The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference decided to skip league tournaments for winter sports this year after COVID-19 and inclement weather caused scheduling complications for District 11 basketball teams .

Instead, the teams will jump straight from their regular season to the District 11 tournament which kicks off on March 5. The District 11 committee also decided that this year’s district tournament would be open to all teams, a decision as unique as the circumstances of a pandemic. -season influenced.

“There just wasn’t a really fair way to compare apples to apples, to get a good seed,” said Chuck Dailey, District 11 committee member and athletic director for East Stroudsburg North.

Teams have until February 22 to withdraw from the district tournament.

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At the start of the season, the EPC opted to have teams play only against opponents from the same county in order to mitigate the risks of COVID-19. The conference shortened the regular season from 16 games to 10, two against every opponent in the county.

Teams that finished their regular season on time now have the option of selecting independent games within the conference prior to the district tournament. While COVID-19 and inclement weather still pose schedule risks, the extra games will allow teams to continue preparing for the playoffs.

“The idea is that it’s a natural bridge between your county competition and district play,” Dailey said.

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While teams like the Pocono Mountain West Women’s Team have already added conference games to their schedules, several have yet to complete their games in the county. Not a single men’s team has completed its regular season, and the Pocono Mountain West men’s team have six games to go.

While the coronavirus pandemic has complicated schedules and influenced the EPC’s decision to cancel its league tournament, Dailey said teams overall have handled mitigation practices well.

“I know there have been problems in the valley, and I know there have been pictures and you can still find someone with their mask under their nose, but this is a snapshot in the time, ”Dailey said. “The majority of people have been really, really good at respecting the fact that they have the opportunity to play.”