This past week figured to be one that would clarify the girls’ basketball divisional races in the York-Adams League.
It certainly did.
With Central York’s victory over New Oxford and York Catholic’s triumph over parochial rival Delone Catholic, the three divisions appear to be locked down, barring a monumental upset.
The Panthers (18-2 overall, 9-1 Division I) now hold a one-game lead over Dallastown (10-10, 8-2) with two divisional games remaining. Those two squads split their regular-season showdowns, so the Wildcats would need Central to trip up against either South Western (6-12, 3-7) or Spring Grove (5-13, 1-9) to have a shot.
In Division II, Susquehannock (16-3, 11-1) has cleared all of the big hurdles heading into the final week of the season. The Warriors only need to defeat Gettysburg (7-12, 4-8) Tuesday to clinch at least a tie for the title before their finale against Northeastern (1-19, 0-12). Eastern York (14-5, 10-2) sits alone in second in D-II.
The Fighting Irish (14-4, 10-0) sewed up a share of the Division III title with their thrilling 47-46 victory over the Squirettes (15-5, 8-2) Friday evening. A victory against Biglerville (3-14, 2-8) Tuesday would make it an official outright crown for York Catholic.
The Irish have now won at least a share of the D-III title for eight straight years.
York-Adams playoff update: While the league playoffs are always a highlight of the season, there hasn’t been this level of anticipation heading into them for quite some time.
Every one of the eight teams that qualify for the playoffs has a legitimate chance at capturing the crown, although Central York would likely be considered the overall favorite.
That means one thing is for certain — the quarterfinal showdowns that start Friday, Feb. 10, will be must-see events.
As of right now, only two of the eight teams have locked in their position. The Irish will be the No. 1 seed from Division III while Delone Catholic will be the No. 2 seed, by virtue of York Catholic sweeping the season series with the Squirettes.
The other spots are not officially secured as of today, but here are the likely first-round pairings:
Central York (Division I No. 1 seed) vs. Dover (Div II/III No. 3 seed).
York Catholic (Division III No. 1 seed) vs. Eastern York (Division II No. 2 seed).
Dallastown (Division I No. 2 seed) vs. Delone Catholic (Division III No. 2 seed).
Susquehannock (Division II No. 1 seed) vs. New Oxford (Division I No. 3 seed).
That last one figures to be quite a doozy. The Warriors and Colonials (15-5, 8-3 Division I) currently occupy the No. 2 and No. 4 spots in the latest District 3 Class 5-A power ratings. Both teams are likely eager to earn one more shot against Central this season. The Panthers defeated both squads — New Oxford twice, Susquehannock once — by double figures in their previous meetings. Only one of them will have the chance to position themselves for a rematch.
District 3 playoff update: As of Sunday a total of 12 York-Adams area teams appear certain to qualify for the District 3 playoffs.
The biggest uncertainty is: Will Dallastown and/or Red Lion (10-9, 6-4 Division I) make the field in 6-A. The Wildcats (11th) and Lions (13th) will battle Thursday, with the winner likely securing a spot in the 12-team field.
Here are the teams that apear certain to be included:
6-A (12): Central York (No. 4), Dallastown (No. 1/Red Lion No. 13).
5-A (16): Susquehannock (No. 2), New Oxford (No. 4), Dover (No. 8), West York (No. 11).
4-A (10): Eastern York (No. 5), York Suburban (No. 6).
3-A (6): York Catholic (No. 1), Delone Catholic (No. 2), Hanover (No. 3).
1-A (12): Christian School of York (No. 5).
Besides Red Lion, there are two other local schools on the bubble — South Western and Littlestown.
The Mustangs (6-12, 3-7 Division I) are 19th in 5-A and have a very remote chance at cracking the 16-team field with a losing record. They would certainly have to upset Central York Tuesday as well as Dover next week to make it into the field.
Littlestown (11-8, 7-4 Division III) may have the biggest gripe if it fails to qualify. Currently sitting at No. 12 in 4-A, the Thunderbolts remain behind three teams with non-winning records (Susquehanna Township at No. 9, Berks Catholic at No. 10 and East Pennsboro at No. 11). Littlestown is separated from the Saints by just .029 ratings points for the final spot in a 10-team field.
Being the biggest school in a small-school-dominated Division III doesn’t help the Bolts at all.
Littlestown’s OWP (opponents' winning percentage) rating is just .4484, the third worst of the 19 teams in 4-A. To have any shot at cracking into the district field, the Thunderbolts will almost certainly need to upset York Catholic in the season finale Friday.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.