Earning the top seed in the District 1-AAAA playoffs has its advantages. There is a certain prestige that comes along with being the No. 1 ranked team, plus you get to play three home games before the semifinals and travel the easiest road to the district championship.
North Penn is not too sure about that last part.
The Maidens will host No. 17 Penn Wood Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the second round of the playoffs.
The Patriots, however, are not your typical 17th seed.
In their first round playoff game, the Del Val League champs destroyed No. 16 Cheltenham, 68-27.
“Penn Wood — they are very athletic,” North Penn coach Maggie deMarteleire said. “We need to make sure that we are prepared for their athleticism and their ability to score a lot of points.”
The Maidens, who beat No. 32 Penncrest, 63-18, in the first round, enter the second round with a 23-2 record, while the Patriots come in at 17-6.
North Penn has played two teams with athleticism similar to Penn Wood this year and both were in mid December in the Washington D.C. Tournament. The Maidens beat Nansemond River, 64-49, and lost to St. John’s College High School, 66-44.
“That was in the second week of the season,” deMarteleire said. “I feel like in our own league (Suburban One League Continental Conference) we play teams that play very good defense and can score. We feel like our league has actually prepared us very well for district playoffs.”
deMarteleire believes the key to beating a team like Penn Wood is containing their driving to the basket, not turning the ball over and rebounding.
“We’ve done fairly well defensive rebounding this year,” she said. “I would like to see us improve a little bit on our offensive rebounding.
“Overall I think we are actually taller than them. I’m not all that concerned about their height as much as I am their athleticism and their skill.”
The winner of Wednesday night’s game will reach the quarterfinals in the district and secure a spot in the Class AAAA state playoffs.
PLAYERS TO WATCH >> North Penn’s Sam Carangi, Penn Wood’s Dahnye Redd
No. 4 Mount Saint Joseph vs. No. 13 Neshaminy
The fourth-seeded Magic will host Neshaminy Wednesday at 7 p.m. MSJ is coming off a 52-40 win over No. 29 Radnor in the first round and Neshaminy advanced after beating No. 20 West Chester Henderson, 48-31.
The Mount will rely on Libby Tacka and Caitlyn Cunningham to create opportunities for themselves and teammates on the offensive end. It is the defense, however, that wins games for MSJ. They have allowed less than 33 points per game this year.
The Magic will need to play for all 32 minutes against the Redskins Wednesday. Neshaminy, which went 19-5 this season, is very comfortable playing from behind. After falling behind by one after the first quarter against W.C. Henderson in the first round, Neshaminy narrowly won the second quarter and dominated the third to take control and cruise to a 17-point win. Earlier in the year, Neshaminy overcame a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Council Rock North.
PLAYERS TO WATCH >> Mount Saint Joseph’s Caitlyn Cunningham, Neshaminy’s Brooke Mullin
No. 6 Upper Dublin vs. No. 11 Bishop Shanahan
The sixth-seeded Cardinals will host Bishop Shanahan Wednesday at 7 p.m. In the first round, Upper Dublin knocked off No. 27 West Chester Rustin, 44-27, and Shanahan defeated Norristown, 47-43.
This is a matchup between two first-place finishers. Upper Dublin completed the regular season 19-5 and went a perfect 14-0 to claim the Suburban One League American Conference crown. Shanahan posted a 22-3 mark during the season, with an 11-1 record against Ches-Mont National competition, good enough for first place.
PLAYERS TO WATCH >> Upper Dublin’s Allison Chernow, Bishop Shanahan’s Ciara Forde
No. 10 Central Bucks West at No. 7 Conestoga
The 10th-seeded Bucks will travel to Conestoga for a 7 p.m. tip Wednesday. CB West handled No. 23 Kennett, 53-38, in the first round and Conestoga advanced after beating No. 26 Unionville, 45-31.
West has been hot over the past month, winning nine of its last 12 games — with two losses coming against North Penn by a combined four points and a loss to Cardinal O’Hara.
Conestoga finished the regular season 17-4 overall and placed first in the Central League with an 11-2 mark. Ellie Mack leads Conestoga in scoring this season with more than 17 point per game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH >> Central Bucks West’s Makenzie Mason, Conestoga’s Ellie Mack