This past weekend was a mixed bag for the York-area teams in the first round of the PIAA girls’ basketball state playoffs.
Several teams, including York-Adams League champion Central York, saw their seasons conclude a bit early. Other teams, such as York Catholic and Susquehannock, motored along the same path they blazed a year ago into the second round.
Then there’s Kennard-Dale.
The Rams claimed the sixth-and-final seed from District 3 Class 4-A for the state draw. Seeds slotted that low are normally considered relative speed bumps for other district champions to roll over en route to the second round. As the District 4 champs from Mifflinburg found out, however, K-D had no intention of bowing out of states so early.
The Rams (15-12) raced out to a 10-2 advantage and never trailed, dominating a Mifflinburg team that was riding a 15-game winning-streak, 51-32, Saturday, March 10, at Shikellamy High School.
“This is just insane,” junior Megan Halczuk said after leading K-D to its first-ever PIAA victory in girls’ basketball. “We didn’t have anything to lose. We just had something to prove and we had that mentality going into it.”
According Halczuk, who led the Rams with 14 points vs. Mifflinburg, a lot of the credit should go to veteran coach Bob Rudisill and his staff.
“Our coaches prepared us 100 percent,” Halczuk said. “We did walk-throughs for two days. And our coaches went up and watched (Mifflinburg) in their district championship game and they came back and told us that they have confidence that if we play well that we could beat them. They had confidence in us, which gave us (players) confidence.”
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the victory was just how outstanding the K-D defense played. The Rams forced five turnovers in the first quarter while holding the Wildcats (20-6) to just a 22 percent mark from the field.
Now Halczuk and her teammates will get ready for a second-round state battle vs. District 3 runner-up Berks Catholic (22-5) at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at Garden Sport High School in New Holland, Lancaster County. The Saints defeated Shamokin, the fourth-place team from District 4, 38-25 on Saturday.
Getting ready for Berks Catholic means that Halczuk, an NCAA Division I lacrosse recruit for Winthrop University, will have to forgo another week of preseason practice with the K-D girls’ lacrosse squad. Lest anyone think that Halczuk’s mind may be elsewhere, she says she's fully committed to helping the basketball team win another game.
“I’m in this all the way to the end,” she said.
That thought process seems in line with K-D girls’ lacrosse coach Kelly Wetzel, who led the Rams to the PIAA 2-A final a year ago.
“He’s very supportive actually,” Halczuk said of Wetzel. “He told me that my main focus right now should be on basketball and to keep going as far as we can.”
Irish, Warriors advance: Moving on will also be the mission for both the York Catholic and Susquehannock girls’ teams this week.
The Fighting Irish and Warriors both made it to the state semifinals a season ago. Both took big first steps toward a repeat this weekend.
The York Catholic girls pulled away from the third-place team from District 12, Mastery Charter South (19-2), in the second half at West York High School on Friday, March 9, for a 62-40 victory. Abby Pilkey led a trio of Irish players in double digits in scoring with 14 points.
The Susquehannock girls led by one after three quarters, but got all they needed from their big three of senior Taylor Tannura and juniors Jaden Walker and Jayla Galbreath in the final stanza. That trio scored all 15 of the squad’s points to lead the Warriors to a 38-33 victory over District 2 runner-up Crestwood (17-9).
York Catholic (14-13) will get District 6 champ Penn Valley (21-5) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, at Central Dauphin East High School. Susquehannock (23-6) moves on to face District 1 champ West Chester Henderson (29-0) at Garden Spot at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Update on Dover coach Kevin Glover: Dover head coach Kevin Glover, who was suspended by the school pending an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct by the team’s junior varsity coach with a player, was officially cleared of any wrongdoing in the matter by the Northern York County Regional Police Department recently.
Glover, who led the Eagles to the state tournament in his first season a year ago, confirmed that he met with school officials to discuss his future with the program on Thursday, March 8. No final decision was made on his status and Glover is awaiting the district’s response.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.