Rough few days for District 3 hoops at states
It was something of a tough weekend for District 3 boys' basketball. The district's representatives didn't fare well in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs on Friday and Saturday. Overall, the state qualifiers from District 3 went a combined 5-15 in their first-round matchups. A down year for the district? Maybe. Or maybe there's another explanation. Because of the way the state brackets are set up, the qualifying teams from District 3 generally face teams from the Philadelphia area -- Districts 1 and 12 -- in the first round of states. And most years, those two districts are two of the strongest in the state. The result this weekend: District 3 teams went a combined 3-5 against District 12 opposition, and 0-8 against District 1 foes. The gulf was most evident in Class AAAA, a group in which District 1 boasts several powerhouses. The five quad-A teams from D-3 who faced D-1 squads -- a group that included William Penn and Dallastown -- all lost. Red Land was the only D-3 team to advance to the second round of states. The struggles extended to the YAIAA's boys' representatives. Of the six boys' teams from the area to qualify for states, only one advanced: Eastern York. And to get to the second round, the Golden Knights had to upset perennial D-12 power Archbishop Carroll. Meanwhile, the other five YAIAA qualifiers all lost to District 1 or District 12 teams. So is it really a down year for District 3? Or do these numbers speak more to the strength of the Philly-area schools? Or could it be a little bit of both? Like it or not, this is just how the PIAA sets up its brackets -- if you're from District 3, you're probably going to have to play a Philly-area school. A lot of that has to do with money, and trying to cut down travel costs in the first round of the tournament. And this is states -- you're going to have to play the best teams sooner or later. Then again, I'm guessing there's a few District 3 coaches who would put up with some more travel to avoid those Philly-area schools.