TUESDAY, FEB. 6, 2007, 10:59 P.M.

What happened to that old Northeast B I used to know?


There was always something special about the Northeast B tournament.

For years Kim and I would make at least one night of the tournament, watching either the boys or girls – it didn't matter to us which – knowing we would see intense, go-for-broke basketball.

The tournament was one of those do-or-die events, with the coveted B tournament as the reward for the do part. Four Panorama and four Bi-County schools of each gender would come together, playing for three or four state berths, depending on the WIAA's formula that year.

The pressure was intense, especially those seasons when there were only three berths and four, five, maybe even six, deserving teams.

Spread over two weeks, the games became progressively more important, especially for the early losers. A team might come in 20-0 and then lose the first night to the fourth seed from the other league. All of a sudden three consecutive victories were not only needed, they were mandatory if the season wasn't to be considered a failure.

But not anymore.

Not with the addition of another B classification.

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