The PIAA adding two more classes of competition worked to the Philadelphia Public League’s favor—at least in the first round of the state tournament.
The Pub teams won 10 of 13 games across the six classes.
West Philadelphia and Lincoln in 6A both won their first-ever state playoff games. Masterman in 2A and Audenried in 4A also won a state playoff game for the first time.
Since the Pub shares District 12 state playoff spots with the powerful Catholic League, these teams may not have made the tournament under the prior four-class system.
Of course, the usual contenders—Imhotep in 4A, Del-Val Charter in 3A and Math, Civics and Science and Constitution in 2A—also won their first rounders. But it’s a stretch to include these four among the rank-and-file Pub teams.
All four are stocked with the best players in Philly they can round up and lure to their schools.
Hempfield’s win over Allen gave District 3 6A five wins in six opening round games.
The big school class teams from District 3 had never won five first round games.
Whether this is any indication that District 3 basketball, at least among the big schools, can produce a state champion remains to be seen.
The last state champion in the big-school class was Harrisburg in 2002 in 4A.
“I’m proud to be part of the L-L League and proud to be part of District 3,” said Hempfield coach Danny Walck. “We have great players and great coaches in our district. It speaks for itself.”
In particular, it was a very impressive showing by the Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division.
Including regular season champion State College, which is the District 6 champion, the Commonwealth’s four teams in the tournament won their games—Harrisburg, Carlisle and Central Dauphin East in addition to the Little Lions.
No other league produced those kind of results on any level.
And there’s another bright note for District 3 6A teams. No Chester.
The Clippers are now a 5A team. In the state tournament, Chester had a 38-10 record against District 3 teams in the largest classification state tournament
By the way, the Clippers opened the tournament on Friday by defeating Milton Hershey. They get Hershey next.