current Seneca team, 11-5 after a 60-37 win over Aurora, Mo., on Monday, defeated Miami 56-35 two weeks ago.
“All of the No. 1 teams get a bye, so you have all the 2s, 3s and 4s from cross-districts playing each other,” said Miami coach Brian Busby, who coached at Killeen, Texas, before moving to Porter in 2005.
“There are no quarterfinals in Texas — if you make it to Austin (for the finals), you are one of four teams,” Busby said. “Those regional finals are some of the best basketball you will see; even better than the state tournament games.”