In semifinals, four best teams remain
- Semifinals will have top-two teams from Division I and Division II in action
- Spring Grove's Eli Brooks led the league in scoring, averaging more than 25 points per game
- All four teams remaining rank in top-four of District 3 rankings in respective classes
The York-Adams League doesn't hand out overall seeds for its basketball playoffs.
The only thing that determines match-ups is where a team finishes in its respective division.
However, if the league was to hand out seedings, one through eight, then after Friday night's quarterfinal round, it would be safe to say that the top four boys' teams are all still alive.
Upsets can make a tournament great, but, there's also something to be said about having the best four teams battling it out over the final two rounds of the league tournament.
Quite frankly, it wasn't even close when the final four were decided on Friday night. Central York won by 24 over West York, Spring Grove handed Hanover a 17-point defeat, Northeastern routed York High by 39 and, in the night's closest result, Eastern York breezed past York Catholic by 13. There was simply no drama down the stretch in any of the four games, but it showed the divide between the league's top four and the rest of the pack.
In the one game that probably could've been viewed as the No. 4 vs. No. 5 match-up, the Golden Knights vs. the Fighting Irish, you could argue that Eastern was probably the higher of the two seeds. However, it may have exposed York Catholic, a team that feasted on a relatively weak Division III and went just 3-4 in non-league games.
In the others, it was obvious going into the games which teams were the favorites. The Panthers' stingy defense quieted the Bulldogs' offense, but you'd expect nothing less from the top team in District 3-AAAA. The Bobcats exacted revenge on the Bearcats for their only defeat of the season earlier in the year. And the Rockets proved that having the best player in the league, Eli Brooks, can trump all. He not only paced their offense, but completely shut down the Nighthawks' leading scorer and the league's second-leading scorer, Kyle Krout, on defense.
If there was any surprise from the quarterfinal round, it wasn't necessarily in who won, but how it was won. That came from Northeastern's drubbing of York High. The Bearcats have long been the cream of the crop when it comes to the Y-A League and all of District 3-AAAA, making the league finals in each of the past seven seasons and winning back-to-back district titles. But, even their head coach, Troy Sowers, said after the game that his team just never took that next step, staying at the same level for the last month and a half. Still, one would've expected a team with so much postseason experience to rise the occasion, but, instead, they got completely dominated in every facet of the game.
It was certainly a statement win for the Bobcats, but they should know that, from here on out, the games will only get more difficult. Their up-tempo offense and depth of athletes causes all sorts of difficulty for the opposition, but if there's one team that could compete with that, it's Spring Grove. Brooks can shut down any scorer with his quick hands and persistent in-your-face defense, while Darin Gordon will certainly go toe-to-toe with the Bobcats' Kobi Nwandu on both ends of the floor.
Meanwhile, when it comes to Central and Eastern, both teams have great pure scorers of the ball in Jared Wagner and Broguen Nicholas, respectively. Their abilities on offense can single-handily dictate the outcome.
So, that's where we stand heading into Tuesday's semifinals.
There will always be people who say upsets make a tournament better.
But, when it comes to the quality of play that will ensue from the four teams remaining, you can't argue with still having the four best teams remaining.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org