PIAA state basketball tournament preview: 13 York-Adams League teams in action

The league advanced nine girls' squads and four boys' teams to states, which tip off this weekend.

Thomas Kendziora
York Dispatch

After three months of Pennsylvania high school basketball, only 192 boys’ teams and 191 girls’ teams are still playing. The PIAA tournaments in all six classifications tip off this weekend, with 32-team brackets whittled down until champions are crowned in Hershey in two weeks.

The York-Adams League has advanced nine girls’ teams and four boys’ squads to this stage, thanks to strong finishes in District 3 tournaments. The weekend slate includes six games Friday night and seven contests Saturday afternoon. (Two more York County teams are also in action, both on Saturday.)

Only four of these teams, however, have home games in the opening round. Delone Catholic’s boys and girls, as well as the girls’ teams from Central York and York Suburban, earned home-court advantage by reaching the district finals last week. 

Central will tip off in the Class 6A tournament against Souderton at 7 p.m. Friday, while Suburban battles Mars in the 5A first round at 3 p.m. Saturday. Delone Catholic actually has a home doubleheader set for Saturday, with the Squire boys battling North Penn-Mansfield at 12:30 p.m. and the Squirettes following against MaST Charter at 2.

Central York's Mackenzie Wright-Rawls (32) against Cedar Cliff n the district 3 class 6a girls basketball final in Hershey on Thursday, March 2, 2023.

The rest of the teams in the area will spread out across the state — some traveling east, some west and some north. And all of them, of course, hope to extend their travel plans for another round.

Here’s a lengthy rundown of what to watch for in each matchup this weekend.


Class 6A girls

1-7 Souderton (22-6) at 3-2 Central York (23-4), 7 p.m.: The Panthers reached the second round of this tournament a year ago thanks to a road victory over District 7’s Upper St. Clair. This time, Central York has an opportunity to play in front of its home fans. Seniors Mackenzie Wright-Rawls, Bella Chimienti, Jazmine Parker and Emily Crouthamel will certainly be eager to continue their careers into next week.

Souderton, a team with plenty of size and experience, captured the Suburban One League’s Colonial Division title this year. Seniors Casey Harter and Teya McConnaha were named to the division’s first team, while Erin Bohmueller was a second-team selection.

3-4 Dallastown (19-10) at 1-3 Spring-Ford (24-5), 7 p.m.: The Wildcats, after knocking off Central York at the buzzer to win the York-Adams League title, placed fourth in the district for the second straight year. Jay Rexroth’s group went one-and-done at states in 2022, and the defensive-minded team will need one of its best performances to grab a road win here.

The Rams reached the state finals in 2021, and this year’s group had two juniors — Anna Azzara and Mackenzie Pettinelli — named to the Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division first team. Junior Katie Tiffan and senior Megan Robbins made the second team. Azzara, a point guard, leads a balanced attack with 15.2 points per game.

3-6 Red Lion (18-9) at 1-1 Perkiomen Valley (27-1), 7 p.m.: When these teams met in the first weekend of the season, the Vikings dump-trucked the Lions en route to a 73-35 victory. Perk Valley continued its dominance over the next three months, outscoring opponents by an average score of 59-33. The only loss came at Spring-Ford, and the Vikings have beaten the Rams three times since.

Perk Valley’s five leading scorers — and its four PAC Liberty Division all-stars — are all sophomores. Center Quinn Boettinger (16.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and forward Grace Galbavy (13.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg) will test Red Lion seniors Bhrooke Axe and Kamauri Gordon-Bey inside, while point guard Bella Bacani shoots 43% from long range. The Lions may need a 3-point barrage from Grace Masser and others to keep pace. 

Central York vs. Eastern York during YAIAA boys’ basketball semifinal action at York County School of Technology in York Township, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. Central York would win the game 72-59. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Class 4A boys

3-5 Eastern York (18-8) at 4-1 Danville (19-7), 7 p.m.: The Golden Knights encountered plenty of drama in the district playoffs to get here. They dropped a quarterfinal contest to Octorara and stared elimination in the face against division rival Kennard-Dale, but escaped to win that game and added another victory against Middletown for fifth place. Next up is a two-hour trip north to face the Ironmen, who captured the District 4 title last Friday.

Senior Carson Persing leads Danville with 12.6 points per game and has knocked down 54 triples this season, while junior Luke Huron averages 10.4 points and went for 29 in the district semifinals. Junior Hayden Winn (9.0 ppg) is the Ironmen’s tallest player at 6-foot-3, so Eastern York could have a size advantage with its duo of 6-4 senior Austin Bausman and 6-6 sophomore Carter Wamsley.

3-3 Littlestown (20-6) at 4-2 Lewisburg (16-9), 7:30 p.m.: The Thunderbolts needed just one win in districts to advance to states, and they got it with an 81-57 quarterfinal victory over Bishop McDevitt. After falling at Fleetwood in the semis, Littlestown cruised past Octorara to grab the third seed. As York-Adams D-III Player of the Year Jake Bosley looks to extend his career, he’ll look for help from 6-foot-8 junior Christopher Meakin and all-star guard Zyan Herr.

The Green Dragons were seeded fourth in the District 4 tournament but knocked off No. 1 Shamokin in the semifinals before falling to Danville. The player to watch is Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference Division II MVP Cam Michaels, a 5-8 senior guard. Senior Henry Harrison was named to the division’s first team, with 6-5 sophomore Neyshawn Mabry a second-teamer.

Class 3A girls

3-4 York Catholic (17-9) at 6-1 River Valley (25-2), 7 p.m.: The Fighting Irish have taken a big step forward this year, but Kevin Bankos’ group has run into plenty of understandable issues against top teams away from home, the most recent example being a 62-35 loss at Lancaster Catholic in the district semifinals. River Valley has been among the best teams in the state this year, outscoring teams by 22 points per game, with its two losses coming by a single point.

The Panthers run things through sophomore Ava Persichetti, who’s registered 20.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 3.9 steals per game. Senior forwards Abby Pynos (9.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg) and Hannah Artley (9.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg) will present serious tests for York Catholic’s smaller frontcourt. The Irish will need multiple players to step up to keep this one close.

Central York's Ben Rill (13) against William Penn's Omarion Newson (12) during their boys basketball final in York on Thursday, Feb.16, 2023.


Class 6A boys

3-5 Central York (22-7) at 1-2 Spring-Ford (25-3), 3 p.m.: Neither of these squads was in the state tournament last year, and Central wasn’t even in districts. But both teams are loaded with talent and won their respective league titles this season. The Panthers’ district loss came at Hempfield in the quarterfinals, while the Rams fell, 59-54, to Plymouth-Whitemarsh in the District 1 final.

Spring-Ford’s PAC Liberty all-stars include first-team sophomore Jacob Nguyen and EJ Campbell, as well as second-teamer Caleb Little. The Rams have size across the roster but will still have their hands full with Central’s 6-foot-7 Greg Guidinger and 6-8 Ben Rill. Slow starts have bugged the Panthers all year; they’ll need to find their footing early to have a good chance.

Class 5A girls

3-7 Susquehannock (14-12) at 1-1 West Chester Rustin (24-3), 2 p.m.: The Warriors’ up-and-down season had its signature moment Feb. 21, when Susky came back to beat Lampeter-Strasburg in overtime and secure a state berth. A win over West York in the seventh-place game gave the Warriors a shorter road trip, but it’ll certainly be a tough test ahead.

MORE:Susquehannock girls' basketball rides roller coaster to state tournament

Golden Knights senior and Drexel commit Laine McGurk has been among the best players in the state, averaging 23 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest. Rustin’s lineup includes four seniors and a junior. Susquehannock has a veteran group, too, although none of the Warriors had been in a playoff game before last month. Alex Fancher’s team will likely need hot 3-point shooting to stay afloat.

7-6 Mars (17-8) at 3-2 York Suburban (18-9), 3 p.m.: The Trojans are coming off their first-ever district title game appearance, but their run came at a cost. Senior Alyssa Dougherty broke her arm in the semifinal against Northern York, and junior Janay Rissmiller was limited by a toe injury in the final. Head coach Jessica Weaver will need plenty from Rissmiller and sophomore Lydia Powers on this stage.

York Suburban's Paige Garner (42) against Greencastle-Antrim's Callie Izer (10) in the girls basketball district 3 class 5a final in Hershey on Thursday, March 2, 2023.

The Fightin’ Planets will have nearly a four-hour drive to Spring Garden, but they’ll have a trio of dangerous scorers in Olivia Donnelly, Vita Vargo and Alexis Cashdollar when they take the floor. And 6-foot-3 center Lauren Atwell could pose a problem for a small but gritty Trojans team.

3-8 West York (13-13) at 7-1 South Fayette (24-2), 4:30 p.m.: The Bulldogs made a surprise trip to the state quarterfinals last year, but they’ve got a steep hill to climb against the Lions, regarded as one of the best teams in the state. The back-to-back WPIAL champions are spearheaded by Villanova commit Maddie Webber (17.2 ppg) and Elon pledge Ava Leroux (17 points, 13 boards in the district final).

West York’s Faith Walker, Reagan Doll and Rylee Cessna were part of last year’s impressive run. Now it’s time to see if they can do it again.

York County is also represented in this tournament by Northern York (21-4, fourth in District 3), which visits 7-3 McKeesport (21-5) at 2 p.m.

Class 4A girls

1-2 MaST Charter (19-6) at 3-2 Delone Catholic (24-3), 2 p.m.: For most of the season, the Squirettes didn’t skip a beat with their new-look roster. But a 35-30 loss to Wyomissing last Thursday snapped Delone’s streak of three straight district titles. Still, there’s plenty of reason to think Megan Jacoby, Brielle Baughman and the rest of the Squirettes can make a run at states.

The Panthers are led by sister guards Anye and Saniyah Washington, who’ve registered 19 and 14.6 points per game, respectively. Center Riley Fitzsimmons averages 5.5 points and 9.1 rebounds. MaST Charter was the top seed in a four-team District 1 tournament but fell to Nazareth Academy in the final.

3-4 Eastern York (17-9) at 11-1 Allentown Central Catholic (24-3), 3 p.m.: The Golden Knights clinched their state berth on a buzzer-beater against James Buchanan, but losses in the semifinals and third-place game saddled Eastern with the District 11 champion Vikings in the opening round. 

Junior Arianna Seitz will lead Eastern against a well-rounded Vikettes group. Junior captain Molly Driscoll has been a scoring ace, while Abbey Kofroth, Madi Szoke and Sammy Roth all reached double figures in the District 11 final. Central Catholic is in its first season under Kathy Davidowich after 42 years with Mike Kopp.

Class 3A boys

Delone Catholic vs. Trinity during PIAA District III, Class 3A championship basketball action at Giant Center in Hershey, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. Trinity would win the game 71-42. Dawn J. Sagert photo

4-2 North Penn-Mansfield (24-3) at 3-2 Delone Catholic (17-8), 12:30 p.m.: The Squires’ pair of road playoff wins over York Catholic and Columbia not only sent them to the state final, but also secured a home game in states. While Bryson Kopp, Cam Keller and the rest of the Delone Catholic squad made the Class 2A tournament last year, they have a new set of challengers looming.

The Tigers — led by 6-foot-4 junior Karson Dominick (19.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and 6-5 senior Brody Burleigh (11.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg) — steamrolled through their conference but were upset by Troy in the District 4 final, which necessitated a drive of three and a half hours to McSherrystown. 

Class 1A girls

3-3 Christian School of York (21-4) at 1-2 Jenkintown (11-14), 4 p.m.: The Defenders have a favorable matchup against the Drakes, who hold a losing record and were overmatched by Christian Academy in their only playoff game. But CSY will still need Linda Brown and the rest of the squad to handle business if they want to advance to the final 16.