The first weekend of PIAA basketball action is in the books, and it wasn’t very kind to area teams.
Only two squads remain in the tournament, which is set to begin second-round action Tuesday.
Friday, Kennard-Dale bowed out with a loss to Imhotep Charter in a Class 4-A opener. The Rams took their program to historic heights this season, reaching the state tournament for the first time since 1996. This came after appearing in the York-Adams League tournament for the first time since 2003.
Also Friday, York Country Day couldn’t turn the momentum of erasing a 19-point deficit to capture its third-straight District 3 1-A crown into state-level success. The Greyhounds' season ended with a loss to Plumstead Christian.
Dallastown wrapped up a hard-luck season, that saw it fight through some key injuries and a slow start, before heating up late in the year to reach the PIAA 6-A tournament. The Wildcats lost to Plymouth-Whitemarsh Saturday.
New Oxford fell to Bonner-Prendergast on Friday in 5-A action, ending a season that saw the Colonials reach the state tournament for the second-straight year.
That leaves Northeastern and York High as the only two Y-A teams left in the state playoffs, both in the 5-A draw.
By now, area fans know plenty about those two teams. So, here’s a quick look at what they’re up against:
York High: Clovis Gallon's Bearcats (17-10), runner-up in District 3, now face District 12 champ Bonner-Prendergast (23-4) out of the Philadelphia Catholic League at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Reading’s Geigle Complex.
The winner of this one will advance to face the winner of the game between Allentown Central Catholic (District 11 champ, 24-4) and Dallas (District 2 runner-up, 21-5) in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Coach Jack Concannon has the Friars in the PIAA tournament for the first time in program history. It's a stat that is somewhat misleading. Philadelphia Catholic League schools didn’t gain PIAA inclusion until 2008-2009.
Tangling with the Friars will be a tall task for the Bearcats — literally.
B-P features a pair of twin towers in 6-foot, 8-inch senior forward Aijiri Johnson and 6-9 junior forward Tariq Ingraham, both of which have garnered NCAA Division I college attention. Johnson is already committed to Rider University.
Ingraham is one of two high-profile transfers the Friars received before the start of the season, the other being 6-3 junior guard Isaiah Wong.
Ingraham came over from Salesianum (Delaware), where he already received offers from Rutgers and Robert Morris. He was also getting interest from Maryland, Virginia and Villanova.
Wong spent two seasons at Notre Dame (New Jersey) and has already picked up offers from Villanova, UConn, Seton Hall and Miami (Florida). Wong is considered a do-it-all type who can take over a game by getting to the rim or knocking down jumpers.
The Friars should have no trouble finding an offensive option for Concannon. The trick will be limiting the Bearcats on the offensive end. New Oxford benefited from some hot shooting early and six Friars turnovers in taking a 15-10 lead after the first quarter Friday.
However, the Friars clamped down on the defensive end in the second quarter and outscored the Colonials 20-8 for a 30-23 halftime lead before going on to a 56-45 victory. Wong led the Friars with a 22-point, 12-rebound, seven-steal effort.
Northeastern: The Bobcats (26-3) are back in the second round of the state tournament after scoring a 69-60 victory vs. Sun Valley Friday at West York.
Their reward for moving on?
A trip to Garden Spot at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to take on District 1 champ Penncrest (25-2). The Lions are coming off their second-straight District 1 title and a 49-36 win vs. Shippensburg in a first-round game Friday.
Jon Eyster's Northeastern club is the third seed out of District 3 and was a PIAA semifinalist a season ago.
The winner will move on to play the winner of the game between Abington Heights (District 2 champ, 23-3) and Chester (District 1 fourth place, 19-8) in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Unlike Bonner-Prendergast, the Lions aren’t a particularly tall team.
Coach Mike Doyle’s club is led by a pair of 5-11 guards in seniors Tyler Norwood and Justin Heidig.
Norwood, who has an offer from D-II Chestnut Hill College, controls the offense and averages 21.6 points per game. He’s coming off a 20-point performance against Shippensburg. Heidig is considered a slasher with solid 3-point range.
Like Penncrest, Northeastern is also powered by its guards — Albany recruit Antonio Rizzuto and Fred Mulbah. The team that gets the better of the backcourt play will likely come out the winner.
Junior Matt Arbogast anchors the middle for the Lions at 6-4.
That lack of height should play right into Northeastern’s style. The Bobcats aren't a tall team, but they pride themselves on turning defensive rebounds into quick, transition offense.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.