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Bucks try to stay hot as playoffs tip off


The District One 6A boys basketball tournament first round starts Friday. Second-round action is Tuesday with the top 12 teams advancing to states.

SOL Colonial champion No. 7 Central Bucks East (18-6, 12-4 SOL) earned a first-round bye. The Patriots, who won their SOL Tournament quarterfinal 62-56 against Plymouth Whitemarsh, await the winner of No. 10 Perkiomen Valley/No. 23 Avon Grove.

Signature wins: The Patriots’ Dec. 5 59-45 victory over archrival CB West, behind Dhruv Mukund’s double-double, might be the most meaningful. Yet East’s 61-60 thriller over Upper Dublin on Jan. 3, thanks to Jacob Cummiskey’s free throw with five seconds left, might be the team’s most impressive.

Colonial runner-up No. 11 Central Bucks West (18-7, 10-6 SOL) made a loud statement this past week by advancing to the finals of the SOL Tournament as a six seed, knocking off No. 3 Bensalem 56-53 and No. 2 CB East 59-49 before Tuesday’s final loss to No. 1 Upper Dublin 49-43.

In districts, the Bucks host a first-round rematch with No. 22 Pennsbury; the winner takes on No. 6 Methacton. West held Pennsbury to its lowest point total of the year in the Bucks’ 44-31 regular season win.

Signature win: Winners of the Modie Risher Tournament in South Carolina right after Christmas, West beat archrival CB East 67-61 on Jan. 23. Matt Engle tallied 23 points for the “W” in Buckingham.

Does anyone want to play No. 18 William Tennent (15-7, 11-5 SOL)? The SOL Freedom runners-up closed the year 9-2 …and the two losses were one-possession games to SOL Tournament teams. Tennent heads to No. 15 Downingtown West. No. 2 WC Henderson awaits the winner.

Signature win: The Panthers dispatched Plymouth Whitemarsh by 12, 67-55, at home on Jan. 25 as part of that impressive close to the season. Chris D’Ambra and Kirby Mooney combined for 39 in the win.

No. 20 Council Rock South (14-8, 11-5 SOL), tied for runners-up in the SOL Patriot, plays at No. 13 Plymouth Whitemarsh. No. 4 Chester takes on the winner.

Signature win: Neshaminy is the Patriot co-runner up but the Golden Hawks held them to their season low point total on Dec. 7 in a 44-34 win.

The Faith Christian Lions (17-5) closed the regular season 5-1. No. 2 Faith has a Class 2A semifinal rematch with No. 3 Delco Christian on Tuesday, Feb. 20 with the winner advancing to states.

Signature win: Faith beat Harry S. Truman 68-53 on Jan. 17. Truman may have struggled this year, but a 6A win is still a 6A win.

A Plumstead Christian (10-12) team who started 1-6 is peaking at the right time. Phil Yallah has led the Panthers all year while the rest of the starting four has gained experience and confidence. No. 4 Plumstead goes to No. 1 Phil-Mont Christian on Tuesday, Feb. 20 in the Class A semifinal, with a state berth on the line.

Signature win: The Panthers decisively beat Upper Bucks Christian 71-43 on Jan. 29, which put an exclamation point on the seedings as the two schools dueled for the final playoff spot. Plumstead knocked off 4A Collegium Charter 51-49 four days prior.

Archbishop Wood has been to three straight PIAA final fours. Is this finally the year they take it all? The Vikings (15-7, 11-2 PCL) are red hot, having won 10 in a row. No. 3 Wood, who finished in a three-way tie for first with Roman and Neumann-Goretti, hosts No. 6 Father Judge in PCL quarterfinals on Friday. Wood topped Judge 85-69 in the PCL opener. Semifinals are on Feb. 21 and finals are on Feb. 26, both at the Palestra.

Signature win: Centennial (CA) High School has a McDonald’s All-American in forward Carter Bryant, an Arizona-commit. But Wood beat Centennial 73-71 on Jan. 13 behind their own Mickey D’s All-American: Miami signee Jalil Bethea, who scored 40 in the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.

South Hunterdon (8-13, 4-4 Skyland) closes its regular season on Thursday. The No. 7 Eagles host No. 10 STEMCivics on Feb. 22 in the first round of Central Jersey Group 1 sectionals.

Signature win: North Hunterdon is a solid Group 3 team but the Eagles prevailed 56-46 on Jan. 18. Aaron Zalescik scored 29 in a contest where South Hunterdon won every quarter.

No. 4 Solebury (14-10, 7-5 PJAA) made short work of No. 5 Kohelet Yeshiva, 70-48 in last Thursday’s Penn-Jersey Athletic Association quarterfinal. It earned Solebury a date with No. 1 Cristo Rey – and Division I-bound Devon Booker – in a Thursday semifinal featuring the last two PJAA champions.

In a separate playoff, the Spartans headed to Shipley on Wednesday for a late Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association play-in game.

Signature win: Solebury closed the regular season with an 83-80 overtime win against Shabach Christian Academy, who MaxPreps ranked in the Maryland top 100. Makhai Anderson’s 24 points were three off his season high.

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