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Sowing seeds of confusion: With playoff win, Lewis has unenviable task of playing city’s best team

When the seeding for the PSAL Class AA girls' basketball playoffs were released last week, Eisenberg, the Francis Lewis coach, was stunned. He saw his Patriots seeded eighth and a team they just beat a week earlier, Thomas Jefferson, at No. 3."They discounted it as a bad day for Jefferson, which is ridiculous," Eisenberg said. "When they were up by 21 points against us in the second quarter, were they having a bad day?"He understands why the Orange Wave were seeded ahead of his team by a committee of coaches and PSAL officials. Both were division champions, but Jefferson (14-2 Brooklyn AA Group 2) beat August Martin and South Shore and split with Midwood in the regular season, while Francis Lewis (12-3) lost to Midwood and South Shore and split a pair of games with August Martin. Eisenberg is just unclear with the disparity between the two teams."As the 3-seed, Jefferson is one of the elite teams in the city and we beat them," he said. "Shouldn't that count for something?"If Lewis beats James Madison, a team the Patriots already have beaten in the regular season, in the second round Wednesday at home, it will face Murry Bergtraum in the quarterfinals. Bergtraum is the reigning New York State Federation champion and ranked No. 2 in the country by USA Today. The Patriots have also lost to the Blazers in the playoffs seven out of the last eight years, with five of those times coming in the city championship game."Of course, no one wants to play Murry Bergtraum," Eisenberg said.There are other issues with the seeding, as well, according to area coaches. The perception is that No. 7 Manhattan Center was given the easiest road to the city championship game March 16 at Madison Square Garden. Midwood coach Artie LaGreca felt like Manhattan Center had a better resume than his team, which was seeded sixth. Manhattan Center will play No. 10 August Martin in the second round Wednesday at home and if the Rams upset No. 2 McKee/Staten Island Tech, a very winnable game for them, they are expected to meet Jefferson in the semifinals with a chance to go to the Garden on the line."I was very surprised I was 6," LaGreca said. "I expected to be 7 after my win over [Francis Lewis]...I thought there was a chance we'd get dropped to 8."In its bracket, Manhattan Center will avoid Bergtraum and Bronx power John F. Kennedy. What raised eyebrows to some coaches was the presence of Shavon Glover, the PSAL's assistant girls' basketball commissioner, as part of the committee. Glover is an administrator at Manhattan Center and the former girls' basketball coach at the Harlem school."It was all set up for Manhattan Center and everyone thinks that," Eisenberg said. "It's just not right...[Glover is] a wonderful woman and I don't believe she'd out and out cheat, but when you're in that room, you can sway the committee."Glover could not be reached for comment and Virginia Matthews, the PSAL's girls' basketball commissioner, did not return phone calls from the TimesLedger.Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at mraimondi@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

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