Look at what lies ahead for Northeastern boys, York Catholic girls in PIAA quarterfinals
- The Northeastern boys (27-3) take on Abington Heights (24-3) in the PIAA 5-A quarterfinals Friday.
- The York Catholic girls (15-13) face East Allegheny (26-1) in the PIAA 3-A quarterfinals.
- Both teams have long road trips ahead of them Friday.
And then there were two.
As the PIAA basketball playoffs enter the quarterfinals, a pair of York-Adams League teams are still alive with a chance at state gold medals.
The Northeastern boys’ team is back in the Class 5-A quarterfinals after a dramatic, come-from-behind victory vs. District 1 champion Penncrest in Tuesday’s second round. The Bobcats trailed by 16 points in the fourth quarter before roaring back for a 63-60 victory.
Sophomore Nate Wilson stepped up in a huge way, dropping 26 points to lead all Bobcat scorers.
The York Catholic girls’ team, meanwhile, reached the 3-A quarterfinals thanks to Tuesday’s 52-37 win over District 6 champion Penns Valley. Katy Rader led York Catholic with a 13-point effort.
The Irish are making an impressive postseason run without the services of senior standout Kate Bauhof, who has missed the entire season recovering from a serious knee injury.
Both area teams have quite the rides ahead of them.
Northeastern (27-3), the District 3 third-place team, will take on District 2 champion Abington Heights (24-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Pottsville’s Martz Hall, which is about a 75-mile trek for the Bobcats.
The Irish (15-13), the District 3 runners-up, have even further to travel. They’re headed to Bald Eagle Area High School in Wingate at 6 p.m. Friday vs. District 7 runner-up East Allegheny (26-1). The trip from York to Wingate is about 120 miles.
Here’s a quick look at what the two teams will be up against once they get there.
Northeastern: Coached by Ken Bianchi, who recently became the Scranton area’s winningest coach, the Comets come with quite the pedigree.
Abington Heights has won seven straight District 2 championships spanning three classes. They are repeat champions in 5-A, won two in 4-A in 2015 and 2016 and collected three straight before that in 3-A.
Much like the Bobcats, the Comets reached the PIAA 5-A semis a year ago before falling to eventual state champ Archbishop Wood.
Bianchi enters with 771 career victories. He set the area’s record on Jan. 19 when he collected win No. 758 to surpass the mark of Forest City’s Julius Prezelski.
The Comets are led by forwards George Tinsley and Jackson Danzig. The 6 foot, 5-inch junior Tinsley averages 17.9 points per game, while Danzig is s 6-6 and puts up 16.8 on average.
Danzig, a 1,000-point scorer for his career, is headed to the University of Scranton to play for his father, Carl. He also hit the game-winning layup with 41.6 seconds left during the Comets’ second-round win over Chester. The Comets led that game by 17 points at one point.
The rest of the Abington Heights' lineup features 6-1 sophomore Corey Perkins (6.3 ppg) and 5-11 junior Jack Nealon (6.4 ppg) at guard, with 6-4 sophomore Mike Malone (3.4 ppg) manning the center position.
The winner of this one will take on the winner of the game between Bonner-Prendergast (District 12 champ, 24-4) vs. Allentown Central Catholic (District 11 champ, 25-4) in Monday’s semifinals.
York Catholic: With Mike Osiecki at the helm, the East Allegheny Wildcats were the runner-up in District 7 this season.
Like the Irish, the Wildcats defeated a district champion, crushing District 9’s Brookville, to reach the second round.
The Wildcats are led by senior standout Amani Johnson, who will play her college basketball at Kennesaw State. Johnson, a 5-6 senior guard, averaged 25.6 points per game entering the PIAA tournament. She was the leading scorer in the WPIAL and an all-state selection a season ago.
Not a particularly tall team, East Allegheny’s lineup is anchored in the middle by 6-foot freshman Abby Henderson, who had a 10.6-point average entering states. The rest of the Wildcats’ lineup includes 5-8 sophomore guard Amaia Johnson (12.1 ppg entering states), 5-5 senior guard Myle Bortoluzzi (7.6) and 5-9 senior forward C’Keiyah Marshall (4.5).
The Wildcats are already one step ahead of a 2017 season that saw them reach the PIAA 3-A second round before falling to Bishop Canevin. York Catholic is trying to return to the 3-A semifinals where it lost to eventual state champ Neumann-Goretti a season ago.
The winner will face the victor of the game between Bishop Canevin (District 7 champ, 22-4) vs. Mohawk (District 7 third, 21-5) in Monday’s semifinals.
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.