Philadelphia, PA (CBS)—The Philadelphia area is proving once again that it produces nothing but elite basketball talent. Of the eight PIAA state championship games coming up this weekend at the Giant Center in Hershey, District 1 (the four counties surrounding Philadelphia) and District 12 (the Philadelphia Public and Catholic Leagues) have a chance to win seven of the eight state championships.
The only game that doesn’t feature a Philadelphia-area team is the PIAA Class A (small school) girls’ final between Old Forge and Vincentian Academy on Saturday, at 12-noon.
Otherwise, it’s a Phillyfest.
In Class AA, Neumann-Goretti has risen to be the best girls’ team in the state. The nationally ranked Saints (29-0) will take on District 7 champion Seton LaSalle (26-4) at 12-noon on Friday. In Class AAA, Catholic League runner-up Archbishop Wood (25-3) will take on District 7 champion Blackhawk (27-2) at 6 p.m. on Saturday. In Class AAAA, District 1 runner-up and defending Class AAAA state champion Spring-Ford (26-5) will play Cumberland Valley (27-5) at 6 p.m. on Friday—in a repeat of last year’s state final.
On the boys’ side, all levels have a Philadelphia representative.
In Class A, District 12 champion Math, Civics & Science (15-14) will play District 7 Lincoln Park (29-1) at 2 p.m. on Friday. In Class AA, District 12 titlist Constitution (27-5) will play District 7 champion Seton LaSalle (29-1) at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
There’s no question the best team in the state is Neumann-Goretti (26-4), which will play District 3 champ Susquehanna Township (23-7) at 8 p.m. on Friday in the Class AAA state title game. The Saints will be going for their fourth state championship in the last five years.
Perhaps the most intriguing game of the weekend will come in the Class AAAA boys final. La Salle (23-6), the Catholic League’s third-place finisher, against District 7 champion and the only undefeated boys’ team in the state finals, New Castle (30-0), a guard-oriented squad made up of four scholarship football players, starring Ohio State-bound Malik Hooker at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
The schedule (all games held at the Hershey Giant Center):
12-noon: Class AA girls: Neumann-Goretti vs. Seton LaSalle
2 p.m.: Class A boys: Math, Civics & Science vs. Lincoln Park
6 p.m.: Class AAAA girls: Spring-Ford vs. Cumberland Valley
8 p.m.: Class AAA boys: Neumann-Goretti vs. Susquehanna Township
12-noon: Class A girls: Old Forge vs. Vincentian Academy
2 p.m.: Class AA boys: Constitution vs. Seton LaSalle
6 p.m.: Class AAA girls: Archbishop Wood vs. Blackhawk
8 p.m.: Class AAAA boys: La Salle vs. New Castle
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.