The high school basketball playoffs are here. Preliminary round games are Tuesday and Wednesday, and we hit the neutral sites in Bangor, Augusta and Portland on Friday.

Let’s take a minute to look at how we got from early December to here. Let’s talk about Heal points.

Just about everybody who follows Maine high school sports knows what Heal points are, but a majority of fans have no idea how they are calculated. The Heal points system rates teams during the course of a season. Basically, the more good teams you beat, the more Heal Points you get, and the higher seed you get when it’s time for the playoffs.

Heal points are the most unmysterious mysterious thing in the state. There’s this aura about them, like there’s three monks who live on the top of Mt. Katahdin, and they’re the only ones who can figure out the Heal points formula.

Or, as a society, we’re by and large lazy and stink at math, and we don’t want to figure the Heal points out. Let somebody else do the heavy lifting. It’s like making sausage. You know enough about how it’s done to know you don’t want to know the rest. You’ll just devour the finished product.

The Maine Principals’ Association provides an explanation and outline of how to calculate Heal points on its web page. This explanation is 636 words. It reads like a how-to manual for people who want to pull their hair out.

The first line of the MPA’s Heal point tutorial begins, “In the first step, the preliminary index of the school is ascertained.” This tells the reader the A) There are multiple steps, this is going to take a while, harpen your pencil and pack a lunch, and B) Some folks still use words like “ascertained” when a less fancy word like “determined” or “calculated” would do.

To determine a preliminary index, every win against a Class A team is worth 40 points. Class B wins are worth 35, Class C 30 and Class D 25. Add all the wins together and divide by the number of games played.

There. You have just calculated a preliminary index. You’re halfway there.

To get your school’s tournament index, the number that tells you if your team made the playoffs and if so, what seed will it be, is calculated by adding the preliminary index numbers of all the teams you beat, then dividing that number by the number of games on the schedule. Multiply by 10, and congratulations, you have just figured out Heal points.

Sometimes, all it takes is one win over a good team to propel you into the playoffs.

The Erskine (7-11) boys beat Brunswick (11-7) last week. Without that win, the Eagles are turning into their uniforms instead of washing their road blues and preparing for a preliminary round game at Cony.

The Buckfield boys (7-11) beat Valley (14-4) on a buzzer beating shot. That last-second shot bought the Bucks at least 32 more minutes of basketball, a prelim game against Seacoast Christian.

Every once in a while, after 18 games and a lot of math, you get a tie. In this year’s case, you get three ties.

The Medomak Valley and Oceanside girls tied for seventh in Eastern Class B tied for seventh place with 71.3272 points. They split a pair of regular season games, so there’s no head-to-head to break the tie.

The Dexter and Piscataquis girls tied for ninth place in Eastern Class C. Again, they split a pair of regular season games. Central and Stearns girls tied for third place in the same region. They didn’t play in the regular season. They jump right to the coin flip.

By now, you probably can’t wait to put your new knowledge to work. You’ll apply the Heal points formula to the teams in the NCAA bracket, the NBA, your fantasy baseball league.

Making the sausage doesn’t have to be messy. Not when you know the recipe.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.