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Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media Girls Basketball Team of the Decade Tournament

Archbishop Wood celebrates after defeating Villa Maria during the PIAA Class 3A girls championship game at the Giant Center on Saturday, March 19, 2016 in Hershey. (Mark Palczewski/For MediaNews Group)

In what felt like a flash, the basketball world came to a screeching halt.

At the high school level, the PIAA tournaments remain in a state of limbo in the quarterfinal round. For the women’s college level, the Division III tournament was cancelled ahead of the Sweet 16, Division II teams were sent home on the eve of their first round games and Division I squads didn’t even get a bracket with most about to begin conference play.

It’s left a major void and in hopes of trying to somewhat patch it and spark some discussion, the Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media sports staff is constructing a field of the top 16 girls’ basketball teams from the 2010 decade.

The bracket will be released in the Monday, April 6 print editions of the Reporter and Times Herald and online at PaPrepLive.com.

 Souderton captains (11) Alana Cardona, (3) Tori Dowd, (24) Sami Falencki and (32) Kate Connolly hold the PIAA District 1-6A championship trophy at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

While the staff has tried its best to marshal the best candidates together, area coaches and fans are welcome to plead their team’s case via email to rolsports@21st-centurymedia.com.

There are a few guidelines to abide by when it comes to whittling down a very, very deep field of contenders.

Only teams from the 2009-10 through 2018-19 seasons are eligible. The current season would be considered the start of a new decade and it allows for teams still alive in this year’s state tournament to finish it if the PIAA is able to do that.

Specific schools are allowed multiple entrants into the field. Archbishop Wood for example, has five PIAA titles (09-20, 10-11, 11-12, 15-16, 16-17) and eight state title game appearances in the last decade alone while Germantown Academy is an annual contender for the Inter-Ac and PAISAA crowns and Abington owns a pair of District 1 titles in the past 10 years just to name a few.

Germantown Academy’s Elle Stauffer drives to the hoop during game with North Penn December 28, 2018. (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

Accomplishments certainly go a long way in resume building. Everything is considered from win total, conference regular season and tournament titles, district playoff runs and of course any postseason hardware like district or state titles.

The past decade also brought a major shakeup at the PIAA level when the state expanded from four classifications to six prior to the 2016-17 season. It’s no coincidence that season was one of the most successful across the board for area teams with Wood capturing the inaugural 5A state title, programs like Plymouth Whitemarsh, Abington and North Penn enjoying success in the largest classification and the smaller classes expanding.

The Jenkintown girls basketball team celebrates with fans after winning the 2017-18 PIAA Class A title at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Class size won’t be held against teams either. As an example, Jenkintown, which has been one of the state’s best at the A level and owns a state title in 2017-18, has just as much a chance as any team from Souderton or North Penn.

Finally, the talent on the floor plays a role. If possible, all-conference and all-state selections will be considered as well as players who went on to the college level but again, will not disqualify teams that may not have sent an entire starting lineup to the next level.

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Taylor O’Brien goes to the basket during game against McCaskey in first round of PIAA tournament at Cheltenham High School March 10, 2017. (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

In many cases, a team from one season may have several holdovers from either the prior season or into the next. Selecting a specific year can be a way to acknowledge a core group of players that put together two or three strong campaigns in a row.

The window is still open for nominations and reader input will continue to play a pivotal part in moving the brackets along once the field is announced on Monday.

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