Pope John Paul II boys basketball squad latest Mercury-Area program put on pause

The Pope John Paul II boys basketball team is the latest Mercury-Area winter sports program to go through a COVID-related shut down.

The Golden Panthers, one of two unbeaten boys teams remaining in the Pioneer Athletic Conference, will be inactive until Feb. 8 due to COVID protocols  They are set to return to competition Feb. 12 against Phoenixville barring any further delay.

Games against Methacton (Thursday), Pottstown (Friday) and Owen J. Roberts (Monday) will be rescheduled. Methacton and PJP, who faced off in last season’s PAC championship, are the only unbeaten teams in the league.

Pope John Paul II is the fifth PAC school to have one of its program midseason this winter.

The Pottsgrove girls and boys basketball programs were slated to return to competition this week after shutdowns of their own. Other PAC schools to endure COVID-related shutdowns this winter include the Upper Perkiomen boys basketball team, Upper Merion girls basketball team and Owen J. Roberts wrestling team.

Boyertown, OJR and Perkiomen Valley’s winter athletic programs began their seasons later than their league counterparts because of issues and/or concerns relating to COVID. Norristown teams are not currently competing because of elevated COVID metrics in Montgomery County.

With weather postponements now impacting league schedules as well as COVID-related postponements, Mercury-Area basketball team’s schedules are likely to be packed tight over the next month.

While the boys and girls basketball district tournaments dates have yet to be officially announced, the PIAA basketball tournaments begin March 16 and 17.

PAC schools are limited to league-only competition this regular season with no league postseason. Teams will be able to play non-league contests upon the completion of league play, which includes potential district and state postseasons.

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