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New Legislation to Separate Playoffs Between Public and Private Schools

SCRANTON, Pa. — Two long-time rivals tipped off Thursday night in their final regular season game. The gym at Scranton Prep was packed as the boys welcome...

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Two long-time rivals tipped off Thursday night in their final regular season game.

The gym at Scranton Prep was packed as the boys welcomed Abington Heights.

While its common for these two teams to play each other during the regular season, new legislation would make it so that public and private schools, such as these, won't compete during the postseason.

"Public schools and private schools, it's a nice rivalry to have. It's a lot of fun during the regular season, but during the postseason I feel like there's an advantage that private schools have over public schools," said Danny Habeeb, senior at Abington Heights High School.

"It's unfair because it's not drawing from your community. You're going out to other states or even countries," said Barb Kull of Clarks Summit.

Democratic State Representative Scott Conklin announced the proposed legislation on Thursday. It would separate playoffs between public and private schools for all sports.

"I think for some of them it's a good idea but for Scranton Prep it's not because we really don't recruit athletically. It's an academic school," said Paul Ruddy of Mayfield.

The Abington Heights boys basketball team actually won the state title last year so some Comets fans Newswatch 16 spoke to say the legislation isn't needed.

"It's really nice to have that healthy competition, especially in postseason when it gets more intense," said Danielle Heine, senior at Abington Heights.

"They should play in the regular season and playoffs because it's a good test for both teams," said Scranton Prep senior Richard Pasko.

The athletic director for Scranton Prep says he would have no problem if the legislation is passed. He says year after year it gets more difficult for public schools to compete with private schools.

"You can pull from a wide area. That's a benefit certainly to private schools, where the public schools are held within their boundaries," said Scott Gower.

Abington Heights won the game 60 to 51.