There was a lot of uncertainty heading into the 2016-2017 girls’ basketball season for many York-Adams League teams.
Defending champion Red Lion was in a bit of a transition season with a new leader. That was one of six coaching changes around the girls' league.
As a result, the race for the division and league titles seemed up in the air. The same could be said about the York-Adams boys' basketball races.
In the end, however, it was a season to remember for many of those teams.
Central York cruised to the Division I title, while Susquehannock did the same in Division II. York Catholic had to survive a pair of battles against rival Delone Catholic to capture the Division III crown.
Then, in one of the most competitive Y-A League tournaments in recent history, the Panthers survived three tough games to capture the program’s first league title since 1999.
In the District 3 playoffs, both York Catholic (3-A) and Susquehannock (5-A) captured titles. They were two of eight league clubs that earned PIAA berths. Again, it was the Irish and Warriors who advanced furthest in the state playoffs before getting knocked out in the semifinals.
While the season has been over for a few weeks, the 2016-2017 Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Girls' Basketball Teams were announced Saturday, with two Y-A players making the cut. York Catholic’s Kate Bauhof earned first-team honors in Class 3-A, while Dover’s Rajah Fink was named to the second team in 5-A.
On the boys’ side, seven local players were named all-state on Friday. That list was highlighted by Spring Grove senior Eli Brooks, who was named to the first team in 5-A. Also on the 5-A list were Northeastern teammates Antonio Rizzuto (second team) and Fred Mulbah (third team). The York Country Day trio of Jordan Ray (second team), DeAireus Brown (second team) and Jalen Gorham (third team) made the cut in 1-A, as did York Catholic’s Melik Martin (third team) in 3-A.
Kate Bauhof: Bauhof, a 5-foot, 7-inch point guard, was named to the second team a season ago in 2-A. She led the Fighting Irish all the way to the PIAA 3-A semifinals as a junior after averaging 19.5 points per game while connecting on 84.5 percent of her free throws, both league bests. She also led the league in 3-pointers converted with 59.
Bauhof netted 94 points over four state contests (23.5 points per game), including a 21-point effort in her team’s 40-31 triumph over previously unbeaten Saint Basil.
“Kate works on her game all the time,” York Catholic coach Kevin Bankos said. “She puts the hours in the driveway or gym, and it shows in the game.“
What makes Bauhof such a great player is her ability to draw lots of attention from the opposition’s defense.
“One of the keys to our success is not just her offense but the attention she draws from teams defensively,” Bankos said. “Because she draws two or three defenders, it leaves other kids open to make a play.”
Rajah Fink: Fink, also a junior, earned her first appearance on the all-state team after helping Dover to a remarkable turnaround season. The Eagles, coming off a six-win campaign the previous season, finished with a 19-9 record that included appearances in the Y-A, District 3 and PIAA tournaments.
The 5-10 guard/forward averaged 18.9 points per game this season, second only to Bauhof. Fink also averaged 11.5 rebounds per game and 3.8 assists per game while converting 75 percent of her free throws.
“It is a great honor for Rajah and she's very deserving,” Dover coach Kevin Glover said. “She was a kid that did not miss one offseason session, showed up for every 6 a.m. and evening summer workout. Along with her game development, what impresses me the most was her character as a teammate. There was never a situation in practice or game where she ever pointed a finger at or blamed a teammate.
“She not only went out and competed hard every game, she did everything us, as a staff, asked of her. She literally played all five positions for us this year at a high level. She's been a good player in the past, but she became better this year and was asked to become a leader this year and she stepped up and accepted that role. Our turnaround as a team was definitely led by her and supported by her teammates."
Boys' honorees: On the boys' side, Brooks was spectacular in leading the Rockets to the state quarterfinals. The University of Michigan recruit led the York-Adams League in scoring at 29.1 points per game. He helped the Rockets to a 22-8 campaign. He finished second on the league's all-time scoring list with 2,426 points. Brooks was a Class 4-A second-team pick as a junior.
Mulbah and Rizzuto, meanwhile, were a potent one-two junior punch for a Northeastern side that compiled a program-best season of 30-3. That included York-Adams Division I, York-Adams League Tournament and District 3 Class 5-A championships. The Bobcats' stellar season finally came to an end in the state semifinals. Both Rizzuto and Mulbah are getting NCAA Division I offers. Rizzuto averaged 19.0 points per game, while Mulbah pumped in 16.9 points per game.
The YCD trio was nearly unstoppable on the 1-A level, helping the Greyhounds roll to a second-straight District 3 1-A championship. The Greyhounds finished 21-5 and reached the Class 1-A state quarterfinals before losing in overtime to eventual state finalist Girard College. Brown, senior, earned a second-team selection for a second straight season. Ray is also a senior, while Gorham is just a sophomore. Ray became YCD's all-time leading scorer in January. Brown also finished with more than 1,000 career points.
Martin helped York Catholic cruise to the York-Adams Division III championship, a berth in the state playoffs and a 22-4 season. The 6-5 senior finished the season averaging 16.5 points per game. Martin plans to attend Lincoln University next season.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.