Crystal River High coach Jere DeFoor is trying to stay philosophical, but Lecanto High coach Ron Allan is not pleased with the opening matchups in the Class 2A, District 8 girls basketball tournament.
Lecanto (12-10), the defending district champion, is seeded No. 2 and Crystal River (9-12) is No. 3, and they'll face each other Friday at 8 p.m. in semifinal action. It will be the fourth meeting of the two teams this season.
"It just works out that way," DeFoor said. "We've played Hernando three times and they're not even in our district. To win at districts you have to play quality teams and you must win two times."
Lecanto defeated Crystal River 60-47 on Dec. 19 at the Sun Bank Big Four tournament in the first meeting of the two teams. The Pirates took the second game 49-44 in the Panthers' gym on Jan. 17, but Lecanto prevailed 54-52 in overtime on Feb. 7 in the Pirates' gym to take a 2-1 lead in the season series.
The prospect of a fourth game with Crystal River, the third in a little more than a month, holds no appeal for Allan.
"It bothers me a lot," he said. "There's no reason we should have to play them four times.
"We only play in one season tournament where we have to lock in on _ Sun Bank. If there was some way to get around that tournament at the beginning of the year it would be okay, but playing (Crystal River) four times is a little overkill."
South Sumter (2-17) and Dunnellon (3-13) are the lowest seeds and open tournament play at 7 p.m. today at Crystal River. The winner gets a date Friday at 6 p.m. with top-seeded Wildwood (17-4), and the Pirates and Panthers battle in the second game.
The Friday survivors advance to the title game Saturday at 7 p.m.
"Wildwood is a very good basketball team from everything I've been told," Allan said. "They have good scorers and rebounders and play defense. They're the team to beat."
The Wildcats didn't face Lecanto or Crystal River during the season, and DeFoor isn't looking past the Panthers.
"I don't know if anybody is thinking about Wildwood yet," DeFoor said. "Before anybody meets Wildwood, everybody has to win a game."
Where: Crystal River High School.
When: Today through Saturday.
What's at stake: A berth in the Region IV game Tuesday against the 2A-7 champion. The District 8 winner will be at home.
Defending champion: Lecanto defeated Wildwood 61-43 in the title game last year.
Today _ No. 5 South Sumter (2-17) vs. No. 4 Dunnellon (3-13), 7 p.m.
Friday _ Winner of Game 1 vs. No. 1 Wildwood (17-4), 6 p.m.; No. 3 Crystal River (9-12) vs. No. 2 Lecanto (12-10), 8 p.m.
Saturday _ Championship game, 7 p.m.