Kennard-Dale junior forward Lexie Kopko talked basketball following the Rams' 56-44 loss to Bishop McDevitt in the District 3 Class 4-A semifinals. JACOB CALVIN MEYER, 717-505-5406/@jcalvinmeyer
There were a fair number of unexpected twists and turns during the 2018-19 York-Adams League girls' basketball season.
You can likely expect more of the same in the 2019-2020 campaign.
The talented Dallastown girls dominated the league en route to claiming the Division I and Y-A playoff titles.
Spring Grove showcased moments of brilliance during Troy Sowers' first season back with a run to the PIAA 5-A tournament.
The Gettysburg girls put everything together en route to a run into District 3 5-A final.
So, too, did the Bermudian Spring girls en route to the first PIAA berth for the program in decades.
An injury in practice to the Y-A League's leading scorer, Jaden Walker, certainly derailed a promising season for the Susquehannock girls, who lost in the first round of districts.
Then there was the fairy-tale story of the Delone Catholic Squirettes.
After disappointments in both the Y-A and District 3 3-A playoffs, coach Gerry Eckenrode and his team did the nearly impossible by upsetting unbeaten and top-ranked Dunmore to claim the 3-A state title. It was Delone's fourth state crown under Eckenrode.
So what will be in store this season when the 2019-20 campaign begins Friday?
Here's a brief lookahead.
Division I: If the division was stacked last year, this year will be more of the same. Nearly every team has a shot at not only earning one of the three league playoff berths, but also of winning the title.
Dallastown (25-4 overall, 11-1 Division I) had a terrific season despite having no player average double digits in scoring. That figures to change. Temple-bound senior Aniya Matthews will likely gain a bigger focus in the offense. Matthews led the Wildcats in scoring at 9.9 points per game as a junior.
With fellow 6-footer Sam Miller (9.0 ppg) moving on to play NCAA Division I ball at St. Francis, the Wildcats will hope to use the size and skills of the 6-foot, 3-inch Matthews, as well as the speed and ball handling of sophomore D'Shantae Edwards, to a repeat their titles.
South Western (16-7, 10-2) was the only team to knock off the Wildcats in the division last season. But without several key standouts, including leading scorer Taylor Geiman (13.0 ppg, now at Virginia Tech), back in the fold, the Mustangs will have to find players to fill some big shoes. The one bit of good news is the return of Ali St. Rose, who scored 11.1 ppg as a junior.
Spring Grove (20-10, 8-4) accomplished a lot in Sowers' second go-around as the Rockets' head coach. Not even a questionable call in a District 3 5-A quarterfinal loss to eventual champ Palmyra could derail a second consecutive trip to the PIAA playoffs.
Many of the players who have fueled the program's success over the past two years will return. Haley Wagman led the team in scoring at 12.8 ppg, while Ella Kale chipped in 10.1 and Lexi Hoffman added 9.8. Ellie Glass, who tallied 10.8 points a contest, will join that trio at some point while recovering from a torn ACL over the summer.
Red Lion (12-11, 5-7) failed to live up to the high expectations of coach Don Dimoff in his first year back after a two-year hiatus. The Lions managed to secure a berth into the District 3 playoffs, but the goal of making a state playoff run came up short.
Dimoff, who is appproaching 500 career victories at Red Lion, will rely on the trio of Makiah Shaw (9.2 ppg), Asia Eames (6.0 ppg) and Julia Beiler (5.9 ppg) to help return the program back among the league's elite.
Central York (9-14, 5-7) certainly failed to live up to the standards of coach Scott Wisner's program a season ago. The problem wasn't with the defense, which allowed 41.8 ppg, but with the failure to score the ball. The Panthers averaged just 41 ppg.
Wisner is hopng that Elizabethtown-bound senior Emily Prowell (10.6 ppg) and junior Sarah Berman (13.5 ppg) will help in that area. So, too, could speedy Mackenzie Wright-Rawls, who is the sister of football standout Taylor Wright-Rawls.
New Oxford (9-14, 3-9) is hoping to flip last year's record behind the duo of LaSalle-bound Morgan Adams (13.0 ppg) and Jayla Brown (7.0 ppg). Coach Mike Englar will have to do his best to get some talented underclassmen, such as Ella Billman and Timberly Linebaugh (both freshman), up to speed to compete at the varsity level.
York High (1-21, 0-12) didn't show much improvement record-wise in coach Kevin Glover's first year leading the program, but the Bearcats got better as the season went along. Glover is hoping that continues. Leading scorer Sabria Royal (12.8 ppg) returns for her last season before heading to Lock Haven next year.
Division II: Like Division I, Division II will be another gauntlet for the eventual champion to navigate. More than half of the teams in the division have realistic aspirations of taking home the title.
Kennard-Dale (23-5, 13-1) followed up a surprising run two years ago that resulted in a berth in the PIAA playoffs into another solid season in coach Aaron Eaton's first season at the helm.
Many of the players from those two teams will return, including leading scorers Lexie Kopko (13.2 ppg) and Jaedyn McKeon (12.2 ppg). Lock Haven-bound Chandler Swanson (6.3 ppg) also returns for the Rams.
Gettysburg (23-7, 11-3) took a big step forward last year. The emergence of freshman point guard Anne Bair (12.1 ppg) played a big part in the Warriors' success. The addition of Delone transfer Camryn Felix (6.6 ppg) to the crew only figures to bolster some of the preseason hype surrounding to program this year.
Susquehannock (14-9, 10-4) very well could have pushed the Rams and the Adams County Warriors down the stretch had an unfortunate injury to Walker (15.7 ppg) not happened in mid-January. Walker, who is now a freshman at St. Joe's, missed only three games — ugly losses to K-D, Gettysburg and Palmyra — but she was never the same upon her return.
Jayla Galbreath (12.6 ppg) also graduated, leaving a giant scoring hole for coach Dave Schreiner and his program to fill. Schreiner, who seems to have won his battle with prostate cancer over the spring and summer, is looking for the trio of Kelsey Gemmill, Tyler Elliott and Kaelyn Duvall to step up. MaKenzie Galbreath, Jayla's younger sister, also figures to contribute during her freshman campaign.
Eastern York (16-9, 9-5) got off to a rough 1-5 start last year before finding a groove after the Christmas break. Coach Brad Weaver is hoping to avoid a similar issue this season behind the trio of Addison Malone (12.5 ppg), Mara Weaver (6.9 ppg) and Breana Grim (5.6 ppg).
West York (11-12, 7-7) has suffered through some growing pains the past two years under third-year coach James Kunkle, but the former New Oxford skipper is excited about this go-around. Led by Alayna Harris (8.5 ppg), Alainna Hopta (8.0 ppg) and Makennah Hoffman (7.6 ppg), the Bulldogs boss is eager to find out what this squad is capable of this season. A few other coaches noted that West York has some talented freshmen who could complete what could be a very dynamic squad.
York Suburban (8-14, 4-10) failed to live up to the expectations that coach Jess Barley has set during her successful tenure. Barley is hoping that experience will fuel a turnaround behind the trio of Alyssa Hocker (12.6 ppg), Kiyanna Dowling (6.5 ppg) and Lulu Mooney (5.9 ppg).
Northeastern (6-16, 2-12) didn't experience a lot of success, but a season-opening victory over Manheim Township proved that the Bobcats could compete. The Northeastern girls are hoping that several years of experience and continuity under coach Chuck Maxwell will translate to more success this year. The Jennings sisters, Jordyn (12.5 ppg) and Logan (9.6 ppg), return along with Megan Elzinga (8.0 ppg).
Nick Staab had high hopes and expectations for Dover (2-19, 0-14) in his first year at the helm. A former assistant for Barley at Suburban, Staab has had to recalibrate his benchmarks entering his second season.
Division III: While the other two divisions are filled to the brim with contenders, Division III figures to come down to just a few squads.
Delone Catholic (26-4, 12-0) figured to be in contention to win some hardware in the postseason entering last season. A perfect run through a division that includes rival York Catholic as well as an up-and-coming Bermudian side was fairly impressive.
A loss to Gettysburg in the first round of the league playoffs, as well as a disappointing effort in the District 3 3-A final against Trinity, seemed to throw shade on Delone's goals. But an improbable run to the PIAA state title game, including a huge upset of Dunmore, finally brought a smile to the face of the hard-to-please Eckenrode.
All-state standout Bradi Zumbrum (11.7 ppg) is now at York College, however, and Felix has transferred to Gettysburg. So the Squirettes will certainly have some holes to fill as they look to repeat. Size and rebounding figure to be the biggest obstacles for Eckenrode’s club.
A few key pieces return for Delone, highlighted by all-state guard Brooke Lawyer (13.1 ppg). She'll be joined by Maggie Wells (5.2 ppg) and Gianna Hoddinott (4.8 ppg). Lawyer, like Swanson and Royal, has committed to Lock Haven.
York Catholic (20-8, 10-2) made it to the 2-A final in district play, as well as the quarterfinal round of states. Returners such as Gabby Coley (8.8 ppg), Sam Bulik (8.9 ppg) and Drew Kile (8.0 ppg) will need to shoulder some more of the load after standout Katy Rader (10.6 ppg) graduated.
Bermudian Springs (18-9, 8-4) took a giant step forward last year under coach Todd Askins. The Eagles not only made the district playoffs, but were able to knock off Eastern York to claim the final berth into the PIAA draw.
The better news in York Springs is that the entire lineup returns for an encore. Skyler West (14.2 ppg) and Hannah Chenault (12.4 ppg) are perhaps the division's top scoring duo. Bailey Oehmig (9.5 ppg), Lillian Peters (5.7 ppg) and Emily Shearer (5.2 ppg) also return for an Eagles team that finished second in the Y-A in scoring last season.
Littlestown (9-13, 5-7) is hoping to take a step forward this season. Molly Watkins (13.3 ppg) and Ava Collins (10.3 ppg) are back for coach Kelsey Wantz.
Hanover (10-12, 2-10) hopes to eclipse the .500 mark season behind a trio of talented guards in Jayce Miller (6.0 ppg), Madelyn Hutton (4.2 ppg) and Tianna Gray.
Fairfield (7-13, 3-9) and Biglerville (5-16, 2-10) both hope to bounce back from rough seasons a year ago.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.