District 1 Basketball Playoff Landscape

Fernando Castro

(UNOFFICIAL RANKINGS: PER cityofbasketballlove.com)
The high school basketball has ended. That is, the regular season. Trophies. Memories. Legacies. These are forged in the district and state playoffs of Pennsylvania high school basketball. This state is one of the most competitive in the country when producing basketball players, whether they come from the suburbs of Chester or the city blocks of Philadelphia. The postseason is an exciting time for most basketball players and fans alike, and the view is clearing up of who will be competing, and who will be watching from the outside. The creation of the 5A and 6A divisions in the PIAA basketball leagues sees a shuffle of teams that originally all packed into the crowded 4A division that held the top of the league last year. Radnor’s own central league saw a split of teams. Originally all occupying 4A, this year the central leagues top half graduated to 6A: Lower Merion, Conestoga, Ridley, Garnett Valley, Upper Darby, and Haverford. The rest moved into 5A: Harriton, Springfield, Marple Newtown, Penncrest, Strath Haven, and your Raiders. Due to this, these teams now compete in smaller divisions, making it more possible to enter the postseason. Last year, all 12 teams competed in 4A and had to make top 32 out of 64. Now, 6A contains 39 teams and 24 qualify to the playoffs, and 5A 26 teams and 16 spots.
For boys basketball, that matchups have been announced. The Raiders were sadly unable to clinch a spot in the top 16 of the District 1, 5A class playoffs. Jaimee Chadwin looks to build the program for the future years to come. Although losing a strong senior class, the team will have a foundation to build off of rising senior Zahir Lee and junior Vernon Harper. The 5A playoffs will have Strath Haven, Springfield, Penncrest, and Harriton representing the central league. The third seed Penncrest Lions will face the 14th seed Harriton Rams in the first round, on Wednesday, February 22nd. Penncrest is the highest central league team in the 5A playoffs. The 1st seed is taken by Chester, at 17-5. Chester is a perennial threat in the PIAA basketball playoffs every year. No matter how strong their regular season is, they are always capable of making a deep run with their coaching experience and talent. The 2nd seed is taken by Great Valley. Tyler Norwood and his team will be looking to make a deep playoff run this season. Norwood has been a scoring force for Penncrest this season, leading the central league in made three pointers this season.  
In the 6A playoffs, Conestoga, Lower Merion, and Garnett Valley will represent the central league. Stoga as the 7th seed, receives a bye the first round, while Lower Merion will play Central Bucks South, and Garnett Valley will play Methacton.
The Girls Basketball team had a great season, with a 15-6 record, and currently hold the third seed in the District 1, Class 5A girls basketball playoffs. Only West Chester Henderson and Springfield hold the top two spots over the Raiders to fill out the bracket. There might be trouble for the girls team if they run into Springfield late in the playoffs, as they were handed their final loss of the regular season by them just the week before. The Cougars came and beat the Raiders on their court, which spells trouble for Radnor if they don’t find the solution to beat them if they face later on. The girls basketball team features seniors Alexa Solomon, Allison Lanzone, Julianne Puckette, Kaila Rhodes, Nicole Massimino and Maura Holst. Combine them with the help of sophomores Audrey Rosenblum and Cara Camposano, and the team looks dangerous heading into the playoffs at full strength. Head coach Mark Jordan is experienced in deep playoff runs in multiple sports, and with his veteran leadership, anything is possible for the Raiders these next few weeks.