skip navigation

District 1 6A: Boys Quarterfinal/Playback Previews (Feb. 23, 2024)

02/22/2024, 10:45am EST
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

District 1 6A will have a new boys champion this year.

Both of last year’s finalists, winner Plymouth Whitemarsh and runner-up Spring-Ford, both suffered second-round defeats on Tuesday night, knocking them into the playback rounds in an attempt to earn a state playoff berth. 

All eight of Tuesday’s winners have qualified for the state tournament, the eight losers going into consolation games on Friday night, with the four winners of those games joining the previous eight for the district’s 12 entrants into the state bracket.

Here’s an in-depth look at all four quarterfinal games, with a brief look at the four playbacks down below: 

1) Lower Merion vs. 24) Springfield (Delco.)
This isn’t the quarterfinal game anybody expected. Springfield (Delco.) snuck into the district playoffs as the final qualifier after being on the outside looking in the last two years, and then despite that lack of postseason experience, knocked off battle-tested teams in Abington and Bensalem to snap a seven-year state playoff drought and set up a Central League rematch with league champion Lower Merion. The Aces (24-1) and Cougars (13-11) only met once this season, a 59-43 Lower Merion win in Springfield on January 4, part of an undefeated run LM made through the league.

Springfield’s attack this season and successful postseason run has been built around senior forward Colin Treude. The 6-foot-5, York College (Pa.)-bound post had a 15-point, six-rebound effort in the win over Bensalem, showing his ability to score around the rim, facilitate, and stretch the floor with his jumper. Junior point guard Patrick Flaherty, freshman guard T.J. Valletti, and senior Jake Adams have been the most consistent supporting pieces for Kevin McCormick, who’s been at the helm of the Cougars for 30 years. Over at LM for just a few years longer is Gregg Downer, who’s got an unselfish group of seniors: Owen McCabe, Adam Herrenkohl and John Mobley, all of whom can dribble, pass, and shoot, while senior forward Jayden Robinson will have to battle Treude and junior Carson Kasmer rounds out a strong starting five.

Zuri Harris (above) and Coatesville have a trip down to Chester for a spot in the semifinals. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

4) Chester vs. 5) Coatesville
If there’s one quarterfinal game to see, it’ll be at the Clip Joint on Friday night. Chester and Coatesville already played once this season, a 66-62 Coatesville win in a game that was called with 90 seconds left after a confrontation between the two teams. So it’s fitting that they meet again this season, on the same floor where they met before, with even more on the line this time around. Coatesville (19-6) expected to be here after making it to the PIAA 6A quarterfinals a year ago; Chester always expects to be playing this deep, but after missing out on districts a year ago, this has certainly been a bounce-back year for the Clippers (19-2), who won the Del-Val League as well.

Raiders coach John Allen has a great trio of senior guards leading the way in point guard Zuri Harris and wing guards Dior Kennedy and Marquis Peoples, all of whom fit right into Allen’s aggressive-yet-structured style. Sophomore forward Larry Brown had a strong Ches-Mont playoffs, the 6-7 ‘4’ man developing his offensive skillset as he continues to be a good shot-blocker and rebounder. Chester, which beat defending 6A champs Plymouth Whitemarsh in the second round, is led by two-sport standout Dominic Toy, a UConn football commit and 6-5 forward who’s a physical presence on the block. Keith Taylor relies on a deep group behind him, with eight in the scoring column against PW, led by senior wing Dante Atkinson, sophomore Daron Harris, junior Jaseir Thompson and more.

2) West Chester Henderson vs. 7) Central Bucks East
The first of the quartet that isn’t a rematch, Henderson (22-4) and CB East (19-6) do have a common opponent in 5A semifinalist Upper Dublin, which lost to Hendy by six and East by one earlier this season. Does that tell us anything? Eh, only that this should be a good game — which we knew already. Henderson, which beat league rival Downingtown West in the second round thanks to a Connor Fleet bucket with 20 seconds remaining, has one of the best guard duos around in the 6-0 Fleet and 6-4 Nyle Ralph-Beyer, the Sacred Heart commit going for 28 points against D-West. The Ches-Mont runner-ups are navigating life without senior forward Nelson Lamizana, ineligible for the district and state playoffs, but still have good size in 6-8 senior Evan McFadden, with additional shooting and ball-handling help from senior guard Jack Bell and junior guard Dylan DeLucia

CB East, which lost to Downingtown West in last year’s district quarterfinals and to Wood in the opening round of the state tournament, made the district semifinals during the COVID-shortened 2021 season, but the abbreviated state tournament that year meant the loss to Abington was the end of the Patriots’ season. Erik Henrysen has been relying on his own strong backcourt to carry the day, with 6-3 senior Jake Cummiskey aided by classmates Justin DiRoberto and Tyler Dandrea plus 6-7 post Miles Demby, with 6-4 wing forward Dhruv Mukund supporting.

Jack Krautzel (above) and Garnet Valley are back in the state playoffs. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

6) Methacton vs. 14) Garnet Valley
The Warriors overcame some playoff heartbreak with a 54-51 win over CB West in the second round. Sophomore sharpshooter Christian Matos continues to lead the Warriors in scoring as he did with a 19-point showing in the win over the Bucks, including his own personal 11-point run in the fourth quarter. However, the straw stirring the drink continues to be senior forward Alex Hermann, who did a little bit of everything on Tuesday, finishing with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists. Senior point guard Sal Iemmello also continues to give the team a spark as he did with 10 points against CB West.​​ The most valuable player on Tuesday may have been defensive stopper 6-foot-1 senior Manny Rodriguez; sophomore forward Wes Robinson, senior guard Anthony Daddazio and sophomore guard Mason Conrad provide solid depth for the Warriors.

They’ll have to weather the ship against a Garnet Valley squad that’s feeling as good as it has all year after beating last year’s district runner-ups Spring Ford on the PAC runner-up’s home court earlier in the week. Mike Brown, who’s turned the Jaguars from an afterthought to a perennial Central League contender, has them back in states after winning a game there a year ago; back from that group is junior wing guard Jake Sniras, who’s one of the top scoring threats in District 1, and senior wing Jack Krautzel, who looks like a linebacker but stuffs the stat sheet in all sorts of ways. His younger brother, junior Brady Krautzel, is in a similar mold, and they’ve also been getting strong play from senior guard Quinn O’Hara and promising freshman Grayson Golek, who at 6-4 can stretch the floor and protect the rim as well. Brown’s players are well versed in his system, and Methacton will have its hands full defensively with their passing and motion.


8) Bensalem vs. 16) Conestoga
Bensalem head coach Ron Morris is hoping to extend his final season with his sons, Antonio and Noah, two of the Owls’ top five and two major reasons why they finished atop the Suburban One Patriot, Noah the sharpshooter and Antonio the ball-handler and all-around scorer. Junior forward Jaydin Moffitt is a versatile mismatch threat and guard Amir Drummond gives them another scoring punch, though Morris will go deep into his bench. ‘Stoga’s second-year head coach Sean Forcine, has been relying on senior guard Brendan Styer, senior wing Westin Fryberger, junior Ben Robinson and sophomore Rowan Miller to carry the load, with the 5-10 Miller one of the better underclassmen in the league; 6-3 sophomore Cory Hogan has also been getting better and better as the year goes on.

12) Cheltenham vs. 13) Plymouth Whitemarsh
It’s a Suburban One League showdown as both of these proud programs won’t want to give up an inch. Cheltenham is led by three-year starter Josiah Hutson, a 1,000-point scorer, and versatile 6-5 senior wing Nile Tinsley has been a leader for the group. Freshman guard Kamal Mason adds to the backcourt with 6-4 wing Kevin Addison and sophomore 6-8 forward Peyton McClendon giving the team some length up front. Plymouth Whitemarsh has at its disposal one of the district’s most dangerous scoring threats in senior guard Jaden Colzie. The speedy 6-foot combo guard won’t hesitate to get his shot off from anywhere, and is a master at making difficult, fadeaway mid-range jumpers. The Colonials also have benefitted from the growth of 6-3 sophomore Mani Sajid, who’s being tracked by a number of Division I coaches, while senior Jahsier Sayles gives them good additional length at 6-5. Cheltenham won a Dec. 22 matchup, 61-48.

10) Perkiomen Valley vs. 15) Downingtown West
Another great matchup here as both Perk Valley and Downingtown West have some terrific offensive weapons. For the Vikings, it’s senior guard Julian Sadler, a 6-1 left-hander who can score from everywhere, plus 6-5 sharpshooter Kyle Shawaluk, both of whom can go off for big games, and often at the same time. Senior forward Josh Tagert has had a good year as well. Downingtown West’s big two are a pair of juniors, forward Zeke Staz (6-7) and wing Donovan Fromhartz (6-4), who both can score inside and out; sophomore wing guard Brady Moore (6-3) has had a breakout season as well. 

3) Spring-Ford vs. 11) Central Bucks West
Spring-Ford hasn’t quite been itself since junior wing Matt Zollers went down with a broken foot last month, the 6-3 standout quarterback also a high-level facilitator on the court with scoring ability, a perfect complement to guards EJ Campbell and Jacob Nguyen, their two leading scorers. There’s still plenty else for Joe Dempsey to work with, including 6-5 junior Tommy Kelly and a few more football players who give them toughness and shooting. CB West coach Adam Sherman has a team that plays right into his style with an emphasis on defense, low turnovers, unselfish offense and a lot of patience. Senior point guard Matt Engle is the team’s engine, he puts teammates in the right spot but can get his own if needed. Julian Phillips is the team’s top scorer, a smooth athlete who can find his shot at all three levels while junior Roman Kulesa is a good outside shooter but has the burst to get to the rim.Sam Jankowski is a bit of a throwback big man, skilled in the low post but also a terrific passer while senior Bowen Gugger adds toughness and will bring the effort inside.

D-I Coverage:

Small-College News:

Recruiting News:

Tag(s): Home  High School  Boys HS  Central League (B)  Garnet Valley  Lower Merion  Ches-Mont (B)  Ches-Mont National (B)  Coatesville  Downingtown West  West Chester Henderson  Pac-10 (B)  PAC-10 Liberty (B)  Methacton  Perkiomen Valley  Spring-Ford  Suburban One (B)  SOL Colonial (B)  Central Bucks East  Central Bucks West  SOL Freedom (B)  Cheltenham  Upper Moreland  SOL Liberty (B)  Plymouth Whitemarsh  SOL Patriot (B)  Bensalem