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York Suburban girls one of 10 local teams looking to make a run at state basketball title

  • Ten local teams will participate in the PIAA state girls' basketball playoffs.
  • York Suburban made the playoffs after going 8-14 last season.
  • Delone Catholic is a favorite to repeat as champions.
York Suburban's Brooke Sargen, left, and Lulu Mooney, right cover Caroline Hurst of Pequea Valley as she drives the paint, Monday, January 28, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

It’s the time of the year when dreams are sometimes realized.

All the hard work through the summer and preseason, the grind of a difficult regular season and postseason all comes down to this.

Welcome to the PIAA girls’ basketball championships.

A total of 10 local squads are hoping to do what the Delone Catholic girls did a season ago – win a state title.

While the District 3 3-A champion Squirettes are certainly favored to go back-to-back, each of the other nine teams can all make a case to hoist the state title trophy in Hershey.

The resurgence of York Suburban: Nearly all of the 10 local squads (nine from the York-Adams League as well as the Christian School of York) to earn state berths this season were hardly a surprise.

Most brought back a good portion of its key contributors from last year’s squads that made the playoffs.

One in particular, however, stands out because it didn’t make the playoffs — York Suburban.

Not really picked to be among the top teams in a relatively stacked York-Adams Division II this season, the Trojans rebounded with a vengeance after stumbling to a disappointing 8-14 campaign a year ago.

While a lot of the credit goes to the improved play from the athletes themselves, a good deal of it certainly belongs to head coach Jess Barley.

In the eight seasons under Barley, the Trojans have made two Y-A playoff appearances, made the District 3 playoffs five times and the PIAA playoffs three times.

Alyssa Hucker of York Suburban is covered by Clare Neff of Pequea Valley, Monday, January 28, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

The question entering the season was whether or not last year’s record was an aberration or not.

Clearly it was.

The Trojans battled to the final day of the regular season for a Y-A playoff berth. After just missing out on that, the Suburban girls won three of their four District 3 contests to earn the fifth-seed from the district into the state draw.

“I’m just so lucky to coach some great kids here,” said Barley, who collected her 100th career victory earlier this season.

Of the team’s eight losses so far this year, three of them came against a Gettysburg squad that shared the Y-A Division II title and won the District 3 title, two came against fellow Y-A Division II co-champ West York and another was against an Eastern York team that finished runner-up in the 4-A draw.

“That just shows you that there is a lot of good basketball being played in our area,” Barley said. “We’re sending nine teams to the state tournament so it just shows you how good the other teams and coaches are in this area.”

Suburban (18-8) will certainly be tested in the first-round of the 5-A draw this weekend. Barley’s squad gets Mastery Charter North, the District 12 runner-up (19-8), this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Abraham Lincoln HS in Philadelphia.

The clash figures to be a stark contrast in styles between the two programs.

“We’ve seen a bunch of games and have scouted them and are preparing for them,” Barley said. “They’re a very fast-paced team that likes to have a lot of offensive possessions. And that’s how they try to beat you.”

One of the staples of a Jess Barley-led team at Suburban over her seasons has been its defense. If the Trojans were to pull off the upset Saturday, it will likely be behind another strong defensive performance.

“Yeah, we’re going to try to counter that,” Barley said. “We really want to play disciplined on defense and make them work really, really hard on defense to kind of slow them down and work hard for their shots offensively.”

Suburban this year has held opponents to an average of just 37.6 points per game, which was eighth in the Y-A.

Offensively, the Trojans will rely on their big-3 of Alyssa Hocker, Maddison Perring and Kiyanna Dowling. Hocker leads YS in scoring at 11.6 points per game while Perring (8.6) and Dowling (7.7) are not too far behind.

List of first-round contests:


Friday, March 6

Central York (3-2, 21-5) vs. Methacton (1-8, 21-5) 6 p.m. at West York HS

Red Lion (3-4, 21-7) vs. Pennsbury (1-2, 21-5) 6 p.m. Council Rock South HS


Saturday, March 7

Gettysburg (3-1, 26-3) vs. West Chester East (1-6, 18-8) 4:30 p.m. at Cumberland Valley HS

West York (3-4, 21-6) vs. Great Valley (1-2, 22-4) 2:30 at Methacton HS

York Suburban (3-5, 18-8) vs. Mastery North (12-2, 19-8) 3:30 p.m. at Abraham Lincoln HS

Spring Grove (3-6, 18-8) vs. West Scranton (2-1, 16-9) 5:30 p.m. at Lackawanna College


Saturday, March 7

Eastern York (3-2, 18-8) vs. Villa Joseph Marie (1-2, 12-12) 2:30 p.m. at West York HS

Bermudian Springs (3-6, 20-6) vs. Lansdale Catholic (12-1, 22-3) 1 p.m. at Archbishop Wood HS


Friday, March 6

Delone Catholic (3-1, 24-1) vs. Philadelphia Academy Charter (12-6, 7-9) 7:30 p.m. at Dallastown HS


Saturday, March 7

Christian School of York (3-3, 24-3) vs. Millville (4-2, 19-6) 1 p.m. at Milton HS

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.