Bill Heaphy coaches

Taconic boys basketball coach Bill Heaphy has his team ranked No. 1 in Class B as the PVIAC releases its first Western Mass. rankings.

The Western Massachusetts tournaments in the fall were rousing successes. So the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference, of which the 11 Berkshire County high schools are members, are doing it again.

The eight-team Western Massachusetts basketball and four-team hockey tournaments will be held in late February, bridging the gap between the end of the regular season and the start of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s statewide tournaments.

The first series of ratings for the Western Mass. tournaments were unveiled on Jan. 28. In basketball, the Taconic boys along with the Taconic, Wahconah and Hoosac Valley girls, are all No. 1 seeds in their respective class tournaments.

In the fall, the Lee volleyball team won a Western Mass. Class D title, beating Mount Greylock. Four Berkshire teams reached the championship games of the Western Mass. soccer tournaments. The Mount Greylock and Mount Everett boys, along with the Mount Greylock and Lenox girls were beaten in their respective finals.

The basketball tournament was set up for the last week prior to the seeding for the state tournament, and will consist of quarterfinal and semifinal rounds that count toward a team’s potential seeding. Championship games will not count toward the MIAA’s final rating.

The PVIAC has established four classes for its tournaments. The classes are divided up by size of the school.

Any tourney team that loses in the first round, will get to play in a consolation game. Teams that do not play in the Western Mass. tournament will get two more games.

The basketball quarterfinal round, for boys and girls, will be played on Monday, Feb. 21. The semifinal round will be played on Wednesday, Feb. 23, while the championship games are set for Saturday, Feb. 26. The sites and times of the games will be determined at a later date.

Hockey will have four teams with No. 1 playing No. 4 and 2 vs. 3. The semifinals will be on Monday, Feb. 21 or Tuesday, Feb. 22, and the championship games on Thursday, Feb. 24.

According to the MIAA Basketball Page, the cutoff date for games to count is Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. The brackets are scheduled to be revealed the next day, with preliminary-round play set for Monday, Feb. 28.

Boys Basketball

Coach Bill Heaphy’s Green and Gold are the No. 1 team in the Class B ratings, as of Jan. 28, when they were released.

Taconic, listed at 9-1, is one of four Berkshire County schools in Class B. Based on the Week 1 rankings, three of those schools would have first-round home games.

Taconic, Springfield International, Wahconah and Monument Mountain make up the top four teams in the Class B field. The second four are Belchertown, Pittsfield, South Hadley and Frontier.

If these seeds hold up, Wahconah would end up playing Pittsfield at home for the second time in a week. That’s because the historic rivals are scheduled to play each other in the Feb. 16, regular-season finale.

Taconic is also currently the No. 1 team in the MIAA Division V rankings.

In Class C, Drury is the No. 2 seed, followed by No. 3 Mount Greylock. The two Berkshire County squads trail Paulo Friere in the rankings.

The rest of the top eight are, in order, Renaissance, Lenox, Palmer, Greenfield and Franklin Tech.

Drury and Greylock are both currently in the MIAA Division V top 10, with the Blue Devils fourth and the Mounties ninth.

Hoosac Valley is ranked second behind Baystate Academy of Springfield in the Class D Top Eight. The Hurricanes are also fifth in the MIAA D-V rankings.

The rest of the tournament field, as of Week 1, is No. 3 Pioneer Valley, followed by Hopkins Academy, Granby, Smith Academy, Mount Everett and Lee.

Girls Basketball

Like in boys basketball, there are no Berkshire teams in Class A. So, jumping to Class B, Wahconah is the top-ranked team there.

The Warriors, who play in Division IV, are one of three Western Mass. teams ranked No. 1 in their respective MIAA divisions.

Wahconah, No. 4 Pittsfield and No. 6 Monument are the three Berkshire teams in Class B. South Hadley is second, Easthampton third, Southwick fifth, with Frontier and Belchertown rounding out the top eight.

Pittsfield and Belchertown are the Division III teams in Class B, and the other six in the top eight are in D-IV. PHS is ranked eighth in the state and Belchertown 19th.

Taconic is the only school in Western Mass. with both its boys and girls teams ranked No. 1 in their Class. The boys are in Class B, and Matt Mickle’s team is in Class C. The Green and Gold were ranked second in Division V across the state. The top eight teams in Class C are all Division V teams, and any one of them could show up in Taconic’s bracket come the end of February.

Springfield International, the former Sabis, is ranked second and is third in the state. Drury is ranked third in Class C and fifth in Division V.

After Drury, the rest of the top eight are Palmer, Franklin Tech, Mount Greylock, McCann Tech and Greenfield.

Holly McGovern’s Hoosac Hurricanes are not only No. 1 in Western Mass. Class D, but No. 1 in Division V. The Hurricanes are one of three Berkshire County teams in the top eight in Class D. Lee is ranked third and Mount Everett is eighth. Lenox sits in ninth spot in Class D, and with a run, could make it into the top eight.

Monson is ranked second in Class D. After Lee, the rest of the top eight include No. 4 Turners Falls, Granby, Smith, Pioneer Valley and the Eagles.

Ice Hockey

As of Week 1, none of the three Berkshire teams are in the top four that would play for a Western Mass. title.

When the first rankings came out, Wahconah was sixth and Drury was seventh. That might flip after the Blue Devils beat the Warriors Friday night.

Chicopee Comp, Chicopee, Belchertown and Greenfield are the top four teams, followed by South Hadley, Wahconah, Drury and Southwick.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6253.

Sportswriter-Columnist

Howard Herman is a sports columnist at The Berkshire Eagle. The dean of full-time sportswriters in Western Mass., he has been with the Eagle since 1988, and is a member of the New England Baseball and Basketball Hall of Fame.