Eight York-area girls' hoops teams ready to begin PIAA tournament runs
The final part of the 2017-18 girls’ basketball season kicks off Friday, Mar. 9 with the start of the PIAA playoffs.
A total of eight York-area programs qualified for the state bracket, with half beginning play Friday and the other half starting Saturday, March. 10.
Here’s a brief rundown of the matchups for local teams, with times and locations, beginning with the contests Friday.
►District 3-2 Central York (22-5) vs District 1-6 Plymouth-Whitemarsh (22-5) at Northern York HS, 7:30 p.m.: The Panthers won their first-round PIAA contest a season ago in a bit of an upset. While a victory over a Plymouth-Whitemarsh squad that has dropped three of its past five would not be as much of an upset, the Central York girls will certainly not have a cakewalk, either.
The Colonials are an up-tempo, fundamentally-sound outfit that began the season with an impressive 20-2 record.
P-W averages over 60 points per game; providing over half of those points is the senior duo of Taylor O’Brien (23.1) and Lauren Fortescue (10.9). Anna McTamney has played a key role at times this season for P-W, as the freshman averages 7.0 points per contest.
The Panthers should be favored, especially if they can keep their senior 1-2 duo of Nikson Valencik (13.2 point per game) and Teirra Preston (11.2) out of foul trouble.
Both Preston and Valencik got into quick foul trouble in the District 3 title game against Central Dauphin.
►District 3-6 Dallastown (20-9) vs District 6-1 State College (14-10) at Bald Eagle (Bellfonte), 7:30 p.m.: One would have to consider this as favorable of a draw that the Dallastown girls could have expected. The Lady Little Lions upset both Mifflin County and Altoona – teams they lost to in the regular season - to capture the District 6 title.
State College shares two common opponents with Dallastown this season - CD and New Oxford. The Lady Little Lions split with Central Dauphin and defeated New Oxford. Dallastown dropped a pair of games with CD this year while sweeping the Colonials.
Maya Bokunewicz (13.6 points per game), Isabelle Leazier (8.5) and Kelsey Love (7.3) lead the Lady Little Lions in scoring this year.
►District 3-2 York Catholic (13-13) vs District 12-3 Mastery Charter South (19-1) at West York HS, 6:30 p.m.: While Mastery Charter South enters with an impressive record, it appears that their regular season slate was a bit sub-par.
Their only loss of the season came at the hands of its bigger sister school, Mastery Charter North, in the District 12 playoffs. MCS dropped that contest handily, 63-37.
Unfortunately, there is not a great deal of info available regarding the MCS program. However, the trio of Latifah Cain, Cassandra Colon and Jordan Dawson appears to be Mastery Charter South’s top players.
►District 3-3 Delone Catholic (21-5) vs District 12-1 Imhotep Charter (20-7) at Lincoln HS (Philadelphia), 6 p.m.: One of the drawbacks to not playing in the District 3 title game is that the consolation winner faces a steep task in the first-round of states. The Squirettes have that unenviable task after losing to York Catholic in the district semifinals.
Delone will get a very talented Imhotep squad that claimed the District 12 title after beating defending PIAA 3-A champ Neumann-Goretti in the title contest.
The Panthers are small, speedy and guard-heavy. Led by junior Jessica Charles, Imhotep is looking to advance to the second-round after getting upset in the first-round a season ago.
The good news for Delone is that it seems like they could provide a matchup issue for the Panthers if they can utilize their size effectively. Imhotep’s four guards are all 5-foot-8 or under while Delone has four players over 5-foot-10.
The Panthers do, however, have junior center Nadjy Tyler in the paint. Tyler is listed at 6-foot-3, a few inches taller than Delone’s biggest players.
►District 3-4 Susquehannock (22-6) vs District 2-2 Crestwood (17-8) at TBA: Due to the weather in the northeastern part of the state this weekend, the PIAA was not ready to announce a time or location for this contest Sunday. That figures to be announced either late Sunday night or Monday, March 5.
With that said, the Susquehannock girls certainly expected to have a chance to defend their District 3 title this past weekend. The Warriors, however, were knocked off in the semifinals by Lower Dauphin before dropping a consolation contest against Twin Valley.
The result means that Susquehannock, who made it to the state semifinals a season ago, will have to venture up I-81 to the Scranton area for their opener with Crestwood.
The Comets seemed to hit their stride as the calendar flipped to February. The District 2 runners-up won seven of their last nine games heading into their showdown with the Warriors.
This matchup should be intriguing as both squads are not especially big. The tallest Comets starter is 5-foot-10, which is right in the area of Susquehannock’s two tallest players, Jaden Walker and Anna Mahan.
Crestwood is fairly guard-oriented with the senior duo of Julia Makowski (18.6 points per game) and Sara Hopkins (12.1) leading the way.
►District 3-8 Spring Grove (16-10) vs District 1-1 West Chester Henderson (28-0) at Downingtown West, 4 p.m.: Spring Grove’s remarkable turnaround this season saw the Rockets make the league and district playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. Now, the Spring Grove girls will embark on another new adventure – the state playoffs.
It’s a good thing that the Rockets are a fairly young squad filled with mostly sophomores and juniors. That’s because the York-Adams League squad will face unbeaten West Chester Henderson in the first-round.
The Warriors are the only unbeaten team in Class 5-A this season. WCH features a balanced lineup with speed, size and skill that will likely pose matchup issues for the smallish Rockets.
Henderson averages 54 points per contest while yielding a shade over 39 a night. Of their 28 games this season, only five have been decided by five or less points.
The Warriors are led by junior Grace Ferguson, a forward, along with seniors Maddie DePrisco, Erin Torrance, and Abbey Shea.
While it is not technically a common foe, WCH did defeat West York, 42-32, in a showcase game right before Christmas.
►District 3-6 Kennard-Dale (14-12) vs District 4-1 Mifflinburg (20-5) at Shikellamy HS (Sunbury), 7:30 p.m.: After beginning the season with a pedestrian 5-5 record, Mifflinburg knocked off Lewisburg in the District 4 title game to extends its winning-streak to 15 games. That victory also avenged a pair of defeats the past two seasons for the Wildcats in their district championship.
Junior Riley Griffith leads Mifflinburg in scoring at 16.8 points per game. Seniors Mashayla Valentine and Emily Hamm as well as Libby Whittaker are key players for the Wildcats.
►District 3-4 Christian School of York (20-7) vs District 1-1 Jenkintown (23-1) at Cheltenham HS (Wyncote), 5:30 p.m.: The Christian School of York will have its collective hands full with a gritty, talented Jenkintown squad.
The Drakes have run roughshod over their opponents this season with their lone loss at the hands of District 1 6-A champ Souderton, 57-35, back in late January.
Jenkintown likes to push the tempo as evidenced by their 58.4 points per game average. Most of those points come via their quartet of standouts – seniors Jennifer Kremp (14.4 points per game) and Amelia Mulvaney (7.6) and juniors Mia Kolb (10.7) and Natalie Kolb (7.2).
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org