The start of the PIAA girls’ basketball playoffs was not kind to the five York-area clubs that earned state berths.
Heading into the second round, only York Catholic (21-6) remains alive in the quest for a state title.
After defeating Bodine in the first-round, the Irish will continue to fight for survival in the minefield of a loaded Class AA bracket on Tuesday.
It begins with a showdown vs. District 2 champion Holy Redeemer at Hamburg High School at 6 p.m. A clash with either No. 1 ranked Neumann-Goretti or No. 2 Minersville awaits the winner in the quarterfinals. The rankings are according to Pennlive.com.
The Wilkes-Barre parochial power is unfamiliar to Irish coach Kevin Bankos and his young, but talented squad. While the Irish have defeated Bodine a couple of times during their long streak of making the state playoffs, Redeemer will present a new and different challenge.
In just their second season in AA, the Royals are no strangers to the PIAA playoffs. They’ve made the tournament eight out of the last nine years, including each of the past four seasons, between AAA and AA.
This clash probably should've happened in the quarterfinals a year ago, Redeemer’s first foray into the AA bracket. Unfortunately for the Irish, Saint Basil Academy derailed an expected showdown by upsetting York Catholic in the second round.
Now, after both teams took care of business in the first round, the Irish will do their best to author an upset of their own.
Ranked No. 3 in the state in AA, Redeemer (23-3) is an experienced and talented squad. The Royals led the Wyoming Valley Conference in scoring at 66 points per game. Their average margin of victory this year has been 30.4 points.
“I don’t think there’s a team in York that they resemble,” Bankos said. “They’re very tall and they have two really quick guards. And one of the big girls (Meghan Corridoni, 9.8 points per game) can step out and shoot threes. One of their best players is the 6-foot-1 girl inside (Rebecca Prociak, 21.1 ppg).”
According to Bankos, the Royals may be one of the most complete teams in the bracket. They return four of five starters from last year.
“They have the right combination,” Bankos said. “Quick guards, guards that can shoot the three and big girls inside that know how to play the game.”
Tempo figures to be a big key Tuesday. The Royals enjoy an up-tempo, full-court pressure game. They employed that to near perfection in a first-round victory over Southern Columbia, where they used a 22-5 blitz in the second period to take control.
“We want to run up and down,” said Redeemer coach Chris Parker, who has more than 100 victories during his five years at the helm. “That’s our game. We don’t want to have to set up offensive sets in the half court if we don’t have to.”
Bankos feels one of the biggest advantages for his unranked team is in its ball-handling. If the Irish can handle and beat the pressure, an upset is possible.
“I’m hoping that our speed and ability to handle the ball against their size may help us,” he said. “I think a (weakness) of their team is that they don’t play man-to-man too often. And I’m sure that size probably dictates that their match-ups are a bit harder. So they throw a 2-2-1 trap in there trying to slow you down and we’ve seen that before, but their abilities are probably better than anyone else we’ve seen this year.”
Bauhof on roll, but needs help: While the Irish will push the tempo on occasion, their bread and butter is in the open half-court set. The open set often frees up York-Adams League leading scorer Kate Bauhof for good looks.
Bauhof, who is coming off a 34-point showing in Friday’s victory over Bodine, averages 21.7 points a game. She has upped that output during the playoffs, where she is putting up 28.4 ppg in five contests.
While Bauhof will undoubtedly get her points, the Irish will need others to step up and support their leader. So far during the playoffs that hasn’t been easy. Only twice has one of Bauhof’s teammates reached double figures in scoring (both by Jania Wright, 10 points each time) since the regular season ended.
“We never have and never will win (a title) with just one offensive player,” Bankos said. “You have to have other kids that can put the ball in the basket. Now our offense is very open, which frees up a lot of things. We’re going to have to get other kids scoring. You can’t go very far in the postseason if you don’t get those other contributions.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YORK CATHOLIC (21-6)
SG Kate Bauhof, 21.7 ppg
F Jania Wright, 8.5 ppg
C Emily Laslo, 6.4 ppg
F Katy Rader, 4.7 ppg
PG Danielle Desseyn, 2.3 ppg
G Gina Citrone, 4.9 ppg
G Teslyn Sterner, 2.1 ppg
HOLY REDEEMER (23-3)
C Rebecca Prociak, 21.1 ppg
F Meghan Corridoni, 9.8 ppg
PG Lydia Lawson, 8.6 ppg
SG Talia Kosierowski, 7.8 ppg
G/F Sam Rajza, 7.6 ppg
G/F Kayla Hons, 4.9 ppg
G/F Sara Flannelly, 3.5 ppg