Kevin Bankos didn't dive into coaching with the goal of winning awards.
Instead, Bankos was driven by a desire to help athletes reach their full potential.
So when Bankos was notified Tuesday that he was named the 2017-18 Pennsylvania Class 3-A Girls' Basketball Coach of the Year by the state's sports reporters, the York Catholic head coach was caught a bit off-guard.
"This year, for us, I think (winning this) was without a doubt a surprise," Bankos said. “I’m extremely humbled. There’s a lot of great coaches out there in the state of Pennsylvania.”
In addition, three York-Adams players earned all-state recognition in Class 5-A. Dover's Rajah Fink made the 5-A first team, while Susquehannock's Jaden Walker and South Western's Taylor Geiman earned second-team honors.
Bankos, meanwhile, made it clear that he's only a part of the reason that the Irish have enjoyed unprecedented success during his tenure.
“It’s not just me,” he said. “It’s our whole staff — Mike Weaver, Ashton (Hirsch) and others — and that’s why we’re successful here at York Catholic. They all work very hard. There’s a lot of unity on the staff and it takes us all to point (the kids) in the right direction.”
There's no question that Bankos, who has led his team to 10 District 3 titles and two PIAA Class 2-A state titles over his 12-year reign, has done a fine job in that regard. He's coached numerous all-state players, many of whom have gone on to success at the collegiate level.
Playing this past season without standout guard Kate Bauhof, even rival coaches may agree that this may have been Bankos’ best work yet.
“He’s had great individual players, but they haven’t been selfish by any stretch of the imagination,” Delone Catholic head coach Gerry Eckenrode said. “But this year he was able to win without that one outstanding player and that’s probably the biggest thing (for their success) this season.”
Playing without Bauhof, who missed the entire season while recovering from an ACL injury suffered last summer, the Irish struggled through a tough regular-season schedule, that included non-league contests against some of the top squads in the district and the state.
It wasn’t until the final game of the regular season that Bankos truly felt that his team learned that they could still be a threat without Bauhof.
“I don’t want to say that (the players) were looking over their shoulder, but I do think that they kind of felt that ‘hey, we’ll be OK when (Bauhof) comes back,” Bankos said. “But I also think that all year long that they truly believed that they could do this. We played a very difficult schedule and I think there was a point after the Archbishop Wood game that they got the sense that they could compete with the elite programs in the state without Kate. And then it was during that second Delone game that they finally got over the hump.”
When the playoffs rolled around, however, Bankos was able to get much more out of his club than anyone expected. The Irish defeated rival Delone Catholic twice — once to earn a share of the Division IV title in that final regular-season showdown and then again in the District 3 3-A semifinals. That got the Irish to a District 3 title game for a 12th year in a row, where they lost to Trinity.
Players such as Katy Rader and Abby Pilkey seemed to pick up their games during the team’s late-season run. Pilkey averaged 15.3 points per game, nearly four points higher than her season average, during the district and state playoffs. Rader did nearly the same, scoring 11.3 points a contest, over three points higher than her season average.
That district title appearance earned Bankos and his club another berth into the PIAA draw. A year after making the state semifinals with Bauhof in tow, this year's club won a pair of state contests to make it to the quarterfinals.
York Catholic finished 15-14 after an 11-12 regular season.
Players honored: Fink earned her first-team recognition after the senior led the league in scoring at 25.3 points per game, along with 14.1 rebounds per contest. She also averaged 4.1 assists and 2.8 steals per game. She finished with 1,609 career points, the second-highest total in program history, and 1,048 rebounds. She has signed to play at NCAA Division II Indiana University of Pennsylvania next season.
Geiman, a junior, averaged 13.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.5 blocks per game. Geiman helped South Western almost double its win total from a year ago to reach the District 3 tournament. She had numerous D-I college scholarship offers and is headed to Virginia Tech.
Walker, a junior as well, averaged 14.8 points, 11 rebounds and two steals per game this season, leading the Warriors to a 23-7 record and the second round of the PIAA Class 5-A tournament. She's committed to D-I St. Joseph's.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.
PENNSYLVANIA SPORTS WRITERS ALL-STATE TEAMS
Each player’s school, height, class and scoring average.
Kate Connolly, Souderton, 6-2, Sr., 11.3
Kenzie Gardler, Cardinal O'Hara, 5-7, Sr., 14.2
Makenna Marisa, Peters Township, 5-11, Jr., 22.9
Rachel Martindale, North Allegheny, 5-9, Jr., 15.3
Taylor O'Brien, Plymouth-Whitemarsh, 5-10, Sr., 22.8
Jackie Vargas, Upper Dublin, 6-3, So., 11.3
Alexa Brodie, Central Bucks South, 5-6, Jr., 13.2
Kassondra Brown, Abington, 6-2, Jr., 18.3
Maddie Burke, Central Bucks West, 6-0, So., 14.7
Jamiya Eaddy, Erie, 5-5, Sr., 20.8
Megan Jonassen, Perkiomen Valley, 6-1, Sr., 17.5
Victoria Keenan, Northampton, 5-7, Jr., 16.8
Hailey Meinel, Central Bucks South, 5-10, Sr., 16.1
Kion Andrews, Allen, 5-7, Sr., 18.3
Brianne Borcky, Garnet Valley, 6-0, Jr., 10.3
Leanna Deegan, Easton, 6-0, Sr., 15.8
Laura Graytok, Latrobe, 5-7, Sr., 23.1
Maura Hendrixson, Cardinal O'Hara, 5-10, Sr., 13.8
Emily McAteer, Garnet Valley, 6-0, Jr., 15.3
Piper Morningstar, North Allegheny, 6-0, Sr., 11.1
Player of the year: Taylor O'Brien, Plymouth-Whitemarsh
Coach of the year: Morgan Funsten, Upper Dublin
Dajahnae Brannon, Harrisburg, 5-10, Sr., 17.4
Rajah Fink, Dover, 5-11, Sr., 25.3
Tai Johnson, Mars, 5-7, Jr., 18.4
Katie May, Archbishop Wood, 5-11, Sr., 8.8
Amanda Mobley, Southern Lehigh, 5-6, Sr., 11.1
Lauren Wasylson, Mars, 5-10, Sr., 17.5
Laryn Edwards, Hampton, 5-8, Sr., 21.7
Taylor Geiman, South Western, 6-0, Jr., 13.4
Molly Masciantonio, Archbishop Carroll, 5-9, Sr., 16.1
Megan McConnell, Chartiers Valley, 5-6, So., 19.0
Olivia Snyder, Southern Lehigh, 6-0, Jr., 17.6
Jaden Walker, Susquehannock, 5-10, Jr., 14.8
Kaitlyn Orihel, Archbishop Wood, 5-9, Fr., 10.5
Ali Benim, Harbor Creek, 5-9, Jr., 20.0
Ali Collins, Hampton, 5-7, Sr., 20.0
Jenna Clark, Thomas Jefferson, 5-6, Jr., 17.7
Grace Ferguson, West Chester Henderson, 6-2, Jr., 11.6
Margo Loutzenhiser, Warren, 5-9, Jr., 18.4
Peyton McDaniel, Twin Valley, 5-11, So., 18.0
Player of the year: Katie May, Archbishop Wood
Coach of the year: Dana Petruska, Mars
Kiki Jefferson, Lancaster Catholic, 6-0, Jr., 18.0
Taliyah Medina, Bethlehem Catholic, 6-0, So., 14.0
Molly Mraz, Erie Villa Maria, 5-8, Sr., 11.7
Sydney Palermo, Erie Villa Maria, 6-2, Sr., 13.0
Bella Posset, Beaver, 5-8, Sr., 19.6
Dejah Terrell, Berks Catholic, 6-0, Sr., 17.1
Mackenzie Amalia, Blackhawk, 5-5, So., 17.0
Mady Aulbach, Blackhawk, 5-5, Jr., 16.0
Cali Konek, Southmoreland, 5-7, Jr., 17.9
Kayley Kovac, Jim Thorpe, 5-10, Sr., 23.7
Kylee Lewandowski, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, 6-0, 15.2
Leah Miller, Punxsutawney, 5-11, Sr., 15.3
Olivia Fasick, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, 5-8, Jr., 16.4
Skylynn Faust, Lehighton, 5-11, Sr., 22.8
Sarah Holweg, Wyoming Area, 5-7, Sr., 16.0
Hannah Kauffman, Jersey Shore, 5-9, Jr., 19.0
Reese Mensinger, Berwick, 5-7, Sr., 21.8
Tess Myers, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, 5-10, So., 13.0
Rachael Rose, Scranton Prep, 5-2, Fr., 15.7
Player of the year: Kiki Jefferson, Lancaster Catholic
Coach of the year: Molly Rottmann, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic
Brionna Allen, Bishop Canevin, 5-7, Sr., 15.6
Anna Camden, Shipley, 6-1, Jr., 17.6
Halle Herrington, Philipsburg-Osceola, 5-4, Jr., 30.6
Jabria Ingram, Neumann-Goretti, 5-8, Sr., 16.5
Amani Johnson, East Allegheny, 5-5, Sr., 28.9
Averi Jordan, North Schuylkill, 5-10, Sr., 25.7
Olivia Fusaro, West Shamokin, 5-8, Sr., 22.2
Emily Hegedus, Karns City, 5-9, Sr., 25.7
Shamyjha Price, Bishop Canevin, 5-9, Jr., 14.4
Casey Remolde, Saint Basil, 5-10, Jr., 13.0
Tory Self, Wellsboro, 5-8, Sr., 20.4
Victoria Toomey, Dunmore, 6-1, Jr., 17.0
Nicole Varano, Mount Carmel, 5-9, Sr., 22.5
Jaye Haynes, Germantown Academy, 5-8, So., 12.0
Tatiana Jones, Neumann-Goretti, 5-11, Jr., 14.0
Sunshine McCrae, Camp Hill Trinity, 6-0, Jr., 13.6
Summer Reeser, Pequea Valley, 5-6, So., 18.0
Alana Swift, Imhotep, 5-6, Jr., 12.1
Player of the year: Jabria Ingram, Neumann-Goretti
Coach of the year: Kevin Bankos, York Catholic
Diamond Bragg, Camp Hill, 5-9, Sr., 22.1
Alli Campbell, Bellwood-Antis, 6-1, So., 26.4
Rena Enterline, Blairsville, 5-8, Sr., 19.8
Mikayla Lovelace, Leechburg, 5-10, Sr., 23.8
Maggie Wigoda, Minersville, 5-9, Sr., 16.9
Alexa Williamson, Chartiers-Houston, 6-1, Sr., 30.7
Delaney Dogan, West Middlesex, 6-0, Sr., 16.8
Caroline Elliott, Vincentian, 5-10, Sr., 17.0
Autumn Fennell, Penns Manor, 5-3, Jr., 17.7
Ella Marconi, Kane, 6-2, Jr., 15.3
Tamiah Robinson, West Catholic, 5-6, So., 13.9
Brenna Babcock, Northwest, 5-5, Jr., 16.7
Megan Babinsky, Mahanoy Area, 5-4, Sr., 10.7
Megan Bisco, Mahanoy Area, 5-8, Sr., 11.5
Emily Fullem, Ridgway, 6-1, Sr., 20.4
Taylor Geer, Keystone, 5-10, Sr., 20.2
Maggie Pina, Notre Dame de Namur, 5-7, Jr., 17.7
Makennah White, West Middlesex, 6-0, So., 19.2
Player of the year: Alli Campbell, Bellwood-Antis
Coach of the year: Jim Swaney, Bellwood-Antis
Alexis Hill, Lebanon Catholic, 6-0, Sr., 18.0
Alyssa Martinazzi, Bishop Carroll, 5-9., Sr., 18.8
Tori Obenrader, North Clarion, 5-11, Sr., 24.2
Halee Smith, Juniata Valley, 5-11, So., 16.1
Gia Thorpe, Winchester Thurston, 5-9, Sr., 23.3
Ayanna Townsend, Winchester Thurston, 6-2, Sr., 15.2
Kiera Booth, Berlin Brothersvalley, 6-1, So., 16.9
Jennifer Kremp, Jenkintown, 5-8, Sr., 14.7
Malia Magestro, Kennedy Catholic, 5-9, So., 22.0
Shayna McNamee, Saint John Neumann, 5-8, Jr., 17.1
Ellie Thompson, Allegheny-Clarion Valley, 5-8, Sr., 19.5
Selina Albert, Lourdes Regional, 5-11, Sr., 15.0
Jessica King, Sullivan County, 6-0, So., 10.8
Mia Kolb, Jenkintown, 5-9, Jr., 10.7
Mykenzie Malacusky, Sullivan County, 5-7, Jr., 14.3
Emily Zocsin, Weatherly, 5-6, Jr., 18.7
Player of the year: Alexis Hill, Lebanon Catholic
Coach of the year: Jim Romano, Jenkintown