Despite no high school sports being played due to the COVID-19 pandemic, basketball teams in District 10 can start preparing for the next two seasons after the district finalized the basketball regions for the 2020-22 cycle.
As in other sports that were released earlier, the number of regions decreased from seven to six in both boys and girls basketball for the next two years. The new region alignment was released on the district’s website.
In boys basketball, Titusville will be part of the new all-Class 4A Region 5, along with Conneaut Area, Corry, Fairview, Fort LeBoeuf, Harbor Creek, Oil City and Warren. The Rockets were not regional opponents with Conneaut Area or Fairview in the previous alignment, although they did face Fairview in Region 4 during the 2016-18 alignment cycle.
“It’s interesting,” Titusville boys coach Craig Mehlenbacher said. “Losing General McLane is disappointing because of the great games we’ve had with them over the past two years. Gaining Fairview will be tough because they are very good every year.”
Class 4A will continue to field 12 teams although there was some movement within those schools. Holdovers in 4A from the previous two seasons include Grove City, Hickory and Slippery Rock. General McLane and George Junior Republic are now a part of 5A and 3A, respectively, while Fairview and Sharon come in replacements from 3A after both faced off in the District 10 4A Championship Game last season.
“It’s challenging, just like adding Fairview,” Mehlenbacher said of Sharon joining 3A. “Those are two schools that are really good every year.”
For the most part, Maplewood will see a similar Region 2 schedule over the next two seasons. The Tigers will matchup against fellow 2A schools Cambridge Springs, Cochranton, Eisenhower, Iroquois, Saegertown, Union City and Youngsville. Iroquois is the lone newcomer after dropping down from 3A.
“I think our region is going to be decent next year,” Maplewood coach Shawn Rhoades said. “We could be good, but a lot of it is just how much you want put in. Adding Iroquois adds two games to our schedule.”
One could argue the Class 2A mix had the most significant movement amongst teams from the previous cycle. Maplewood and its fellow 2A schools will not have to contend with 2018-19 district champion and 19-20 district runner-up and state quarterfinalist Farrell. However, 18-19 Class 6A state champion Kennedy Catholic will now be in the fold. Wilmington, who knocked Maplewood out of the 17-18 postseason, has moved up to 3A. Remaining in 2A from Region 1 are 19-20 district champion Lakeview, Mercer, Reynolds, Rocky Grove and West Middlesex.
“You lose two teams and gain one so I guess you get a net loss of one,” Rhoades said about the district landscape in 2A. “Maybe there is no perfect way to do it. I’m fine with these other schools if they have boundary kids. That whole Mercer County region is tough and if you come out of that, you’re legit. I try to schedule some of these bigger teams because it doesn’t do your guys any justice to play some weaker teams. It’s nice to get wins, but it doesn’t make you better.”
Tidioute Charter, who was in Region 1 last cycle, will not field a boys basketball team during the 2020-21 season due to low numbers, according to Athletic Director Ryan Guerra. He confirmed that the program will still be a part of the PIAA and hopes the Bulldogs will have enough players for the following season. As for 2020-21, the Bulldogs will act as a “club or intramural type” of team.
In girls basketball, Titusville will now be a part of a revamped Region 4 that features five Mercer County teams. Instead of facing the 3A Erie County teams as in the past two seasons, the Rockets will take the court against fellow 3A schools Greenville, Lakeview, Sharon, Sharpsville and Wilmington in region contests. Sharpsville and Wilmington are new to 3A in this cycle after being in 2A the previous two seasons.
In the 3A district landscape, Fairview, Girard, Mercyhurst Prep, North East and Northwestern return to the mix. Iroquois joins after being in 2A, while Seneca drops down 2A.
“I think it’s good to switch things up every once in a while, but it also makes it harder to plan for next season,” Titusville girls coach Liz Kolodziejczak said. “The girls and I just started to learn the teams we were playing, and now we have to start fresh.”
Maplewood will look to defend its 2019-20 Region 2 crown against the majority of same teams. Tidioute Charter and Youngsville will compete in the region as 1A programs, as the Eagles dropped down from 2A. Cambridge Springs, Cochranton, Eisenhower, Saegertown and Union City return as 2A schools, while Seneca joins the fold.
“I don’t know much about them,” Maplewood girls coach Kyle Krepps said about Seneca. “A couple of years ago they were pretty solid, but then they were down a little bit in 3A. We’ll figure them out when it comes time.”
At the district level, Maplewood will have fewer teams battling for the district crown with Commodore Perry, Jamestown and Rocky Grove dropping down to 1A and Sharpsville and Wilmington bumping up to 3A. 2019-20 district champion West Middlesex remains the team to beat, while Mercer and Reynolds are also back.
“It’s good to see some of the teams that were struggling move down, not to knock them or anything,” Krepps said. “Sharpsville was the competitive team we lost out of it. It kinds of calms the herd a little bit. Everybody left is pretty solid. When you get playoff time, you have to be ready right off the bat.”
1A — Commodore Perry, Farrell, Jamestown.
2A — Kennedy Catholic, Lakeview, Mercer, Reynolds, Rocky Grove, West Middlesex.
2A — Cambridge Springs, Cochranton, Eisenhower, Iroquois, Maplewood, Saegertown, Union City, Youngsville.
3A — Conneaut (Ohio), Erie First Christian, Girard, Mercyhurst Prep, North East, Northwestern, Seneca.
3A — Franklin, George Junior Republic, Greenville, Wilminton.
4A — Grove City, Hickory, Sharon, Slippery Rock.
4A — Conneaut Area, Corry, Fairview, Fort LeBoeuf, Harbor Creek, Oil City, Titusville, Warren.
5A — Cathedral Prep, General McLane, Meadville.
6A — Erie, McDowell.
1A — Commodore Perry, Farrell, Jamestown, Kennedy Catholic, Rocky Grove.
2A — Mercer, Reynolds, West Middlesex.
1A — Tidioute Charter, Youngsville.
2A — Cambridge Springs, Cochranton, Eisenhower, Maplewood, Saegertown, Seneca, Union City.
3A — Conneaut (Ohio), Fairview, Girard, Iroquois, Mercyhurst Prep, North East, Northwestern.
4A — Fort LeBoeuf.
3A — Greenville, Lakeview, Sharon, Sharpsville, Titusville, Wilmington.
5A — Conneaut Area, Franklin, Grove City, Hickory, Meadville, Oil City, Slippery Rock.
4A — Villa Maria.
5A — Corry, General McLane, Harbor Creek, Warren.
6A — Erie, McDowell.