Mars basketball set for playoffs
Butler Eagle
Written by:
February 18, 2013

GREEN TREE — It has already been a historic year for the Mars boys basketball program, but coach Rob Carmody is hoping several more chapters will be written in the story of the 2012-13 season.

The Planets received a first-round bye in the upcoming WPIAL Class AAA playoffs after earning a No. 2 seed.

Chartiers Valley (19-3) is the top seed.

“Seeding is just a way to validate what you did during the regular season,” said Carmody at Tuesday night's pairings meeting at the Doubletree Hotel. “We just turned in the most successful regular season in program history, but now everybody is 0-0.”

Mars (19-3) won the first outright section title in the school's history with a perfect 12-0 mark in Section 1. On Tuesday and at a site and time to be determined, the Planets will face the winner of Friday's clash between South Park and Steel Valley.

“We know we're going to be playing high-quality basketball teams from here on,” added Carmody. “If we don't play well Tuesday, our season could be over.

“Between now and our game, we are scrimmaging Hampton, Sto-Rox and New Castle,” he added.

Getting to the playoffs hasn't been a problem for the Mars girls, but the Planets are looking for improved staying power.

Mars qualified for the postseason in each of Tony Howard's first five seasons with the team, but the program's record in district playoff games in that span was just 2-5.

Mars will begin what it aims to be a long playoff run against Section 4 champ Elizabeth-Forward (20-2) Wednesday at a site and time to be determined.

“We played them last year,” said Howard of a 40-34 loss in Dec. 2011. “I know they have a lot of size inside.”

Howard is pleased with his squad's second-place finish in Section 1-AAA behind Hampton.

“As a coach, you'd like to win them all,” he said, “but there are a lot of good teams and good players out there. I am happy with the growth we've had this season.”

All five of the Planets' WPIAL tournament defeats under Howard have come by between six and nine points, including last year's first-round loss to South Fayette (35-28).

“The top girls in our rotation all have playoff experience,” said Howard. “That's a big factor because they know what to expect.

“Like last year, we're getting a long layoff,” he added. “We have to make sure we remain at game speed.”