Many York-Adams area squads had high hopes when the high school basketball season started back in December.
Most had dreams of division, league, district and state titles filling their heads. Some fulfilled those dreams, many did not.
Now that the calendar has flipped over to March, the thoughts of capturing a state title are still a reality for only a select few.
Thirteen of them to be precise.
Those 13 — eight girls’ teams and five boys’ squads — will embark on their final journey starting this weekend as the PIAA basketball playoffs begin.
Here’s a brief rundown of those clubs and their first-round PIAA opponents.
Northeastern (3-1, 27-2) vs. Wissahickon (1-7, 15-11), Friday 3/10 at 7:30 p.m. at West York HS: This has been a season of firsts for the Bobcats.
They won the first ever York-Adams League playoff title in program history. Then came the program’s first District 3 title last week. Could Northeastern pull off a rare hat-trick later this month by winning the school’s first ever PIAA title?
Don’t count them out.
They pulled off quite the comeback Friday night in the 5-A championship game against Mechanicsburg. Trailing at one point by a 33-25 margin, Northeastern outscored the Wildcats by a 36-11 margin to earn a 61-44 triumph. Fred Mulbah led the Bobcats with 27 points in the victory.
Coach Jon Eyster and his talented crew will begin its quest this Friday when it takes on the 7th-seed from District 1, Wissahickon. The Trojans finished third in the Suburban One American standings.
Spring Grove (3-4, 20-8) vs. West Scranton (2-2, 14-11), Friday 3/10 at 7:30 p.m. at Scranton HS: Eli Brooks is hoping to make the final days of his senior a season a memorable one.
The Michigan recruit and York-Adams League leading scorer (29.8 ppg) will make the trip up I-81 to Scranton to take on the District 2 runners-up, West Scranton.
The Invaders, who finished fourth in the five-team Lackawanna Division I standings, enter Friday’s showdown with a 3-5 record over their final eight games.
New Oxford (3-9, 18-10) vs. Archbishop Wood (12-1, 23-3), Friday 3/10 at 7:30 p.m. at Philadelphia University: Northeastern isn’t the only team in the bracket looking for a first time ever hat-trick.
The Vikings from Archbishop Wood claimed the school’s first ever Philadelphia Catholic League title before capturing the program’s first District 12 crown.
The Vikings are the favorites in the 5-A bracket heading into a clash with New Oxford on Friday. The Colonials, who had to battle back after a first-round loss to Spring Grove just to make the state field, will have their hands full in this one.
York Catholic (3-3, 22-3) vs. Neumann-Goretti (12-1, 19-8), Friday 3/10 at 6 p.m. at South Philadelphia HS: The Fighting Irish can say the same thing as New Oxford about their first-round state contest Friday.
After falling in the District 3 semifinals to Lancaster Mennonite in double overtime, York Catholic’s reward for winning the third-place game is a match-up with Neumann-Goretti.
The Saints, who fell in the Catholic League finals to Wood, rebounded to capture the District 12 title. They are now on the quest for their fourth PIAA Class 3-A title in a row. Neumann-Goretti is led by a pair of NCAA Division I-caliber players in point guard Quade Green, who averages more than 21 points per game, and 6-foot 9-inch forward Dhamire Cosby-Roundtreee, who checks in at just under 18 points a game. Cosby-Roundtree has already committed to Villanova, while Green is headed to Kentucky.
York Country Day (3-1, 19-4) vs. Jenkintown (1-3, 16-7), Friday 3/10 at 6 p.m. at West York HS: The Greyhounds will start their trek for a state title against Jenkintown, the 3rd-seed from District 1.
Led by the dynamic duo of Jordan Ray and De’Aireus Brown, YCD rolled to the program’s second District 3 1-A title in a row last week. Those two combined to score 68 of the team’s 85 points in the title game triumph.
Central York (3-4, 24-4) vs. C.B. West (1-3, 23-5), Friday 3/10 at 7:30 p.m. at William Tennent HS: The Panthers will have to figure out a way to regain the offensive form that led the Y-A League in scoring this season.
Central averaged just 36 points per game during the district tournament after it was generating over 60 points per game during the regular season.
Central Bucks West finished second in the Suburban One Continental standings. The Bucks are a physical and balanced squad which is a big reason they are ranked in the latest top-10 in @PAGirlsHoops state rankings.
Susquehannock (3-1, 23-4) vs. Radnor (1-6, 18-8), Saturday 3/11 at 5 p.m. at West York HS: It didn’t look good for the Warriors for much of Saturday’s District 3 5-A title game.
But, the Y-A League Division II champs found a way to rally late and pull off a thrilling 44-42 triumph over Harrisburg.
Coach Dave Schreiner and his crew will get to work on making an extended run that they hope culminates in a return trip the Giant Center later this month. Not exceptionally deep, the Warriors make up for that with a versatile and talented starting five led by senior Tyler Williams.
Now Susquehannock will square off with Radnor, who finished fourth in the Central League standings from District 1.
West York (3-5, 18-8) vs. Pickett Mastery Charter-North (12-2, 17-10), Saturday 3/11 3:30 p.m. at Father Judge HS: The Bulldogs, who will be playing in the PIAA tournament for the sixth time in the last eight years, came into the District 3 tournament as the No. 9 seed.
But, victories over No. 8 Greencastle, No. 4 Lampeter-Strasburg and No. 3 New Oxford earned them the right to face the District 12 runner-up, Pickett Mastery Charter-North.
Master Charter-North lost to Archbishop Wood, the top-ranked team in the @PAGirlsHoops rankings, in the District 12 title game.
New Oxford (3-6, 21-8) vs. Abington Heights (2-1, 14-11), Saturday 3/11 at 4 p.m. at Marywood University: The Colonials had dreams of winning titles, but fell short at both the division, league and district levels.
Getting a PIAA title will not be any easier.
The good news for New Oxford is that it caught a break in its first round contest. Abington Heights upset Wyoming Valley West, 32-30, in the District 2 title game to earn a first-round clash with the Colonials.
Dover (3-7, 19-8) vs. Southern Lehigh (11-1, 25-1), Saturday 3/11 at 3 p.m. at Freedom HS: After getting off to a great start to the season, the road has been up-and-down for Dover.
Injuries to guards Rayah Fink and Sierra Woodyard have played a big part in the Eagles’ roller-coaster journey.
Coach Kevin Glover, however, is hoping the coaster is back on an upward trajectory as the PIAA playoffs begin. It'll have to be as the first-year coach drew the No. 2 ranked team in the latest @PAGirlsHoops rankings, Southern Lehigh.
York Suburban (3-6, 14-11) vs. Montoursville (4-1, 24-2), Friday 3/10 at 7:30 p.m. at Shikellamy HS: Suburban entered the season as one of the favorites to compete for the Y-A League Division II title.
After getting off to a slow start, the Trojans flew under the radar for much of the season.
Returning to the PIAA playoffs for a second consecutive season, however, is quite an accomplishment for coach Jess Barley and her crew. Another big feather in the cap will be to knock off a Montoursville team that enters ranked No. 7 in the latest @PAGirlsHoops rankings.
York Catholic (3-1, 20-6) vs. Loyalsock (4-3, 16-9), Saturday 3/11 at 8 p.m. at West York HS: The Fighting Irish are fresh off an 11th District 3 title in the past 12 seasons.
And with junior standout Kate Bauhof leading the charge, the Irish will always be a tough out.
The bad news for coach Kevin Bankos and his club is that the District 3 title earned them a spot in the top-half of the 3-A bracket. Ranked No. 8 in the @PAGirlsHoops rankings, the Irish are in the mix with six of the other nine top-10 teams in the state.
York Catholic will get Loyalsock, which finished third in the District 4 tournament, in the first round on Saturday.
Delone Catholic (3-2, 19-7) vs. Thomas Mastery Charter-South (12-3, 16-1), Saturday 3/11 at 6:30 p.m. at West York HS: While Delone hasn’t had a great deal of success getting by its rivals in York Catholic for the past decade, it did receive a nice consolation prize after dropping the District 3 title game to the Irish.
The Squirettes find themselves in the bottom half of the bracket with only three of the top 10 teams in the state rankings.
This should be an ideal situation for coach Gerry Eckenrode to find out what his young team is capable of accomplishing now and in the future.
The Squirettes will get the No. 3 seed from District 12, Thomas Master Charter-South, in the opening round of the playoffs on Saturday.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org