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Chesco sends 7 teams to unique one-and-done District 1 boys basketball brackets

The District 1 boys basketball playoff brackets became official Thursday, and seven Chester County teams saw their names in lights for the unique tournament, which begins Saturday.

As with everything else this year, the 2021 District 1 playoffs are different. There will be no playback games this year, as only the District 1 champion will advance to the PIAA tournament. In Class 6A, that means the District 1 champ advances directly to the state semifinal. In Class 5A, the winner starts states in the quarterfinal.

Conestoga is the highest seeded local team, coming in at No. 2 in the Class 6A bracket. The Pioneers will get a first-round bye and will face either North Penn or Strath Haven on Tuesday. The rest is a good thing for ‘Stoga, since the Pioneers played Garnet Valley Thursday night for the Central League championship game.

In the 5A bracket, Unionville came in as the No. 8 seed and the Longhorns will host No. 9 Upper Merion Saturday at 2 p.m. In other 5A action on Tuesday, No. 4 West Chester Rustin will host No. 5 Bishop Shanahan at 6 p.m. Bishop Shanahan defeated Rustin by 10 points earlier this season and Golden Knights coach Keith Cochran talked about the challenge the Eagles present.

“Bishop Shanahan beat us this season and they played very well,” Cochran said. “They are a very aggressive team, they shoot the ball very well and they do some things well that we don’t do well. One of those things is rebounding the basketball and we will need to do a better job at that. We will be ready.”

Three other Class 6A teams, aside from Conestoga, qualified for the tournament. No. 19 Kennett will travel to play No. 14 Abington Saturday at 1 p.m.

West Chester East is seeded sixth and received a first round bye. The Vikings and will begin play Tuesday at home against No. 11 Neshaminy.

No. 8 Downingtown West will host No. 9 Lower Merion Tuesday.

The winner-take-all scenario only ups the stakes, and there was some controversy this year in the seeding process.  After a big, 51-50, win over West Chester Rustin Tuesday night, Great Valley was positioned to be the 20th and final team to make the 6A bracket. Upper Dublin was seeded 21st, but the Cardinals scheduled a last-minute game Wednesday night — as did some other schools — and defeated tiny, Class 1A Chester Charter Scholars Academy, to gain enough points to become the 20th seed and knock Great Valley out of the playoffs.

As expected, Great Valley coach CJ Savage was not happy.

“After winning a hard fought game against Rustin to put us at the 20 spot, it is very frustrating to see that Upper Dublin was able to add a last minute game against a 1A team to gain enough points to get the 20 seed in the playoffs,” he said.

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