The anticipation is growing.
After an exciting night of girls’ basketball during the York-Adams League quarterfinals on Saturday, Feb. 10, four teams are still left standing. They'll clash in the league semifinals on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Dallastown High School.
The four favorites — Division I co-champions Dallastown (17-6) and Central York (18-4), Division II champ Susquehannock (20-3) and D-III co-champion Delone Catholic (20-3)— all survived the action from Saturday to move one step closer to a title.
The Panthers, who claimed the league title a season ago, return to defend their title in a highly-anticipated showdown with the Warriors. Susquehannock defeated Central back in the first round of the Panthers’ Holiday Tournament, 50-41, on Dec. 28.
In the other semifinal, the Wildcats, coming off a tough battle against Kennard-Dale, will face off with the Squirettes, who earned an impressive victory over Dover Saturday.
Here's a look at what to expect come Wednesday.
Central York vs. Susquehannock: While the Warriors were able score a victory in their showdown with the Panthers back in late December, a few things have changed since then.
For one, Central played that night without talented senior Teirra Preston. It was the first of five games that Preston, who averages 12.4 points per game, missed because of injury.
“We’ll have ‘T’ back and that’s going to make a big difference for us inside,” Central coach Scott Wisner said after his team knocked off York Catholic, 47-36, Saturday.
Preston’s presence will likely make life a lot more difficult for Susquehannock standout Jayden Walker, who scored a team-high 15 points in the previous contest. Walker, who averages a team-high 14.7 points per game, likely won’t get as many opportunities inside as she had in Saturday’s 56-37 victory over Spring Grove when the junior poured in a team-best 25 points in the triumph over the Rockets.
While the Panthers are relatively healthy, the Warriors have been dealing with some injury issues. Maddie Stone, who started for the team for much of the season, has been sidelined with a leg injury since a Jan. 26 victory against Dover.
While Stone averaged just more than three points per contest, her experience on the floor and defensive play are not easily replaced. Stone’s place in the lineup has been filled in by Kaelyn Duvall, who is averaging a shade under four points per game since stepping into the lineup.
One last thing of note. Despite Susquehannock’s success over the past dozen years, which includes a District 3 5-A title a year ago as well as two appearances in the District 3 3-A title game, the Warriors have never won or made the finals of the league playoffs. Could this be the year when Susquehannock’s excellence translates into success in the league bracket?
Dallastown vs. Delone Catholic: The Wildcats have been overshadowed by their rivals from Central York for much of the past two seasons. Dallastown finished just a game behind the Panthers in the D-I race last year before sharing it with them this season. It's clear that coach Jay Rexroth’s club is looking forward to one-upping its rival this time around.
Led by senior Julia Sutton, junior Samantha Miller and sophomore Aniya Matthews, the Wildcats have one of the more explosive offenses in the league. Sutton (14.0 points per game) and Matthews (10.2) lead the team in scoring, while Miller is the hybrid inside-outside threat who gives defenders fits.
Dallastown’s size — Matthews is 6-foot-4, while Miller is 6-1 — is problematic for most opponents. That’s an advantage that Rexroth and the Wildcats typically use to their advantage every night.
Well, until Wednesday, perhaps.
While no other team in D-I can put out a pair of 6-footers on the court, the Squirettes are one of the few teams that can match Dallastown’s size. Senior Catie Apgar, listed at 6-3, and Bradi Zumbrum, a 6-1 junior, could help negate the Wildcats' primary advantage.
In addition, Colleen Anderson and Maddie Clabaugh register close to the 6-foot mark as well for the Squirettes.
If the size on both teams is a wash, the game may well be decided on the perimeter. Sutton and Miller have proven adept at knocking down shots from outside the paint all season. For Delone, Anderson and Brooke Lawyer have demonstrated they are able to do the same.
Lawyer had a career-best 22 points in Delone’s 58-47 victory over Dover Saturday. Miller scored 15 in Dallastown’s 48-40 triumph over K-D.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.