The possibilities are dizzying when you try and guess who teams still alive in the basketball playoffs might have in their futures.

Even if you know a team is moving on, there is no definitive where.

The truth is that there are umpteen ways it could all shake out, but three things are for sure:

1) That win or lose, Lourdes' boys and girls and Line Mountain's girls are in the state playoffs.

2) Mount Carmel's girls and Southern Columbia's boys need one win in their next two games to join the party.

3) Shamokin's girls must win tonight against Shikellamy to get back to the PIAA state playoffs after taking a one-year hiatus.

Class A in District 4, which Lourdes' boys and girls and Line Mountain's girls all belong to, send four teams to the state playoffs in both boys and girls. That means that with their wins last week, all three earned a berth in the Class A field.

All three could help their lots by winning as many games in the District 4 playoffs as possible, although either the Red Raiders' girls or Eagles' girls are guaranteed a loss if they play each other in the finals.

Looking ahead to the state bracket for Class A, the winner of District 4 plays the third place out of District 6; D-4 runner-up plays District 11 runner-up; D-4 third plays D-2 second and D-4 fourth plays D-3 champ. Preferential placement is given to both District 4 champ and runner-up for those first round games, which for both Lourdes and Line Mountain were at Shamokin last year.

It's worth looking at which teams are still alive in the respective brackets that could feed matchups with our local teams. In District 3, defending state champ Steel-Hi and Lebanon Catholic, a team currently in the honorable mention category of state rankings, are both playing semifinal games tonight. District 11's semifinal games are Wednesday, and Tri-Valley, Nativity, Notre Dame-Green Pond and Marian Catholic are still in the hunt there, while District 6 appears to be a dangerous place, too, with both Bishop Guilfoyle and Homer Center alive and highly ranked in the state. The first round for girls' Class A is Saturday, March 10.

On the boys' side of Class A, the possible district matchups are the same, although for obvious reasons, the possible teams are different. To win District 4, the Red Raiders need to get past St. John Neumann on Wednesday and then most likely Sullivan County, which is an honorable mention-calibre team, in the finals. If the Red Raiders win it all in District 4, they would play the third-place team out of D-6, which could be Northern Cambria, Glendale, Bishop Guilfoyle or Bishop Carroll. Their semis are Tuesday. Runner-up in D-4 means a date with either Mahanoy Area, Lincoln Leadership, Pius X and Marian Catholic. Third or fourth place in the district means either the runner-up or champ from District 3, respectively, and include Greenwood and New Hope Academy as possible opponents. The first round of the state playoffs for boys' Class A is Friday, March 9.

Only three teams move on from District 4 Class AA in boys and girls, which means that Mount Carmel's girls and Southern Columbia's boys, both playing in the semis tonight, need to win either tonight, or in the following consolation game to move on.

For Mount Carmel, a district championship means playing the third-place team out of District 2, a runner-up finish means playing the District 2 champ and a third-place finish earns a date with the runner-up from District 3. District 2's semis are tonight with Montrose, Riverside, Dunmore and Mid-Valley still in it. York Catholic and Delone Catholic, each ranked highly in the state, play Thursday in the District 3 championship. The first round of the state playoffs for girls' Class AA is Friday, March 9.

For Southern's boys, a trip to the state playoffs means a game with a District 2 team. District 4's champ plays District 2's third-place team, D-4 runner-up plays D-2 runner-up and the D-4 third-place team plays the D-2 winner. Simple enough, right? The teams still alive in the District 2 bracket are Holy Cross, Riverside, Lakeland and Meyers, which is state ranked. Three teams from District 4, including Southern, were named as honorable mentions. The others were Loyalsock and Athens, which the Tigers play tonight. The first round of the state playoffs for boys' Class AA is Saturday, March 10.

For Shamokin's girls, the recipe to get to the state playoffs is simple - win tonight. If the Indians go on to win the district title, they'll play the runner-up from District 2, if they lose in the championship game, they'll get the winner of District 11. Teams still playing in District 2 are Dallas, Honesdale, Nanticoke and Scranton Prep. Teams still playing in District 11 are Allentown Central Catholic, Jim Thorpe, Bethlehem Catholic and Southern Lehigh. The first round of the state playoffs for girls' Class AAA is Saturday, March 10.


We tried to warn you.