Weekend preview: Central York girls, Eastern York boys set for PIAA hoops quarterfinals
The Panthers and Golden Knights will play back-to-back state playoff games in Reading.
Forty-three York-Adams League boys’ and girls’ basketball teams tipped off their seasons more than three months ago. Only two have games left to play.
The Central York girls and Eastern York boys advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals in their respective classifications with victories Tuesday. The Panthers beat Easton, 64-46, in a Class 6A second-round clash, while the Golden Knights captured a 75-54 win in the 4A boys’ bracket against Overbrook.
Two other YAIAA squads — Littlestown’s boys and Delone Catholic’s girls — advanced to the second round of states earlier this week but saw their seasons come to an end with midweek defeats. The Thunderbolts fell 67-46 to District 7’s Uniontown on Tuesday before the Squirettes lost 51-37 to Allentown Central Catholic on Wednesday. York County was also represented in the second round by the Christian School of York girls, who faded late against Mountain View in Class 1A action Wednesday.
Two schools remain, and they’ll be playing back-to-back at the same venue Friday night.
Central’s girls have the first tip at Reading High School’s Geigle Complex, as the Panthers will face District 12 champion Cardinal O’Hara at 6 p.m. Eastern’s boys will follow against District 11 champ Allentown Central Catholic at 7:30. Local fans will have plenty of reason to make the Friday trip, and attendees will have a pair of high-level basketball games awaiting them.
3-2 Central York (25-4) vs. 12-1 Cardinal O’Hara (22-5), 6 p.m.: The Panthers have reached this stage for the second time ever, but Friday will be their first state quarterfinal game after the remainder of the 2020 tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors Mackenzie Wright-Rawls and Bella Chimienti were freshmen on that team, and they’ve helped lead this group through adversity on another deep playoff run.
Chimienti’s last-second free throws after a chaotic second overtime lifted Central to a 50-48 home win over Souderton last Friday. Then, against an Easton team that entered 28-1, the Panthers turned an early 14-4 deficit into a commanding victory by pushing the tempo to a higher gear.
The Lions’ two state victories have come by narrow margins — they beat Conestoga, 50-42, before prevailing for a thrilling 42-39 victory over Spring-Ford on Tuesday. That victory also came at Reading’s Geigle Complex and was O’Hara’s third time knocking out the Rams in five years. Joanie Quinn led the Lions with 15 points Tuesday, while Molly Rullo added 12 and Carly Coleman had 11.
3-5 Eastern York (20-8) vs. 11-1 Allentown Central Catholic (22-8), 7:30 p.m.: The Golden Knights, after an 11-0 start to the season, had gone 7-8 in their last 15 contests preceding states. But Justin Seitz’s team has found its groove at a perfect time, first knocking off District 4 Class 4A champion Danville by a 56-52 final before rolling past Overbrook on Tuesday.
Carter Wamsley was one of the county’s best players during the regular season, but the 6-foot-6 sophomore had one of the games of his life against Overbrook, racking up 29 points and 14 rebounds in the win. He’s gotten plenty of help from 6-4 senior and York-Adams Division II Player of the Year Austin Bausman, who tallied 12 and 21 points in the two games. Sophomore point guard Brady Seitz has chipped in nine and eight points to help solidify Eastern’s supporting cast.
The Vikings are also playing their second straight game in Reading; they knocked off Cardinal O’Hara, 49-46, on Lucas Mushrush’s 3-pointer at the buzzer Tuesday. Central Catholic also beat E&S Carver, 78-46, last weekend as part of an eight-game winning streak that also included the District 11 title. Mushrush led the Vikings with 14 points in their latest win, while fellow guard Nico Pulieri added 13.
The PIAA swimming and diving championships began Wednesday and continued Thursday with Class 2A boys’ and girls’ competition. Class 3A medals will be handed out Friday and Saturday at Bucknell University in Lewisburg. (Check in with The York Dispatch online for continuing coverage of the state meet.)
It’s also championship weekend for high school bowlers, and Central York — the lone York-Adams League squad to capture a state title in 2022 — has an opportunity to defend. The Panthers, who won just a share of the York-Adams League crown this year, took home the hardware at the Eastern Region tournament March 4. The team tournament Saturday in Erie will feature qualifying rounds followed by a stepladder bracket to determine the champion.
Central will also be represented by junior Kamryn Brenneman in the girls’ individual tournament Friday, while York Tech’s Mason Smith qualified to compete in the boys’ event. Both bowlers earned one of 12 available spots from the regional tournament. Like in the team tournament, competitors will roll qualifying rounds with top scorers advancing to bracket play.
It’s the first week of local high school spring sports, but those of you who’ve stepped outside lately know it doesn’t exactly feel like spring yet. The cold, windy weather has already postponed several boys’ tennis matches this week, and more events could still be sidelined. A majority of local squads, however, hope to open serve on their 2023 seasons by week’s end.
Friday’s slate — as of Thursday afternoon — also includes New Oxford visiting Bermudian Springs in both baseball and softball; West York boys’ and girls’ lacrosse battling Wyomissing (with the boys at home); York Catholic softball at Boiling Springs; Central York girls’ lacrosse at Penn Manor; and Delone Catholic boys’ lacrosse at Chambersburg.
Kennard-Dale boys’ volleyball opens its season in a tournament at Cocalico on Saturday morning, and plenty of teams are slated to follow next week. Stay tuned for a full spring preview as the action heats up.