Change is coming to Public League basketball!!
"Big surprise," you're muttering. "Doesn't it always?"
Yes, but this year's major announcement concerns more than continued growth; the league has swelled from 63 to 68 teams. Those folks with daytime jobs who have complained forever that they've been unable to see the games because of the right-after-school start times have (partially) gotten their wish.
Principals at some schools have agreed to doubleheaders, with the JV contests going first and the varsity tilts tipping off at 4:45. (Sneak out early. Nobody'll see you.)
"It's an experimental thing. Some schools wanted to try it," said ex-Frankford coach Ben Dubin, the Pub's new basketball chairman. "We'll see how it goes and then make adjustments next year, if need be."
There are now five divisions - A for AAAA schools, B for AAA, C and D for AA and E for A.
A glitch popped up due to a PIAA miscalculation - Dobbins was AAA in enrollment, not AAAA - after Dubin began filling out the schedule. Southern volunteered to play AAAA opposition during the regular season, and it will compete in the AAA portion of the playoffs (logistics TBA).
Dubin said the AA teams have been divided into two, 12-team divisions based on perceived strength and that eight from each will participate in cross-division pre-playoffs to determine the eight participants in the overall playoffs (32, eight from each classification).
The six new schools are Audenried (returning after a 5-year absence), Carroll, Palmer Charter, Parkway West, Rush and Sankofa Charter. (Penn has vanished, maybe to pull an Audenried someday and return.)
The divisional breakdown:
(*-All Schools Class AAAA)
Bartram, Central, Edison, Fels, Frankford, Gratz, Kensington, King, Lincoln, Northeast, Olney, Overbrook, Southern, Washington.
*Except Southern; will compete in AAA playoffs.
(All Schools Class AAA)
Bok, Boys' Latin, Dobbins, Eng. and Science, Franklin, Franklin LC, Franklin Towne, Furness, Germantown, Mastbaum, Mastery South, Phila. Elec., Roxborough, Swenson, University City, West Phila.
(All Schools Class AA)
Bracetti, Comm. Tech, Del-Val, FitzSimons, Freire, Hope, Imhotep, Mastery North, Prep Charter, Sayre, Strawberry Mansion, Vaux.
(All Schools Class AA)
Audenried, Bodine, CAPA, Carroll, Esperanza, Future, Masterman, Palumbo, Phila. Acad., Randolph, Saul, Science Lead.
(All Schools Class A)