It may be hard to believe, but the York-Adams League girls’ basketball playoffs are almost here.
After two-plus months of regular-season competition, eight teams have emerged to battle for the right to be called 2018-19 Y-A champion.
Action begins at 6 p.m. Friday with doubleheaders at Dover and Dallastown high schools. The winners of Friday’s contests will advance to Tuesday’s semifinals at Dallastown, with the semifinal winners squaring off at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Feb. 14, at York College for the championship.
Following is a brief preview of each of the four first-round clashes:
Dallastown (19-2, D-I No. 1 seed) vs. Susquehannock (14-7, D-II No. 3 seed): These two schools were favored in the preseason to meet up in the playoffs. Just not in the first round.
An ankle injury suffered by Jaden Walker, the Y-A League’s leading scorer, pretty much killed any hopes the Warriors had of claiming a fourth-straight D-II crown. Walker (16.3 ppg) missed three games — all losses — to cement a rematch with a Dallastown team that claimed a 42-40 triumph vs. the Warriors in early January.
That means one of these two preseason division favorites will be out of the draw before the weekend is over.
The Edge: Dallastown. The Wildcats have won 14 straight since falling to South Western on Dec. 21 in OT. The emergence of freshman guard D’Shantae Edwards has filled a big void at the point guard position. Edwards is averaging seven points a game, which is enough with the inside/outside duo of Aniya Matthews and Sam Miller garnering tons of attention. Matthews is averaging a team-high 10.3 points per game while Miller is right behind at 9.6.
Even with a healthy Walker, the Warriors don’t match up especially well with Dallastown’s size. Walker figures to guard the 6-foot, 3-inch Matthews, with several others focusing on the 6-1 Miller. Jayla Galbreath (13.3 ppg) figures to be on Edwards.
Walker, a St. Joe’s recruit, is capable of turning the edge in her team’s favor by dominating. Before her injury, she played perhaps her most complete game of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds in a victory over a red-hot Eastern York squad.
Delone Catholic (20-2, D-III No. 1 seed) vs. Gettysburg (18-4, D-II No. 2 seed): Gettysburg surprised many by leading D-II for part of the season. The solid play of Cheyenne Proctor (14.1 ppg) and Taylor Richardson (12.1 ppg), along with the skill of point guard Anne Bair (11.9 ppg) have the Adams County Warriors rated as a sleeper pick for the league title.
To fulfill that dream, however, the Gettysburg girls will have to take down a team that some coaches feel is the league title favorite. Gerry Eckenrode's Squirettes, who last won the Y-A title in 2001, have three things that all coaches desire: size, skill and depth. Those attributes have helped Delone lead the league in both scoring offense (58.0 ppg) and defense (30.9 ppg).
The Edge: Delone. Delone rides into the draw on an eight-game win streak. The Squirettes' only two losses came vs. traditional powers — defending 4-A state champ Lancaster Catholic (21-0) and 3-A rival Trinity (18-2).
Delone has a solid inside-outside combination of Brooke Lawyer and Bradi Zumbrum. Lawyer leads the Squirettes at 12.2 ppg. Lawyer has also drained a team-high 44 3-pointers. Zumbrum, a 6-foot forward, averages 11.2 ppg. Both are also among the area’s top free-throw shooters at better than 70 percent.
Kennard-Dale (20-2, D-II No. 1 seed) vs. Spring Grove (15-6, D-I No. 3 seed): This showdown might be the most intriguing quarterfinal contest..
The teams are very similar.
The Rockets surprised some observers last year with a magical run into the league playoffs. They used that experience to make a postseason push that included a PIAA berth.
This time around, with nearly the entire team back, no one is surprised that the Rockets became one of the area's better teams.
The exact same thing can be said of the Rams. With everyone back for another crack at the Y-A title, the K-D girls may have exceeded their own expectations en route to a D-II title.
The Edge: K-D. The Rockets boast an impressive trio in Haley Wagman (12.6 ppg, 51 3-pointers), Ellie Glass (10.7 ppg) and Ella Kale (10.1 ppg, 29 3-pointers), so this one figures to be close. Their defense has been solid (37.9 ppg). The Rams, however, have the size, skill and quickness to consistently give foes trouble.
One of K-D's two losses came when guard Megan Halczuk (10.2 ppg) was out with an injury vs. Susquehannock. The duo of Lexie Kopko (12.9 ppg) and Jaedyn McKeon (12.7 ppg) is as good as it gets, while Chandler Swanson is a threat outside the 3-point arc (23 made 3-pointers).
South Western (15-5, D-I No. 2 seed) vs. York Catholic (17-5, D-III No. 2 seed): South Western earns this year’s “new-kid-on-the-block” moniker after making the draw for the first time in nearly a decade.
Led by Virginia Tech recruit Taylor Geiman (13.0 ppg), the Mustangs hope to avoid the one-and-done outcomes that befell newcomers K-D and Spring Grove a year ago.
No team is more familiar with playoff basketball than York Catholic, which has qualified in each of coach Kevin Bankos’ 13 years. The Irish, however, have claimed just three titles (2011, 2008, 2007) during the past two decades.
The Edge: South Western. No one questions Bankos' coaching powers. But with standout Katy Rader (11.3 ppg) still out with a foot injury, the Irish will have their hands full stopping a motivated SW side. Sam Bullik (9.5 ppg), Gabby Coley (9.4 ppg) and Drew Kile (8.5 ppg) will have to play big for the Irish to have a shot.
The Mustangs get the edge because of their talent and experience. Geiman and Ali St. Rose (11.3 ppg) can pose match-up nightmares for the opposition. The threat of senior sniper Madi Wisensale (8.9 ppg, 38 3-pointers) is another factor.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.