Ask any head coach if he or she has a favorite team that they’ve enjoyed coaching over the years more so than any other and chances are that you’re likely to get anything but a clear and concise answer for a response. For most, that’s certainly understandable considering the task would be akin to asking them to pick their favorite noodle out of a bowl of spaghetti. So forgive Kennard Dale head coach Jake Roupe if the smile stays on his face just a little while longer when asked about his 2017-18 Ram squad. After all, the 2008 Kennard Dale grad has grown up alongside this bunch. Both literally and figuratively.
Coming into this season, it’d be fair to say that the basketball scene in Fawn Grove had seen a somber time or two. It certainly did not help matters that the Rams entered this season by lugging a seven year old monkey around on their backs considering that was precisely how many long seasons it had been since Kennard Dale ended the year with more wins than loses in their season ledger. And although they are called the Rams, they have certainly gone ahead and bucked that trend this season, taking the school just north of the Maryland state line to heights that they have not experienced in over 25 years.
When looking to determine what goes into making a successful team, no matter what the sport and no matter what the level of play, there is always that one secret sauce that holds them all together. Chemistry.
And while many teams may try and go about finding that elusive tie that binds in some cliché form or fashion shortly before the season that inevitably falls apart at the first sign of adversity, there is simply nothing phony about Kennard Dale’s close-knit bond. It’s ever-present and it always has been since their junior high days. Certainly doesn’t hurt matters when you’ve just so happened to have one singular voice lead you into battle over that span of time for good measure.
“When I got out of high school and went to college I decided I wanted to come help out,” Coach Roupe said recalling his humble beginnings in the coaching ranks. But little did he or anyone else know at the time that it would be only be the start of a decade-long journey that the coach and present-day Kennard Dale Rams would embark on together.
“I started volunteering when I was 19 and then I started coaching AAU ‘ball when the seniors now were in 5th grade for the York Thunder,” Roupe went on to detail. And whether it was just the stars coming together to align perfectly or some sort of mystical higher power at work, Coach Roupe and his band of Rams moved along up the ladder together. Literally every step of the way.
“I got the 7th & 8th grade job when they were in 7th and 8th grade and then I got the JV job when they became 9th graders, then their junior year is when I got the varsity job,” the Ram boss said prior to Monday’s District 3 4A semifinal game against high-powered Bishop McDevitt.
And for a coach that has seen it all with this senior-laden group, don’t bother coloring Coach Roupe surprised that his Rams have made it this far.
“I did,” Roupe replied without hesitation when pressed if he pictured this core group ever ascending to these type of heights. “I’ve had some high expectations for this group for a while,” Roupe went on to say. “I don’t like to get ahead of myself, I take it one game at a time, but I always told them that the sky’s the limit from the start. I said ‘Why Not?’ ‘Why can’t we be that team?’
Sure enough, here they were. And when you spend just a few minutes with the young KD head coach, it’s easy to understand why he was able to predict from such an early age what everyone else is seeing come to light in the present-day.
“They just all buy in,” Coach Roupe when on to detail regarding the unselfishness of this year’s Ram squad. “We always preach to ‘dominate your role.’ Everyone on the team knows their role and they dominate it. If the last guy on the bench’s role is to go nuts when we hit a big shot, that’s his role and he dominates it. They’re enjoying it, they’re having fun and they’re all best friends. That’s the best part. They just like being together.”
As fate would have it, this group of Rams would continue to enjoy each other’s company regardless of the outcome on Monday night as this year’s squad became the first KD squad to earn the right to play on into the state tournament since 1996. An occasion that Coach Roupe decided to mark in the most appropriate of ways given the timeframe—by “frosting his tips.”
“Heck, Justin Timberlake and the (Super Bowl) halftime show, I figured ‘why not?’ I did it to just give them another incentive and they responded,” Troupe said with a laugh when detailing his zany idea which quite possibly could turn clocks back to the mid 90’s once he actually applies the hair dye before March 9th. And while you won’t mistake him for going out on tour with Timberlake and the rest of N*Sync to sing “I Drive Myself Crazy”, his admitted favorite song from the 90’s pop group, you most certainly will see him at practice pushing all the buttons and concocting all the potions to figure out how these Rams can perhaps go on what they hope turns into a long postseason run. A run that included Monday’s night game against a very dangerous and under-seeded Bishop McDevitt squad.
And while Rams headed into their last film study session to prep for Monday evening’s game, little did they know that they really were about to receive a history lesson.
“I didn’t show them film from now,” Roupe said with a smirk. “I showed them the ‘92 (District 3 quarterfinal) game against Bishop McDevitt and Kennard Dale. They didn’t know I was doing that. That’s what we watched before we came here,” the Kennard Dale coach said revealing his plans. “Kennard Dale was the home team because they had the better record but they were the underdog and Kennard Dale ended up winning by four…It was cool because some of the guys that were on that team are some of our girls’ coaches now so after the girls’ practice, they all came in and watched it too.”
And so with some clearly evident positive vibes that Kennard Dale had packed into their duffle bags shortly before their departure to Penn Manor High School on Monday night, the Rams were out to repeat history when they squared off with one of the bluest of blue-bloods in the area, Bishop McDevitt, for the right to go on to the Giant Center and the District 3 4A title game.
However once the game got underway, it became apparent from the get-go that both teams would have to settle down and find their rhythm as both the Rams and Crusaders were plagued by an icy start in terms of shooting the rock.
However once they did get into a groove, it was fittingly Kennard Dale’s Adam Freese who had the honors of knocking down the first field goal of the contest as the 6’4” all-star senior guard got the Rams within one at 3-2 early near the midpoint of the opening quarter before Bishop McDevitt’s Davon Lee would go on to show why he is one of the best players in all of District 3 as the 6’ sophomore promptly responded by knocking down a triple to answer the Freese bucket in the early going.
Over the next few minutes however, McDevitt only continued to press their foot down to the floorboard.
Aided by a nice bucket inside by 6’3” sophomore forward Jake Kelly, the Crusader lead had suddenly ballooned to a half dozen at 10-4 at the 2:30 mark of the opening period, putting a damper on what Kennard Dale had hoped would be a better start.
But from there, Kennard Dale would respond with a vengeance.
In fact immediately following the Kelly deuce, the Rams retaliated with an answer as a sweet dish from 6’2” senior guard Craig Potts to a cutting Carter Day got KD back within four as the freshman who would play well-beyond his years all night long made it a 10-6 ballgame in the waning stages of the first quarter.
Shortly thereafter, the Crusaders would see their lead be sliced down to slimmest of margins as nice hoop inside by 5’11” sophomore forward Wyatt McCleary got the Rams within one at 10-9 before the quarter would expire with McDevitt in front 12-9.
However the brief intermission in between quarters would do nothing to slow down the hard-charging Crusaders as Kennard Dale soon discovered.
Besmirched by an early 8-2 salvo which was capped off by Davon Lee bucket at the cup for the Crusaders, the Ram deficit had suddenly swelled to 20-11 with Kennard Dale being forced to call a timeout with 4:57 left in the opening half.
And although the McDevitt would continue to roll on after the timeout with yet another bucket, Kennard Dale began to fight back once more.
Thanks in large part to a Donnell Williams jumper which provided some much-needed relief to the Rams who were wandering around in a desert inside the early stages of the second stanza, Williams’ bucket proved to be the very spark that the Rams would need for the next few minutes of the first half in order to make a run at McDevitt.
From there, Adam Freese was able to pop a corner 3 ball with fellow senior guard Joey Thomas following suit as the Rams had scratched and clawed their way back into the thick of things with McDevitt’s lead now standing at 24-19 with the gym erupting with a roar that could have been heard all the way back to Fawn Grove.
Yet before the first half clock finally did expire, Bishop McDevitt had enough time to rattle off a 5-0 jaunt to close the first sixteen minutes as the Crusaders went into the break, holding serve with a double digit lead which stood at 29-19.
And although McDevitt would only continue to sizzle once they came out of the dressing room, thanks a sweet turnaround jumper that was put home by guess-who, Davon Lee, the Crusaders continued to keep the Rams at arm’s length over the course of the next few minutes.
But with Kennard Dale looking up at the scoreboard and quickly coming to the realization that an answer was not only important, but that it was essential, the Rams began to charge.
All night long, Carter Day proved to be worth his weight in gold as the diminutive freshman point guard played with the savvy of a grizzled senior, but most especially when the Rams were looking for answers as for who would step up to the plate in Kennard Dale’s time of need. And while aided by five straight points that were chipped in by Mr. Day, the Rams had quietly crept back into things with the scoreboard showing McDevitt in front 35-25.
But he wasn’t done there.
No, from there Day only continued shine by cashing in a pullup jumper to get the Rams within a half dozen at 37-31 only to see Joey Thomas follow that up with a trifecta to suddenly get Kennard Dale back within three at 37-34 with McDevitt now sitting in a precarious position.
When Bishop McDevitt needs a bucket, it’s fair to say that the Crusaders have plenty of weapons for which they can hand the keys of the offense over to with anyone more than capable of helping drive them to the Promised Land. Well, the in latter stages of the third quarter, Davon Lee took his turn in the driver’s seat and right on cue, the sophomore guard proceeded to shift the McDevitt machine into top-gear.
With the Crusaders needing some sort of an answer to quiet an already boisterous and raucous Penn Manor gymnasium that was heavily in favor of the Yellow and Blue colors of Kennard Dale, Mr. Lee responded with a man-sized take to the rack which got McDevitt some much-needed breathing room at 39-34 with 1:30 left in the third, silencing the crowd for the time being.
Yet Kennard Dale would refuse to go quietly into the night as the Rams were able to creep back within three at 39-36 once the third quarter clock did ultimately run out.
Although Bishop McDevitt had been able to play with the lead for the entirety of the night up until that point, it quickly became apparent that Kennard Dale was not anywhere close to raising the white flag. And with persistence being the name of the game all night long for Kennard Dale, the Rams’ patience paid off with an early fourth quarter blitz that knocked McDevitt back on their heels with the game now clearly up for grabs.
The snowball immediately got rolling downhill on KD’s first possession of the quarter as a Craig Potts take to the tin got the Rams within a point before an offensive rebound and stick-back by Donnell Williams gave Kennard Dale their first lead of the ballgame at 40-39 with 6:30 left to go as the atmosphere inside the Penn Manor gym had finally reached it’s crescendo with the decibel level rising to 747-like proportions.
But by now you probably have an idea who answer the dinner bell for Bishop McDevitt in their time of need. If you guessed Davon Lee, you’d be absolutely correct.
Undaunted by Kennard Dale’s sudden surge of momentum, the gutty sophomore guard was able to drive with fearlessness to the tin, collecting a gigantic 2 of his 18 game-high points on the evening, giving the lead back to the Crusaders.
From there, another sophomore would take his turn at center stage as Jake Kelly was able to deliver a big bucket in his own right to help extend the McDevitt lead to 47-42 with just 4:40 left to go.
Yet while Bishop McDevitt had survived one Kennard Dale tidal wave that had come on shore, they surely had to expect that they would see yet another one swell before the game was truly put to rest, especially with Adam Freese being held scoreless to that point in the second half.
And sure enough, Freese was able to step back into the limelight with a pair of free throws successfully cashed in at the line which made it a 49-46 ballgame with four minutes left to go. But the southpaw was just getting started as Freese proceeded to stick a timely 3 ball which got the Rams within two at 51-49 shortly thereafter with 3:32 left showing on the clock.
However that would prove to be the point where the Kennard Dale train would run out of steam as the Bishop McDevitt was able to pass yet another test that Kennard Dale threw at them by ripping off a 4-0 run in the face of even more adversity down the stretch. A run that was capped off with a Jaraud Smith bucket which made it a 55-49 contest with the game now inside of three minutes left to go.
And although Carter Day would continue his impressive play by converting 2-2 from the line en route to a team-high 15 points which eventually made it a 58-51 ballgame with 57 seconds left, Bishop McDevitt would go on to turn away a very game Kennard Dale team 62-53, advancing to the District 3 4A title game.
Even despite the fact that Monday night did not include another happy chapter in Kennard Dale’s storybook season, Coach Roupe was certainly proud and had every reason to be given the fight his team showed over the course of 32 minutes by going chin-to-chin with one of the better programs in all of District 3.
“I said I am 100% absolutely proud of you,” Roupe said when speaking about the postgame message he delivered to his troops. “They played with heart, they played with toughness and they played with class.” Characteristics that stand the test of time, far longer than any score will, that any coach can certainly be proud of even while dealing with the most painful of defeats. And while Kennard Dale would have no doubt loved to punch their ticket to Hersheypark to play in Thursday night’s title game, it was and always be a special night that will be remembered forever as the night where nearly all of southern York County traveled up to Millersville to support their team and help push their team over the top to victory. Something that very nearly were able to do. Together.
NEXT UP: From here, Bishop McDevitt will get right back at it on Thursday night as the Crusaders match up with Berks Catholic at the Giant Center for District 3 4A gold with a tip time set for 7:00 at the palatial confines in Hershey as the Saints from BC advanced after besting Middletown in the game just prior on Monday night at Penn Manor. It’s sure to be a heavyweight fight arguably two of the best teams that District 3 has to offer regardless of classification.
For Kennard Dale on the other hand, the Rams will have to rise up off the canvas as the Rams prepare to battle Middletown in a PIAA state qualifier to determine who will enter the PIAA’s as the #3 and #4 seeds respectively come the start of the tournament next Friday night when the Rams and Blue Raiders duke it out at West York at 7:00 this Wednesday evening.
Turning back the clock one year ago, the Berks Catholic Saints were dejected following a District Three Semi Final loss at the hands of the Middletown Raiders. Don’t ever think that those thoughts of defeat ever left the Saints minds. Berks Catholic maybe came out a bit to emotional in a rematch with Middletown Monday night. Once the Saints settled down, there was no stopping them. A dominating second half performance propelled Berks Catholic to a 51-33 win over Middletown. The Saints now play for the District Three 4A title Thursday Night in Hershey.
Junior Luis Garcia led the way for Berks Catholic with 15 points Tre Dabney chipped in 11 and the score book does not tell you how the inside presence of Keba Mitchell influences a game. Ryan Hughes 11 points paced Middletown.
The game had a rather sluggish start as both teams let emotions get the best of them. Better than halfway through quarter one BC was only up 6-5. The Saints found a bit of offensive rhythm that included a great ball fake, then SLAM move by Keba Mitchel. The Saints led 15-8 after one. In quarter two the emotions really started to run high and Middletown creeped back in the game. When the horn sounded for halftime BC was only up 23-21. Unfortunately for the Saints, Mitchell picked up his third foul as the half came to a close.
BC came out playing with confidence in the second half. Coupled with hard luck shooting by Middletown BC pulled out to a 35-27 lead after three. The fourth quarter was a methodical march toward a win by BC, The Saints led by 14 hallway through the quarter and finished off Middletown for a 51-33 final score.
BC will next face parochial District Three foe Bishop McDevitt in the 4A final The Crusaders had a tussle with Kennard-Dale but pulled away at the end 62-53.
District 3 – LL teams schedule –so far
(3rd place game): Lancaster Mennonite vs Steel High at Lebanon, 6:30
(Consolation Semis): Lancaster Catholic vs Littlestown at East Pennsboro, 6:00
(Consolation Semis): Northern Lebanon vs Boiling Springs at Lebanon, 5:00
(Consolation Semis): L-S vs Garden Spot at Warwick, 6:00
(9th Place Bracket): Ephrata vs Shippensburg at East Pennsboro, 7:30
Hempfield vs Chambersburg at Giant Center, 7pm
Manheim Township vs Reading at Giant Center, 8:30pm
(Consolation Semifinal) Cedar Crest vs Dallastown at Hershey, 7:30pm
3A- top 4- LMHS is in the PIAA
4A—top 5 teams – Lanc Cath or NL must win 2 more to get into the PIAA tournament
5A- top 10- LS, Spot, and Ephrata are in the PIAA tou8rnament
6A- top 6 teams – Hempfield, TWp are in …Crest must win vs Dallastown to qualify
A look back…
“Oof” was a word used on the twitter sites to describe the LL’s performances on last Thursday. The LL boys went 1-6- with the only win being a come from behind victory by Ephrata, playing in the playback game.
LL Scores from Thursday:
Lancaster Mennonite 48 Kutztown 49
Bishop McDevitt 47 Lancaster Catholic 43
Northern Lebanon 34 Berks Catholic 52
Lower Dauphin 49 (OT) L-S 46
Garden Spot 66 Milton Hershey 90
Northern York 43 Ephrata 46
Donegal 49 New Oxford, 56
LMHS lost to top seeded Kutztown. LS lost in OT to a gritty Lower Dauphin team. Lancaster Cath. was beaten at home by Mike Gaffey-coached, Bishop McDevitt. Northern Lebanon hung with Berks Catholic for about a ½. Spot was run out of the gym by a top seeded team, Milton Hershey. Donegal’s season ended at 12-12 with a loss to New Oxford, although the Indians did comeback late in that game. All in all the LL played tough in most of the games, but not quite good enough to claim slots in Hershey.
LLhoops was at the LS game. The Pioneers led 20-16 at the half. LD employed a 2-3 zone trying to make things difficult for Ryan Smith, 6’10” center. Normally the Pioneers adjust and pop some three balls, but they weren’t connecting (LS had 6 but 5 in the this half). Patrick Holmes had 17 pts for the Pioneers – all in the first half. Smith scored more in the second half and finished with 16. LD had balanced scoring and nailed 9/11 foul shots in the OT to earn its way to Hershey. Click here for audio wrap.
Andy Herr and Bruce Badgley doubled teamed the Berks Cath/NL game. Click here for Andy’s wrap. Bruce has all his media files on his twitter site.
The Big boys saved the day for LL boys teams playing in Hershey.
TWP defeated a shirt handed Cedar Crest team at Crest to move on in the tournament. The Streaks play Reading HS in the Semis at the Giant Center Tuesday. Reading claimed the top seed in the tournament. The Steaks have displayed a lot of grit as they seem to bounce back from tough losses and then re-focus quickly (Hempfield, Crest, Spot losses all followed by wins the next game). TWP lost a tough game in the LL playin’ game to Spot, providing the Streaks with time to work on the little things. Coach Johns spent the time “working on our game”. The Streaks held down Conestoga Valley in the first round 6A game 52-39.
Coach Johns gave us some insights to their preparation this week.
“Taking on the defending state champs is quite a challenge but all you can do is prepare for the teams put in front of you. We are going to prepare for this no differently than we have for every other game this year. We want to limit their strengths, look for ways to score, and embrace the moment. At this point in the season we are all what we are; all coaches are just working to bring out a great version of ourselves for at least 32 minutes.”
Hempfield beat an up-coming Wilson team for the second time this season 59-49. Check out Andy’s wrap.
Coach Walck was quoted by Andy Herr after that game:
“I’m just really thrilled for this group of seniors because they’ve invested so much …As a coach, you know what these guys have done… I have no eligibility left but I can still come back and coach another one. They can’t go back and play that again so I’m just really thrilled for them. Very thrilled for them.”
So….the LL has 2 teams playing Tuesday at the Giant Center. Of course, Andy and I will be providing updates and commentary during and after the games.
We are still working on the main page issues.
Scores/Schedule page will be updated after the games Monday and Tuesday- too many what ifs and “ya’ all” know how we handle that—not well.
Hit me—at 160k and climbing 🙂
Page views and sessions are slowing down a bit as we have fewer teams left playing.
We had over 40k “impressions” on the twitter site during the LL championship.
Jerry Shenks ratings—always interesting to see how a W/L effects teams. Jerry usually updates every Sunday/Monday.
We ran into our unofficial editor and UNC lover, Bob Swavely at TWP last week.
All team pages updated 🙂
Congratulations to Spots Jordan Shewbridge. He joins an exclusive list of 1000 point scorers at Spot. He Joins AC’s Noah Wenger, Hempfield’s Ryan Moffatt, and TWP’s Tyler Crespo.
Jordan passed the mark in the district 3 game vs. Dover Most district 3 games are not stopped with a 1000 pt scorer, although Mike Bullock (@thebullp_n) cited one game that he witnessed that did.
Commentary on NCAA..
Kind of torn here. I believe that allegations are just that….but can Arizona get to the bottom of the issue before NCAA’s? It took them (NCAA) years to decided UNC issue (not guilty), not as long with Louisville (lost title and games)….What a mess—IF Arizona is stripped of wins this year but plays in the NCAA tournament and wins a bunch of games? …. Crazy Bill Walton stated he just wanted to “ride his bike” and not be associated with the game…There will be a lot of talk this next few weeks – although I’m not sure anything can get settled before the NCAA tournament.
Most Penn State fans can relate to the feeling that the NCAA seems to punish schools because of individuals breaking laws.
If payments were discussed and provided, then Arizona will probably fire the coach and suspend the player….and take a hit this season.
If the FBI does not provide the tapes, then what? It is an ongoing investigation (sound familiar?).
I’m not sure paying players from the school will solve anything. How much is too much? Top QB goes to the team with the highest bid? Player quits team A to go to team B because they pay more?
However, we will all continue to watch the NCAA tournament. Yes? Thought so.
ESPN dropping UNC, Duke, and others in the report. Looks like a meal money issue with some of the schools mentioned. I’m not sure that is up there with 100k bribes. I’m not making excuses for the Dukies or UNC, but the point is there are rules and then there are BIG rules. It will play out and you can bet that UNC/Dukes of the world will be under the microscope more than others.
District 3 at the Giant Center
I usually sit with LNP’s Mike Gross (@MikeGrossLNP) at the districts. He usually does a neat wrap of the week in his weekly column at the end of the tournament. “kaBoom” will be mentioned a few times this week.
John Walk (@JWalkLNP) continues to impress with his muti-tasking at games.
We also get to to talk with the referees supervisor at the games- always good to get some interpretation.
BLARGE—wow, did we learn some things this week. We received some feedback from LL refs, coaches and media on “Blarge”. I personally have never seen it called, but now I know its on the books. Long-time rules interpreter for the LL, Mel Newcomer, explained it well to me before a game he was working. I asked him how many times he called it- “once in 42 years of reffing”. It’s good to learn new rules, but I’m hoping to not see any BLARGES the next few weeks 🙂
Enjoy the last week of the District 3 tournament!…and UNC/Duke # 2 March 3rd (picts to follow)
The good thing about playoff basketball is that it can you give matchups like L-S and Hempfield as was the case last Wednesday when the Pioneers and Black Knights squared off in the most-anticipated game of the season for the right to advance to the L-L title game opposite of Lancaster Catholic.
The bad thing about playoff basketball is that it can give you matchups like L-S and Hempfield. Why the change in tone in just one small paragraph? Easy. One team would emerge victorious while another remarkable team would be left standing along the side of the road after an unfortunate and immediate exit from the league playoffs at the conclusion of 32 minutes with both teams emptying the tank, giving it everything they possibly could.
As it relates to this specific example, the team that just so happened to come up on the short end of the stick last week would be Hempfield as the Black Knights battled tooth and nail before eventually running out of time against the eventual league champion Pioneers, 47-45 after fighting back from an early 19 point hole.
It would prove to be a loss that the Black Knights would want to make amends for sooner rather than later.
“Matter of fact coming back, there was a big conversation amongst the staff of ‘Should we bring them back into the gym?”’ Hempfield head coach Danny Walck said when describing the bus ride home from Millersville last Wednesday night. “We decided that on Thursday we needed to get back in the gym and we needed to talk about ‘What have we learned?’ If you learn from an experience like that, as hard as it is and as emotional as it is, then you haven’t failed,” Coach Walck went on to illuminate. “But if we hadn’t learned anything, then we would have failed.”
And so, with a nine day cram session in front of them, Hempfield was eager to prove that they had studied properly from the lessons that the setback to L-S taught them as they set forth on their journey to make a return trip to District 3 6A championship as the Black Knights welcomed Wilson to Landisville for a quarterfinal matchup between two heavyweights. A matchup between two programs that ooze toughness and define the word “gritty” to the nth degree.
Although the excitement that preceded the game was tempered somewhat by a frigid start that besmirched both teams shooting the rock at the beginning of the contest, Hempfield’s Ryan Moffatt would be the first to break the scoring seal on Friday evening as the 6’5” all-star senior forward stuck a 3 ball to give the home-standing Black Knights the 3-0 advantage just two minutes into the contest.
And with the Black Knights’ backline D resembling that of an impenetrable brick wall, the visitors from West Lawn were simply unable to find the living easy against the stingy Black Knight defense from point blank range, coming away with nothing but one and done opportunities with Hempfield being able to build upon their lead as a result as was evidenced by an Anthony Alston layup in transition which made it a touchdown advantage for Hempfield as Wilson was forced to call a timeout and regroup, still scoreless to that point, trailing 7-0 with 3:34 left in the opening stanza.
But fortunately for those that had made the trip down from Berks County, the Bulldogs were able to find their man with the plan as sensational freshman guard Stevie Mitchell proceeded to bring the Dawgs back within a deuce following his own personal 5-0 run out of the timeout as Mitchell was able to single-handedly cut into Hempfield’s cushion at 7-5 with three minutes still left in the first.
However with momentum start to tilt in the direction of the visitors, Hempfield’s bruising senior forward, David Martin-Robinson, was able to put a stop to that as the incoming Temple Owl football signee was able to smash home his first of the three dunks on the night with an emphatic tomahawk flush which made it a 10-6 Black Knight lead nearing the final minute of the opening period.
Yet Mr. Mitchell would prove to have other ideas regarding Hempfield being able to run away and hide as the freshman played well beyond his years throughout his first eight minutes of a District 3 playoff road game as the Bulldogs’ special 6’1” freshman guard was able to put up nine points, helping narrow Hempfield’s lead down to 12-10 at the conclusion of the quarter with a late jumper popped in the lane.
Once the second frame got underway however, Hempfield was not only able to play with the lead, they were able to build upon it.
Aided by a sweet baseline J stroked home by David Martin-Robinson which put the Black Knights up by a half dozen at 16-10 just 1:20 into the quarter, Martin-Robinson was able to take his game out from beyond the 3 point arc by burying a trifecta which made it a 19-10 Black Knight lead, effectively serving as the exclamation point of Hempfield’s initial second quarter punch.
Yet even though Wilson was able to cut back into the Hempfield lead after a pair of Stevie Mitchell freebies from the charity stripe made it a 19-14 ballgame, the Black Knights would have an answer for that as a trademark, patient, Hempfield offensive possession ended with success as a sweet David Martin-Robinson dish to Ryan Moffatt standing alone in the corner upped the Black Knight lead to eight as Moffatt sunk a 3 ball from the corner pocket.
From there, Hempfield would see their lead swell to double digit proportions as an Adam Wernoch layup in transition gave the Knights a 24-14 lead with Wilson having to call another timeout, in the midst of yet another scoring drought at the 3:38 mark of the opening half.
And just like they were able to do following their first timeout of the ballgame, Wilson was able to author another rebuttal to the early Hempfield salvo.
Aided by solid contributions put forth by 6’4” senior forward Josh Figura, the Bulldogs were able to close the gap down to five at 24-19, only to see Hempfield’s dynamic two-headed monster switch roles at the conclusion of the first half as a Ryan Moffatt laser to David Martin-Robinson inside just before the second quarter horn sent Hempfield into the intermission with the 26-19 advantage.
Coming out of the halftime break, one thing quickly became apparent–Hempfield had discussed that a return trip to Hershey’ Giant Center was just sixteen minutes away. And with an added jolt of enthusiasm in their step, the Black Knights were able to push Wilson down an even greater hole to climb out of.
You things were bound to get off to a good start when 6’1” senior guard Anthony Alston was able to drain a floater in the lane on the Black Knights’ opening possession of the half which helped set the tone over the ensuing few minutes.
It all would eventually culminate with a strong take to the rack by David Martin-Robinson who would go on to finish with team-high scoring honors by posting a yeoman’s 20 point night of work, putting the final punctuation on Hempfield’s 6-0 sprint out of the gates, as the Black Knights saw their lead grow to 32-19 at the 5:10 checkpoint of the third frame.
From there however, Wilson’s Logan Horst was able to counter that with a blitzkreig of his own as the 6’1” senior forward rattled off the game’s next five points, trimming the Hempfield lead down to eight at 32-24 with just over three minutes left remaining on the third quarter clock.
But Hempfield would go on to play the role of unaccommodating hosts from there as the Black Knights would not let the ‘Dawgs get any closer over the next few minutes, as evidenced by a 4-0 Black Knight march which was sparked by an Elijah Washington take to the tin before being capped off in the most dramatic of fashion thanks to a steal and subsequent thunderous dunk by David Martin-Robinson as the Black Knights went back up by a dozen at 36-24.
And although Wilson would scrape and claw their way back into things by scoring the next three, Hempfield’s Teagan Hazel was there for the offensive board and stick-back, pushing the Black Knights back up over the double digit hill, making it a 38-27 lead with just 1:20 left in the third.
As it would turn out, Hazel’s bucket would help write the preface for the final few minutes of the quarter as Hempfield proceeded to push Wilson away even further as the third quarter continued to wind down.
In amongst that very stretch included a steal and nifty Euro-step finish by Elijah Washington before a Ryan Moffatt tip in, coming just before the third quarter horn, would increase the Hempfield lead to a dozen at 42-30 heading into the final eight minutes.
However with the chocolate so close they could almost taste it, Hempfield wasn’t about to show any signs of stopping.
Never was that more apparent than with Elijah Washington’s back door cut within the flow of the Hempfield offense as the 5’11” junior guard’s bucket from close range put the Knights up by a baker’s dozen at 45-32 with Hempfield just six minutes away from formally booking that trip back to Hershey.
But that would prove to be more than enough time for Hempfield, in particular David Martin-Robinson, to offer one last signature moment in his final career game at Buchannan Gymnasium as the do-it-all Black Knight senior threw down one last highlight-reel dunk of the night, dramatically making it a 50-38 Hempfield lead with just 2:20 left to go.
And although Wilson’s superb freshman phenom Stevie Mitchell would go on sink two more free throws from the foul line which got the Bulldogs back within ten at 50-40, his 23 point effort would prove not to be enough on this night as a Drew Groft free throw down the final stretch proved to be a fitting conclusion as the 6’ senior forward helped send Hempfield back to Giant Center with a 59-49 wire to wire victory over the always-scrappy Bulldogs from Wilson.
A Wilson team that would make even the most-seasoned of coaches a little timid to see in their bracket.
“They’re so well-coached,” Coach Walck said praising his team’s opposition on Friday night. “They’re so deliberate that if they get a lead on you, it can be single digits but it feels like double digits because they’re so disciplined on the offensive end,” Hempfield’s head man went on to say of the Bulldogs and their signature offense. “You don’t want to find yourself trailing (Wilson) because then you have major problems. We said that we have to start fast and finish strong and we were able to accomplish that.”
NEXT UP: From here, the dream of playing at the palatial Giant Center becomes a reality once again for Hempfield as the Black Knights made good on snagging their second consecutive trip the District 3 semifinal round with their Friday night triumph over Wilson after effectively regathering themselves following the sharp sting of last week’s L-S defeat.
An achievement certainly not lost on the Hempfield head coach.
“I’m just really thrilled for this group of seniors because they’ve invested so much,” Coach Walck went on to add in the glow following Friday night’s victory. “As a coach, you know what these guys have done… I have no eligibility left but I can still come back and coach another one. They can’t go back and play that again so I’m just really thrilled for them. Very thrilled for them.”
And while Hempfield will eventually have to also put this one aside while making preparations for their semifinal round opponent in Chambersburg, a team that emerged victorious over District 3 blueblood Harrisburg on Friday evening, this group of Black Knights have shown their ability to be quick and studious learners—an invaluable trait that makes up only the best of teams this time of year. So it really should be no coincidence that here the Black Knights stand once again on the precipice of making it back to back appearances in the district finals as Hempfield readies for a 7pm tipoff on Tuesday against the Trojans of Chambersburg inside Giant Center. A task that is certainly holding serve at the very top of the Black Knights’ To Do list.
Although Wilson fell short of making their goal of playing in the Giant Center this season, make no mistake about it, there is still plenty of meat on the bone for the Bulldogs left to chew this year. On Tuesday night, Wilson will get right back at it when they meet the aforementioned Cougars of Harrisburg in a consolation semifinal game with state playoff ramifications with a tip time set for 5pm inside Milton Hershey’s beautiful Spartan Center.
Feb 19 – 25
Manheim Township 67 at Cedar Crest 59
Wilson 49 at Hempfield 59
Lancaster Mennonite 48 Kutztown 49
Bishop McDevitt 47 Lancaster Catholic 43
Northern Lebanon 34 Berks Catholic 52
Lower Dauphin 49 (OT) L-S 46
Garden Spot 66 Milton Hershey 90
Northern York 43 Ephrata 46
Donegal 49 New Oxford, 56
Conestoga Valley 39 TWP 52
All 7 pm starts
N York 35 LS 55
Ephrata 41 Lower Dauphin 58
Garden Spot 66 Dover 59
Donegal 61 Greencastle-Antrim 77
ELCO 65 Northern Lebanon 74
York Cath 44 LMHS 65
The reward for the Dallastown Wildcats coming back from an 18 point deficit to win Wednesday night over Central York, a trip to the Geigle to face Reading High. Clearly the Wildcats and their fans were not intimidated at all facing the defending 6A State Champs on their home floor . Despite falling behind by as much as 20 in the first half ,Dallastown never let up. The Wildcats fought and clawed back to within seven of Reading High in quarter four. In the end, the Red Knights depth, talent and crowd proved to be to much to overcome. Reading High came out with an 83-71 victory Friday night.
Ricki Lopez playing in his final game at the Geigle Complex led the way for Reading High with 22 I was also very impressed with Ricky’s team leadership all game long. Xavier Starks had another solid game with 13. 12 each for RJ Dixon and Larry WIngo. Dallastown’s agent Zero Braden Caldwell had 20. Da’Trail Alberts pumped in 16 from every angle and distance for the Wildcats. Will Burton had a very impressive 11 points.
Reading High poured it on Dallastown from the opening tip. Ricki Lopez worked the inside and the Reading D forced the Wildcats into some early turnovers. After one Reading was up 25-11. Briefly in quarter two the red Knights moved out to a 20 point lead, that’s when Dallastown got mad. The Wildcats starting playing the pressure D, 94 foot game Reading is known for and things began to change. Reading got a late hoop just before half to push the lead to 46-32 at the break.
The intensity and emotion of the game and crowd really picked up in the second half. Despite everything, Reading still maintained its composure and held off the Wildcats by 13 64-51 after three. It was fever pitch time in quarter four. The Geigle was a fan mad house when Dallastown closed the gap to 7 ,70-63 with 3:32 left. But this was as close as the Wildcats got. Reading played solidly down the stretch and pulled away for an 83-71 gut check win.
The Red Knights move on to the Giant Center in Hershey next Tuesday at 8:30 Manhiem Twp. will be the next opponent.
BOYS CLASS AAAAAA 2/4 Subregional
(1) Hazleton Area (21-1) vs. (4) Delaware Valley (12-10)
(2) Scranton (15-7) vs. (3) Williamsport (13-9)
FAVORITE: Hazleton Area
KEEP AN EYE ON: Scranton
DON’T COUNT OUT: Williamsport
BEST SEMI-FINAL: Scranton vs. Williamsport
THE NITTY-GRITTY: The Class 6A tourney always delivers some high drama and this year should be no different. And even though Williamsport, often the measuring stick for gauging the level of area competition, sits at 13-9, they cannot be underestimated. Especially this time of year. Starting off with Hazleton Area, the 21-1 top-seed suffered their only blemish via a 65-56 loss to defending 6A state champion Reading (on the road) (on the Red Knights’ home floor). Some valuable lessons were learned during that 19-4 second quarter disaster at the Geigle Center. This is a squad that withstood some outstanding efforts during the regular season from top district teams such as Dallas, Nanticoke and Scranton Prep. Not many teams are led in long-range shooting by their 6-8 senior center, but Josh Samec (15.4 ppg, 41 triples) is that type of threat. He also snares 8 boards per game. Another dynamic playmaker on both ends of the floor is Joey Grula. The 6-5 senior guard/forward nets 12.3 ppg and has 17 treys. Speaking of playmakers, look no further than 6-5 junior Da’Mir Faison. He hits 12.7 ppg (21 triples) and is a top rebounder for Mike Joseph. Around the arc, guards Andrew Vayda (a sophomore) and Ryan Wolk (a junior) have been steady. Add in 6-5 senior guard Jeff Planutis (15 ppg (19 triples) and you can see why this team has been ranked by CoBL throughout the entire season. Off the bench, Scott Shamany (6-1 senior forward) and Adrian Otero (6-2 senior forward) hit a combined 7.6 ppg. They provide depth and both gained experience during the season when Grula was injured. Scranton, the #2 seed, dropped seven games this season, but five of them came against powerhouse Lackawanna Division 1 teams Abington Heights and Scranton Prep. The Knights bring a little bit of everything onto the court – good outside shooting, athleticism, and they can vary their tempo. While they don’t have a lot of height, they play tall. Senior guard Ky’Ron Harbin scores 16.9 ppg. He is joined in the backcourt by seniors Robbie McAndrew (10.9 ppg) and Cameron Jordan (6.9 ppg). They teamed up to hit 62 triples on the season. Added depth comes from Isaiah Montgomery (senior, 3.8 ppg) and Tyjay Ash (sophomore, 3.9 ppg). Inside, 6-4 junior forward Marcus Bauman, nets 9.3 ppg. The wildcard team in the tourney is Williamsport. Their 13-9 mark is bolstered by several second-half comebacks and a few victories in the closing seconds. So, the Millionaires have definitely faced adversity and they don’t panic. Their sole returning starter is junior guard Marcus Simmons. Darryl Wilson (senior guard) has been developing into one of their top go-to scorers. Inside, they feature 6-5 senior center Ethen Stryker and 6-3 senior forward Al-Tamar Jason, and 6-4 senior forward D’Angelo Strachon. And senior guard Tyler McCann provides hustle all over the court. The Cherry and White will go 10 deep including guards Keith Jason (senior guard), Ethan Williams (junior guard), Eric Smith (6-3 senior forward), and Nassir Jones (6-1 freshman forward). Delaware Valley, winner of the Lackawanna Division 2 race, is the #4 seed. The Warriors get 14.8 ppg from junior guard Blake Gearhart. He is joined around the perimeter by senior Hassan Keyes (5.2 ppg), junior Dylan Kelly (4.8 ppg), and sophomore Grant Berrios (3.5 ppg). In the frontcourt, Del-Val has seniors Matt Campbell (6-4 forward, 2.9 ppg), and Zach Klapack (6-1 forward, 6.6 ppg) along with sophomore Jackson Shafer (6-3, 7.7 ppg). Shafer and Klapack combined for 38 triples.
BOYS CLASS AAAAA
(1) Abington Heights (19-3) vs. (8) North Pocono (5-17)
(4) Wallenpaupack (11-11) vs. (5) West Scranton (8-14)
(2) Dallas (18-4) vs. (7) Wyoming Valley West (5-17)
(3) Crestwood (15-7) vs. (6) Pittston Area (6-16)
FAVORITES: Abington Heights, Dallas
KEEP AN EYE ON: Crestwood
DON’T COUNT OUT: West Scranton, Wallenpaupack, Pittston
BEST QUARTER-FINAL: Wallenpaupack vs. West Scranton
BEST SEMI-FINAL: Dallas vs. Crestwood
THE NITTY-GRITTY: Last year, Abington Heights and Dallas met up in a district semifinal matchup which the Comets won by 19 points. While AH remains an extremely strong, yet decidedly different style team from a year ago, the Mountaineers have certainly closed the gap. Just how much we might find out at Mohegan Sun Arena in less than two weeks. Top-seed Abington Heights, the Lackawanna Division 1 champion, has an incredible 1-2 punch in 1,000 point scorer Jackson Danzig (senior guard, 17.4 ppg) and all-everything junior forward George Tinsley (17.8 ppg). With standout junior guard Trey Koehler possibly out for the season, the Comets have received about 11.5 ppg (along with 46 triples) from Jack Nealon and Corey Perkins. That duo, along with 6-4 sophomore Mike Malone, has given Ken Bianchi (766 career wins) plenty of talent returning next year. The Comets three losses have all come on the road this year – Scranton Prep, Downingtown East, and Methacton. Dallas, the #2 seed, twice gave WVC Division 1 winner Hazleton Area a battle before falling to the Cougars. Their other losses came against WVC Division 2 champion Nanticoke Area and Woodson (Va.) in a Bethlehem Christmas tourney. Dallas comes into the tourney expecting to win it all. The Mounts are well-coached by Mark Belenski, have senior leadership, and play very smart on the floor. They find your weakness and go after it. They get balanced scoring from Joey Parsons (13.9 ppg), Alex Charlton (11.8 ppg), Jay Bittner (20.7 ppg), Matt Mathers (7.7 ppg), and Nick Kocher (6.4 ppg). Parsons, Charlton, and Kocher have combined for 83 treys. Crestwood comes in as the #3 seed. The Comets seem to reload every year and use their methodical pace to often frustrate teams come playoff time. Juniors Camden Boris and Mike Palmiero (about 11.8 ppg each) have been playing very well. Mark Atherton also gets 7.6 ppg from junior Sean Murphy, and 5.8 ppg from senior Evan Knapp. Freshman guard Ryan Petrosky has been contributing 6.3 ppg. Wallenpaupack, the #4 seed, will take on #5 seed West Scranton who the Buckhorns already defeated 58-53 in crossover division play. Paupack features a young lineup that might put them into the championship conversation next year too. Junior guards Derrick Vosburg (6.9 ppg, 25 triples) and Alex Pillar (6.3 ppg, 30 triples) are joined by sophomore Elijah Rosenthal (13.5 ppg, 46 treys). Inside, they have 6-6 soph forward Gabe Springer (10 ppg). Looking at West Scranton, the Invaders 8-14 season mark might be a bit deceiving as they were very competitive in most of their five season-ending losses. In the backcourt, West has senior Shayne Merrifield (14.5 ppg, 42 triples), senior Ryan Mangan (5 ppg), and freshman Cayden Merrifield (6.3 ppg, 31 triples). Inside, Jack Lyons has a pair of senior forwards, 6-2 Josh Hart (13.4 ppg) and 6-4 Jalen Gregory (6.6 ppg). Pittston Area relies on a trio of seniors, guard Naseem Guillauame (9.6 ppg) along with forwards Matt McGlynn (9.4 ppg, a great outside shooter) and 6-5 Brian Miller (7.2 ppg). The Patriots also have a pair of sophs averaging about 5 ppg in Andrew Krawczyk and Brennan Higgins. Wyoming Valley West, the #7 seed, has senior sharp-shooter Draig Ruff who scores 26.5 ppg and has connected on 48 triples. The Spartans also have three talented underclassmen in Sammy Solomon (6-3 soph, 4.6 ppg), Justus Simpson (soph guard, 5.7 ppg), and Mason Mendygral (freshman guard, 9.2 ppg with 47 triples). North Pocono, the #8 seed, gets balanced scoring from the perimeter with Alec Ciaglia (senior, 5.9 ppg), Chris McLafferty (senior, 5.7 ppg), and Anthony Kosiba (junior, 6.6 ppg). Inside, the Trojans have 6-4 senior Joe Thiel (9.4 ppg) and 6-3 junior Ryan Deom (5.7 ppg).
BOYS CLASS AAAA
(1) Scranton Prep (17-5) vs. (8) Wilkes-Barre GAR (10-12)
(4) Wyoming Area (14-8) vs. (5) Hanover Area (14-8)
(2) Nanticoke Area (18-4) vs. (7) Wilkes-Barre Meyers (11-11)
(3) Valley View (14-8) vs. (6) Tunkhannock (13-9)
FAVORITES: Scranton Prep, Nanticoke Area
KEEP AN EYE ON: Valley View, Wyoming Area
DON’T COUNT OUT: Hanover Area, Wilkes-Barre Meyers, Tunkhannock
BEST QUARTER-FINAL: Valley View vs. Tunkhannock
BEST SEMI-FINAL: Nanticoke Area vs. Valley View
THE NITTY-GRITTY: Every few years a bracket comes along that absolutely delivers one of those hoops “YES” moments. And this one qualifies. Not because of any juggernaut-type program in the field, but rather the great mix of solid teams and standout players from top to bottom. It’s a good thing that three teams will advance to the state playoffs. Top-seed Scranton Prep dropped three close early season games to Hazleton Area, Emmaus, and Williamsport before cruising through Lackawanna League Division 1 action. That was until back-to-back losses to Abington Heights and Valley View flipped things up a bit. The Cavs are at their best when they have a lead and control the tempo. Their 6-8 junior forward Leo O’Boyle has been spectacular at times averaging 19.9 ppg (with 41 triples). Inside, he is joined by 6-5 senior center Wes Simons (11.5 ppg). On the perimeter, Andrew Kettel relies on juniors Brian Boland (6.5 ppg) and Greyson Schermerhorn (5.1 ppg) along with seniors Sam Bednarz (3.8 ppg) and Alec D’Elia (4 ppg). Nanticoke Area, the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 champion, is the #2 seed. Their four losses came against rival Hanover Area, Holy Redeemer, Hazleton Area, and Tunkhannock. The Trojans are led by junior guard Nate Kreitzer (18.9 ppg, 68 treys) and 6-5 junior forward Trahjan Krupinski (14.2 ppg). GNA also gets superb efforts from a pair of younger players, sophomore guard Colby Butczynski (9.1 ppg,) and freshman Jake Krupinsky (8 ppg) who have combined for 45 triples. Valley View, the #3 seed, is a program loaded with developing talent, and virtually their entire lineup returns next season. While the Cougars finished at 6-7 during league play, their signature win was a 54-53 shocker over Scranton Prep. They have a deep guard-oriented squad led by junior Marc Kudrich (15.6 ppg, 27 triples). He is joined by fellow junior Bobby Craig (8.7 ppg, 27 treys) and sophomores Dylan Howanitz (7.6 ppg) and Dixon Black (6.2 ppg). Chase Combs and Jaden Duplessis (two more junior guards) score a combined 9.6 ppg. #4 seed Wyoming Area, on the other hand, is an experienced senior-led team anchored by 6-3 center Sam Greenfield (20.4 ppg with 30 triples), a terrific player with lots of versatility. He is joined by Aaron Zezza (10.9 ppg and 31 treys), Matt Wright (7.3 ppg), and Kyre Zielinski (8.2 ppg). The Warriors take on #5 seed Hanover Area. The Hawks concluded a fine regular season with an eye-catching win over WVC Division 3 winner Wyoming Seminary. They have three players hitting double figures, senior guard Mike Piscotty (13.9 ppg), senior guard Desmond Cannon (10.4 ppg), and senior playmaker Tyler Thomas (10.4 ppg). Piscotty and Cannon teamed up for 101 triples. Sophomore guard Asad Whitehead nets 8.4 ppg while junior forward Evan Materna adds 5.3 ppg. Another team that cannot be underestimated is Tunkhannock. The Tigers have nice balance to their lineup, led in the backcourt by junior Tyler Faux (17.6 ppg, 80 treys) and senior Sean Harder (12.4 ppg, 14 triples). Senior Matt Goodwin adds 6.4 ppg and is another outside threat with 35 triples. Inside, Tunk features 6-4 senior forward Evan Turner (7.4 ppg) and 6-8 junior Avery Billings (4 ppg). If the Tigers can get their inside game to be a bit more productive, don’t be surprised to see them playing at the arena. The Wilkes-Barre schools bring in the final two spots. Meyers, the #7 seed, is paced by standout senior guard Jawane Buckner (18.7 ppg, 51 triples). The Mohawks are otherwise a very youthful squad with junior guards Kendell Brewster (9.7 ppg, 29 treys) and Keegan Brewster (4.7 ppg) along with a pair of freshmen in Cole Walker (guard, 7 ppg, 22 triples) and Blake Masker (6-3 forward, 3.3 ppg). GAR features all-star junior guard Will Johnson (20 ppg, 37 treys) along with several other guards in seniors Anthony Hawk (8.7 ppg), Simon Peter (5 ppg, 32 triples), and Khalil White (4.2 ppg) along with junior Tyler Young (5.5 ppg).
BOYS CLASS AAA
(1) Wyoming Seminary (18-4) vs. (8) Lakeland (6-16)
(4) Dunmore (13-9) vs. (5) Carbondale (12-10)
(2) Holy Redeemer (16-6) vs. (7) Montrose (13-10)
(3) Mid Valley (15-8) vs. (6) Riverside (9-13)
FAVORITES: Wyoming Seminary, Holy Redeemer
KEEP AN EYE ON: Mid Valley
DON’T COUNT OUT: Dunmore, Carbondale, Riverside
BEST QUARTER-FINAL: Dunmore vs. Carbondale
BEST SEMI-FINAL: Holy Redeemer vs. Mid Valley
THE NITTY-GRITTY: Top-seed Wyoming Seminary captured the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3 championship via a pair of big wins over #2 seed Holy Redeemer (46-41 and 58-51). While fans of these two teams might be planning for a third matchup in an upcoming arena party, there are enough obstacles through the brackets to keep this one interesting. The Blue Knights have lots of current talent, and the majority of it will be back again next year. On the perimeter, Sem features sophomore Jeremy Callahan (9.9 ppg) and Jake Koretz (7.5 ppg) who have combined for 63 triples. Inside, they are solid with 6-2 junior Dimitri Gnall (16.9 ppg), 6-4 junior Nicholas Ganter (8.8 ppg), and 6-3 sophomore Todd Phillips (7.4 ppg). The Blue Knights dropped narrow crossover games to Nanticoke Area and Meyers. Holy Redeemer comes in as the #2 seed. The Royals have played a challenging slate and get balanced scoring from their lineup. They are led by juniors Collin Cook (13.3 ppg, 42 triples) and Nick Prociak (6.6 ppg) along with seniors JD Turosky (9.8 ppg) and Joey Judge (8.5 ppg). They also get contributions from Sean Wills, Bryan Yencha, and Derek Answini. #3 seed Mid Valley cruised through league play, minus three losses to division nemesis Holy Cross. The Spartans have the type of guard-oriented lineup that could have what it takes to advance to a championship round. They feature a terrific bunch of long-range shooters in JJ Glinsky (senior, 14 ppg), Collin Scherer (senior, 7.9 ppg), Shane Rosencrans (junior, 7.7 ppg), and Collin Hazelton (junior, 9.2 ppg). They connected on 107 triples on the season. Inside, MV has 6-5 sophomore Mike Miller (4.7 ppg). Dunmore, the #4 seed, relies on Richie Grippi (senior, 9.9 ppg) along with sophs Steve Borgia (4.6 ppg) and Daniel Walsh (11.4 ppg) in the backcourt. The Bucks also have senior forward Nate Fangio (9.4 ppg, 24 treys). Dunmore will battle #5 seed Carbondale who they split in a pair of division matchups. The Chargers are a mature squad with plenty of talented guards on the floor. Senior Bobby Salitsky leads the way with 13.1 ppg while seniors Andrew Manarchuck and Bailey Rumford combine for 14.1 ppg. Juniors Mike Zazzera and Pat Durkin team up for 15 ppg. #6 seed Riverside is looking to rebound from a 9-13 campaign. They feature a pair of seniors in Evan Carrubba (guard, 9.5 ppg) and Marcos Echeverrio (forward, 9.5 ppg). The Vikes also have a duo of exciting younger players in Razen Reyes (sophomore guard, 7.1 ppg) and Michael Rickert (freshman, 10.8 ppg) who netted a combined 49 triples. Riverside dropped both previous tilts with Mid Valley, but each game was very competitive. Montrose, the #7 seed, finished just game behind Lackawanna Division 2 winner Susquehanna. The Meteors are led by junior forward Brennan Gilhool (11.9 ppg) and senior guard Jacob Peck (11.2 ppg, 34 triples). Senior forward Bryden Jerauld contributes 4.7 ppg. Montrose also has depth in their backcourt with a trio of juniors – Evan Snyder (6.7 ppg), Andrew Rapisardi (7.6 ppg), and Tyler Rebello (6.1 ppg). Rapisardi and Rebello combined for 38 triples. Lakeland, the #8 seed, is a young team building toward the future. Junior guards Silas Stearns and James Lewis hit a combined 16.2 ppg while 6-3 senior forward Rodney LaBorde adds 5 ppg (26 treys). The Chiefs have 6-2 soph forward Noah Chup and 6-5 freshman center CJ Dippre who have teamed up for 13.3 ppg.
BOYS CLASS AA
(1) Holy Cross (17-6) vs. (8) Blue Ridge (2-20)
(4) Old Forge (7-15) vs. (5) Mountain View (7-15)
(2) Elk Lake (12-10) vs. (7) Forest City (4-18)
(3) Northwest Area (8-14) vs. (6) Lackawanna Trail (4-18)
FAVORITE: Holy Cross
KEEP AN EYE ON: Elk Lake
DON’T COUNT OUT: Northwest Area
BEST QUARTER-FINAL: Old Forge vs. Mountain View
BEST SEMI-FINAL: Elk Lake vs. Northwest Area
THE NITTY-GRITTY: OK, so this appears to be Holy Cross’ tournament to lose, but there will still be plenty of drama on who secures the runner-up and state-qualifying position. Only two teams enter the Class AA field with winning records as the overall winning percentage of the entire group is just under 35%. And, earlier in the season, Holy Cross appeared to be matching that mark, struggling mightily amidst a 3-6 record. So, who stepped up to create their big turnaround? Well, nobody – and everybody – actually. Unlike other Crusader editions which featured a clutch go-to player, everyone on this young squad has found their role. Senior guard Patrick Galvin leads the way with 12.9 ppg (15 triples). He is joined by a trio of juniors and a pair of talented sophomores. Tyler Mozeleski (junior forward) nets 10.3 ppg and has 31 triples. Tom Montefour and Declan Tokash hit a combined 13.3 ppg with 25 combined treys. Soph guards Kieran Burrier (11.2 ppg) and Caleb Callejas (5.3 ppg) combined for 32 triples). #2 seed Elk Lake, 7-5 in Lackawanna Division 4 play, relies on senior guard Rierdan Reyan (19 ppg, 42 treys). He is joined by junior guard Nate Preston (6.4 ppg). In the middle, the Warriors have senior forwards Kobe Jayne (6.7 ppg) and Drew Arnold (6 ppg). Northwest Area, the #3 seed, has a dynamic junior guard duo in Jaxson Yaple (12.5 ppf, 48 triples) and Sam Saxe (14.9 ppg, 46 triples). The Rangers have junior forward Tyler Stevens (7.9 ppg) and 6-4 junior center Bryce Koser (7.3 ppg) in the paint. Old Forge, the #3 seed, has a quartet of seniors in guards Joey Verespey (11.4 ppg), Brandon Nee (10.5 ppg) and Kevin Welsh (7.2 ppg) plus forward Pat Banks (8.2 ppg). Their backcourt of Verespey, Nee, and Welsh has connected on 92 triples. The Blue Devils also have newcomer freshman guard Michhael DiGregorio (7.3 ppg). Mountain View, the #5 seed, has a guard oriented squad highlighted by seniors Kyle Streich (14 ppg, 55 triples) and Alex Showalter (10.1 ppg) plus junior Mike Schermerhorn (9.9 ppg, 31 treys). A pair of soph guards, Preston Petts and Mike Fanelli, combine for 6.7 ppg. Lackawanna Trail enters as the #6 seed. The Lions get plenty of players into the scoring column. Junior guard Zach Stec nets 7.5 ppg while 6-2 senior forward Shawn Jones hits 10.4 ppg. Jones is joined inside by junior Zac Cost (4.6 ppg). Soph guard Josh Rzucidlo contributes 6.5 ppg. LT also gets about 12 ppg combined from Griffin Holmes, Nico Berrios, and Richard Helbing. Forest City has several key seniors leading the Foresters. They are led by center Dakota Knehr-Cook (11 ppg, 19 triples) and guard Jordan Non (10.5 ppg, 30 treys). They also get about 17 ppg combined from seniors Noah Yates and Jerrad Non plus junior Eric Paulin. Blue Ridge, the #8 seed, gets about 17 ppg combined from junior guards Sam Cosmello and Kaleb Folk (they have 29 triples). Inside, the Raiders feature senior forwards Charlie Randall (6-5, 5.3 ppg) and Gavin Bradley (6-3, 4.9 ppg).
BOYS CLASS A 2/11 Subregional
(1) Susquehanna Community (15-8) bye
(4) Notre Dame East Stroudsburg (11-11) vs. (5) Lincoln Leadership (6-16)
(2) Tri-Valley (11-11) vs. (7) Salem Christian (12-10)
(3) Nativity BVM (12-10) vs. (6) Weatherly (10-12)
FAVORITE: Susquehanna Community
KEEP AN EYE ON: Nativity BVM, Tri-Valley, NDES
DON’T COUNT OUT: Salem Christian
BEST QUARTER-FINAL: Tri-Valley vs. Salem Christian
BEST SEMI-FINAL: Susquehanna Community vs. Notre Dame East Stroudsburg
THE NITTY-GRITTY: The Boys 1A sub-regional tournament is going to be very balanced and competitive. Top-seed Susquehanna Community logged an 11-1 mark, winning the Lackawanna League Division 4. The Sabers are led by junior guard Mason Deakin (15.4 ppg with 21 triples). He is joined by junior guard Adam Rockwell (7 ppg, 34 treys). Inside they have junior forwards Bryce Baldwin (6-5, 12.9 ppg) and CJ Stone (6-2, 5.6 ppg) plus senior Eric Lee (5.8 ppg). The #2 through #4 seeds are very evenly matched. Tri-Valley, 5-9 in Schuylkill League play, gets even scoring all over the floor. The Bulldogs have a solid backcourt with senior Ashton Buchanan (10 ppg), juniors Nick Ziegmont and Daulton Leedy (scoring a combined 19 ppg) plus sophomore Chase Deeter (8.7 ppg). In the middle, they have 6-1 junior center Brayden Smith and 6-1 senior forward Logan Yoder who team up to score 13.3 ppg. #3 seed Pottsville Nativity BVM is a very athletic squad that finished 8-10 in league play, including a pair of victories over Tri-Valley. The Hilltoppers rely on junior guards Raphael Muldrow and Sincere Walker plus senior Christian Matlock. Senior 6-2 forward Casian Flowers and 6-3 junior center Quandre Latimer handle things in the paint. Notre Dame East Stroudsburg is always a perennial contender. The #4 seed Spartans are well-coached and led by junior guards Daniel Lynch and Dylan Parris plus senior guard Royce Frazier. They also get contributions from junior guards Benjamin Jean and Paulo Villanova. NDES also has a pair of freshmen guards in Shawn Seay and Aaron Bailey. Defending district champion Lincoln Leadership Academy is paced by 6-3 senior forward Maurice Moore and senior guard Austin Alvarez. The Lions also feature Jabhil Cruz, Joesiah Vasquez, Josh Gonzolez, and Adrian Pagan. #6 seed Weatherly, one year removed from their 2-20 campaign, had their sights on a possible championship, but their late season controversy of possibly using a pair of non-resident players has got to impact their focus. The Wreckers roster includes senior guards Johnny Arthur, Zach Moon, Joel Hinkle, and Gabriel Miller. They also have 6-3 senior center Steph Yurchak. #7 seed Salem Christian, who lost in the semi-finals to Nativity BVM last year, is led by sophomore guard Levi Gehman. The Eagles also have juniors Justin Rosak and Matt Shiffer.
(1) Scranton (15-7) vs. (5) Delaware Valley (3-19)
(2) Hazleton Area (13-9) vs. (3) Williamsport (6-16)
KEEP AN EYE ON: Hazleton Area
DON’T COUNT OUT: Williamsport
THE NITTY-GRITTY: Top seed Scranton gets the nod in the big school classification. The Lady Knights have a frontcourt trio that will present a big challenge for any of the teams. Senior 6-0 forward Shelby Funchess hits 13.9 ppg, Colette Mulderig (6-2 sophomore center) 13.2 gg, and 6-1 junior forward Kristen Hart adds 3.7 ppg. Scranton does not have the spectacular playmaker running their offense as in previous seasons, but Sophia Glogowski (sophomore, 7.5 ppg 36 triples) and Erin Barrett (senior, 5.1 ppg) have been solid. They combined for 64 triples for the Lady Knights who finished at 10-3 in league play, 3 games behind Lackawanna Division 1 champion Scranton Prep. Hazleton Area, the #2 seed, has been riding a bit of a rollercoaster season. The Lady Cougars picked up some momentum through the middle part of the season and seemed to be headed for a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 crown after big wins over Berwick, Lake-Lehman, and Wyoming Area. But, some untimely injuries and sickness sent them off the rails and limping into the postseason on a 4-game losing streak. Senior guard Maddie Mrochko is their leader averaging 15.7 ppg and 56 triples. She is joined by junior guard Virginia Yurchak (7.5 ppg). Inside, Hazleton has an excellent duo of forwards, 5-11 Faith Grula (9.4 ppg) and 6-0 Marissa Trivelpiece (6.6 ppg) who went down with a knee injury late in the season. The Lady Cougars are a tenacious group, have depth (with senior guard Diamond Truluck), and plenty of talented youth (with sophomore Kyra Antolick and freshman Brooke Boretski). Their opponent in the semi-finals will be Williamsport, a team that they rolled over 67-42. But that was way back in early December and the gap between these two teams seems to have narrowed a bit. The #3 Lady Millionaires have a deceiving overall mark of 6-16. They play an independent schedule that included powerhouses such as Crestwood and North Schuylkill. In fact, it was a closer-than-expected early February matchup against NS that began to turn their attitude around a bit. A few days later they seemed to put everything together in a route over Central Mountain. Port has the top guard in the entire 6A tourney in junior Jada Whaley (10.1 ppg). She makes things happen. She is joined by junior Fondea McClain and sophomore Katelyn Wilson who is really starting to get into the offensive flow. Inside, they have a tough rebounder in Gabby Thomas (5-8 senior forward), Samiyah Little (5-10 sophomore center, 6.7 ppg), and Shelly Floyd (5-10 senior forward). The Cherry and White brings some depth and noteworthy post play into this semi-final. Delaware Valley, the #4 seed, gets about 4.0 ppg from each of their top players. The Lady Warriors have a senior guard tandem of Shelby Brittain and Faith Fucetola. In the middle, DV features 5-11 junior Elizabeth Bobo, 5-8 senior forward Ciera Cavallaro, and 5-11 freshman forward Brooke Acoveno.
(1) Abington Heights (15-7) vs. (8) Wilkes-Barre Coughlin (1-21)
(4) Pittston Area (13-9) vs. (5) West Scranton (12-10)
(2) Crestwood (15-7) vs. (7) North Pocono (12-10)
(3) Wallenpaupack (15-7) vs. (6) Wyoming Valley West (11-11)
FAVORITES: Abington Heights, Crestwood
KEEP AN EYE ON: Wallenpaupack, Pittston Area
DON’T COUNT OUT: West Scranton, Wyoming Valley West
BEST QUARTER-FINAL: Wallenpaupack vs. Wyoming Valley West
BEST SEMI-FINAL: Abington Heights vs. Pittston Area
THE NITTY-GRITTY: Abington Heights leads a group of very talented and competitive Class 5A teams that should deliver another exciting tourney. The top-seeded Lady Comets really seemed to start clicking in the second half of the season behind the leadership of a trio of seniors. Senior guards Hannah Kowalski (13.1 ppg, 30 triples) and Sharon Houlihan (7.1 ppg, 27 treys) anchor the backcourt while 6-0 forward Cassandra Ksiazek (11.1 ppg, 14 triples) is very tough on the boards. AH also gets about 7.5 ppg combined from sophomore forward Erin Albright and freshman guard Clair Marion. Crestwood, the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 champion, is the #2 seed. Senior guards Julia Makowski (17.9 ppg) and Sara Hopkins (12.1 ppg) have teamed up for 66 triples. The Lady Comets also get 11 ppg combined from freshman forward Helena Jardine and sophomore guard Sarah Richards. Plenty of contributions also from Andrea Shipton (5-8 senior forward), Riley Magin (junior guard), Bella Termini (5-10 junior center), and Kristen Andrews (junior guard). Lackawanna Division 2 champion Wallenpaupack comes in at the #3 seed. The Lady Buckhorns get 13.9 ppg from junior guard Megan Guerrieri (who also has 42 triples). She is joined on the perimeter by juniors Hannah Smith (10.5 ppg) and Rachel Tirjan (6 ppg) plus senior Olivia Gregory (3.5 ppg). Paupack also has 5-11 senior center Erin Worzel (8.1 ppg) in the middle. The #4 seed is Pittston Area, a team that seems to have been flying a bit under the radar this year. Teams better not sleep on the Lady Patriots as they possess one of the top inside-outside tandems in the entire district. Senior guard Alexa Noone nets 19.5 ppg and has connected on an incredible 80 triples. Inside, Leah Hodick, 5-11 sophomore center, scores 15.0 ppg. The key to their post-season fortunes might be in getting a few more points from their other top players, senior guard Mary Silinskie, 5-9 senior forward Portia Weidlich, and junior forward Emily O’Brien (combined 5.8 ppg on the season). The Lady Pats take on #5 seed West Scranton in the quarterfinals. The Lady Invaders feature a pair of sophomore guards in Nya Johnson (11.3 ppg) and Tatum Repshis (11.7 ppg, 33 triples). They are joined by junior guard Neveah Ross (5.3 ppg, 28 treys). Inside, West has seniors Nadya Brown (5-8 forward, 5.3 ppg) and Raven Rozina (5-10 center, 5.2 ppg). Wyoming Valley West, the #6 seed, faces a tough challenge, but the Lady Spartans do have the developing lineup to already contend a year ahead of schedule. They have a solid backcourt in sophomore Toni Amato (12.2 ppg, 45 triples) plus juniors Nicole Boutanous (10.8 ppg) and Lindsey Gruver (5.9 ppg with 24 triples). In the paint, WVW has 5-11 junior Andi Blaski (7.2 ppg) and 6-2 senior Gracie Giza (7.8 ppg). #7 seed North Pocono would get rolling come playoff time. The Lady Trojans are another youthful squad that might be looking to gain valuable experience for next year. They get 8.8 ppg from 5-9 senior forward Sarah Kaneski. After her, they have a pair of juniors, sophs, and a freshman. Juniors Izzy Pehanick (forward) and Brianna Ruby (guard) combine for 11.2 ppg. Sophomore guards Lila Gaughan and Jenna Montana net a combined 11.5 ppg (Montana has 36 triples). And freshman guard Carena Colo contributes 4.8 ppg. Wilkes-Barre Coughlin, the #8 seed, relies on junior guard Ajalaya Butts (4.3 ppg). The Lady Crusaders also have junior guard LeJune Berry (3.5 ppg), sophomore guard Ariana Brittingham (3.1 ppg), and 5-11 sophomore center Abby Cicon (2.6 ppg).
(1) Scranton Prep (20-2) vs. (8) Tunkhannock (8-14)
(4) Berwick (15-7) vs. (5) Lake-Lehman (13-9)
(2) Nanticoke Area (19-4) vs. (7) Valley View (10-12)
(3) Wyoming Area (15-7) vs. (6) Dallas (12-10)
FAVORITES: Scranton Prep, Nanticoke Area
KEEP AN EYE ON: Berwick, Wyoming Area
DON’T COUNT OUT: Lake-Lehman, Dallas
BEST QUARTER-FINAL: Berwick vs. Lake-Lehman
BEST SEMI-FINAL: Nanticoke Area vs. Wyoming Area
THE NITTY-GRITTY: While Class AAAA certainly has its frontrunners, you could reasonably argue that this field is going to be very competitive in several quarterfinal and semifinal rounds matchups. Fortunately, the consolation winner will also advance to that state playoffs. Top seed Scranton Prep, the Lackawanna Division 1 champion, dropped a pair of games this year, to Holy Redeemer and Abington Heights back in December, but has been perfect since. The Classics are led in scoring by freshman guard Rachel Rose (15.6 ppg, 35 triples). She is joined on the perimeter by Kathleen Rose (junior, 7.7 ppg) and Claire Szymanski (senior, 5.6 ppg). Inside, Prep is anchored by 5-9 senior Holly Daveski (6.8 ppg) and 5-10 junior Elisa Penetar (5.3 ppg). Freshman guard Cecilia Collins hits 3.8 ppg. Defending district champion, Nanticoke Area, the #2 seed, will have some extra motivation after losing the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 title to Holy Redeemer. The Trojanettes are a skilled ball-handling team that has terrific on court chemistry. They have a pair of senior guards in sharpshooter Lisa Radziak (14 ppg, 72 triples) and Katie Butczynski (7.4 ppg). GNA also has a quartet of juniors in Alyssa Lewis (guard, 10.4 ppg), Amiah Lukowski (guard, 6.9 ppg, 29 treys), Jilann Baron (forward, 5.1 ppg), and Bella Czeck (forward, 4.5 ppg). Wyoming Area, the #3 seed, was beginning to slip off the radar a bit after a late season slide. That was until their upset win over Nanticoke in their finale. The Lady Warriors have the pieces to put together a run to the championship, but the question is which team is going to show up. They are paced by 4-year starter Sarah Holweg (16 ppg, 46 treys). She is joined in the backcourt by seniors Addison Orzel (6 ppg) and Aleah Kranson (5.8 ppg). WA also has a pair of sophomores in Cassidy Orzel (9.8 ppg) and Nicole Silinskie (5.6 ppg, 25 triples). The next two teams, #4 seed Berwick and #5 seed Lake-Lehman, both finished 12-5 in the highly-charged WVC Division 2. The Lady Dawgs get 19.2 ppg (including 51 triples) from senior guard Reese Mensinger. She is joined by freshman guard Renny Murphy (5 ppg, 15 triples). In the middle, Berwick has 6-1 senior center Roni Isenberg (7.8 ppg) and 6-0 junior forward Megan Dalo (7.3 ppg). Lake-Lehman, who dropped a game to Berwick last week, is going to be one of the teams to beat next season. The Lady Knights feature three juniors in Madison Borum (12.2 ppg), Savannah Purdy (13.5 ppg, 24 triples), and Corinna Scoblick (9 ppg). Sophomore Sarah Salus nets 9.5 ppg (with 24 treys) for the Black Knights. Even through #6 seed Dallas has cooled off a bit from their red-hot start, the Lady Mountaineers are capable of pulling off an upset. They are another team with ample underclassmen talent. They are led by a pair of senior guards in Hanna Johnson and Olivia Johnson who score a combined 11.3 ppg. Junior guard Gianna Centrella nets 8.7 ppg (with 27 triples). Inside, 5-10 junior Samantha Kern provides 5.6 ppg while sophomore Morgan MacNeely adds 4.8 ppg. Valley View, the #7 seed, competes in the rugged Lackawanna Division 1. The Lady Cougars are yet another squad in the Class 4A field with lots of talent coming back next season. Senior guard Jenn Nguyen hits 5.5 ppg. She is joined by juniors Tori Duffy (5.1 ppg) and Arianna Nardelli (5.6 ppg) along with sophomore Mia Rudalavage (7.1 ppg). Those three players have connected on 45 treys. Valley View gets 9.5 ppg from 5-10 senior forward Abby Pidgeon. #8 seed Tunkhannock gets 11.8 ppg from seniors Jessica Ell (30 triples) and Samantha Generotti. The Lady Tigers also get about 20 ppg from juniors Rebecca Avery and Abby Ritz.
(1) Dunmore (22-1) vs. (8) Wilkes-Barre Meyers (9-13)
(4) Mid Valley (15-7) vs. (5) Riverside (13-9)
(2) Holy Redeemer (20-3) vs. (7) Montrose (12-10)
(3) Holy Cross (18-5) vs. (6) Hanover Area (10-12)
FAVORITES: Dunmore, Holy Redeemer
KEEP AN EYE ON: Holy Cross
DON’T COUNT OUT: Mid Valley, Riverside
BEST QUARTER-FINAL: Mid Valley vs. Riverside
BEST SEMI-FINAL: Holy Redeemer vs. Holy Cross
THE NITTY-GRITTY: The Class AAA field includes several top-rated teams that have been in the statewide Top 10 discussion all season. That speaks volumes to the reputation and caliber of these programs. Starting at the top, Dunmore captured the Lackawanna Division 3 championship, their only loss coming to cross-borough rival Holy Cross during their first-half meeting. The Lack Bucks are led in the backcourt by senior Kelly Quinn (11 ppg, 36 triples) and junior Lisa Tallo (10.3 ppg, 32 treys). Inside, they are steady behind the play of 6-1 junior center Victoria Toomey (16.3 ppg) and 5-10 junior forward Gianna Delfino (7.3 ppg). Dunmore, with a seemingly never-ending supply of impressive younger players has a promising pair of freshman guards in Anna Talutto and Alexis Chapman. Holy Redeemer, the #2 seed, came away with a playoff win last weekend to secure the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 Championship. The Lady Royals look poised to grab another district championship as they are now healthy and playing very well. Sam Rajza is their senior playmaker, hitting 7.8 ppg (with 26 triples). Junior guard Julia Andrejko nets 12.3 ppg with 21 treys. She is joined by senior Lauren Wasiakowski (7.2 ppg), junior Sara Kuderka (5.9 ppg), and sophomore Cameron Marcinkowski (7.3 ppg). HR is a team that gets the basket often behind the efforts from 5-10 sophomore forward Samantha Yencha (13.1 ppg). Holy Cross, the #3 seed, is led by senior guard Lexi Walsh (15.6 ppg, 25 triples). The Lady Crusaders like the 3-ball and it’s an integral part of their success. Junior forward Haley Bestrycki nets 10.2 ppg (with 26 treys). Junior guard Abby Sempa scores 9.5 ppg (with 26 triples). And freshman guard Abby Lentkowski contributes 7.3 ppg (17 triples). The also get about 9 ppg combined from guards Mollie Burda (senior) and Caroline Kranick (junior). Mid Valley, the #3 seed, is paced by junior guard Emily Morano (14.8 ppg, 32 triples). The Spartanettes also feature senior guard Lauren Owens (9.6 ppg) and junior guard Morgan Haefele (3.6 ppg). Inside, MV has 6-0 senior forward Kiana Williams (9.8 ppg). Mid Valley will take on #5 seed Riverside, a team that twice defeated them during league play. The Lady Vikings have a lineup with a pair of juniors and a trio of freshmen. Junior guards Julia Antoniacci (12 ppg, 34 triples) and Haley Tilberry (5.3 ppg) are joined by freshmen Kayla Rose (5-9 forward, 12 ppg), Emily Taylor (guard, 8.3 ppg), and Alese Karpinski (guard, 6.4 pph). Hanover Area, the #6 seed, has a pair of solid senior forwards in 5-8 Genesis Rodriguez (13.5 ppg) and 5-11 Victoria Benning (12.2 ppg). On the perimeter, the Lady Hawks have junior Sara Whitesell (4.8 ppg, 17 triples) and sophomore Sarah Tuzinski (5.4 ppg, 13 treys). Montrose, the #7 seed who finished 3 games out of the lead in Lackawanna Division 4 action, gets 8.2 ppg from junior guard Harper Andre (30 triples), 6.7 ppg from 5-11 senior forward Radvile Vaiciulyte, 5 ppg from 6-0 senior center McKenzie Newhart, and 5.7 ppg from sophomore guard Annalise Ely. Wilkes-Barre Meyers comes into the tourney as the #8 seeed. The Lady Mohawks get 5.7 ppg from senior guard Erin Morris. Senior Amanda Gray nets 7 ppg (with 32 triples). Inside, they have sophomore forward Allycia Harris (10.9 ppg), 5-10 senior center Sarah Bottger (3.3 ppg), and 6-0 junior forward D’Nayia Ballard (4.3 ppg).
GIRLS CLASS AA
(1) Northwest Area (13-9) bye
(4) Mountain View (10-12) vs. (5) Lackawanna Trail (5-17)
(2) Old Forge (10-12) bye
(3) Wyoming Seminary (13-9) vs. (6) Elk Lake (7-15)
FAVORITE: Northwest Area
KEEP AN EYE ON: Old Forge, Wyoming Seminary
DON’T COUNT OUT: Mountain View
BEST QUARTER-FINAL: Wyoming Seminary vs. Elk Lake
BEST SEMI-FINAL: Old Forge vs. Wyoming Seminary
THE NITTY-GRITTY: Top seed Northwest Area finished a game ahead of Wyoming Seminary for the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3 championship even though the teams split their regular season matchups. This race is a bit wide open. The Lady Rangers are led by junior Brenna Babcock (16 ppg) and sophomore Reagan Harrison (11.4 ppg) who have teamed up for 33 triples. Northwest also gets 5.2 ppg from senior Jordan Harrison and 4.6 ppg from junior guard Trista Babcock. Old Forge, the #3 seed, finished 5-7 in the high octane Lackawanna Division 3. The Lady Devils definitely have the firepower to once again advance to the arena. Lindsey Welsh (sophomore forward) leads the way with 12.7 ppg along with senior guard Alexandra Nocera (11.5 ppg). Freshman guard Olivia Ciullo hits 9.1 ppg while senior Anna Osieski adds 3 ppg. Inside, Jen Regan (5-10 senior center) contributes 3.2 ppg. Wyoming Seminary, the #3 seed, is led by a duo of sophomore guards, Ally Vezendy (8.8 ppg) and Alex Wesneski (11.9 ppg) who have teamed up for 53 triples. In the backcourt, junior guard Annemaakie Reitsma nets 4.5 ppg. Inside, the Blue Knights have Julia Gabriel (senior) and Mia Raineri (junior) who combine for 9.6 ppg. Mountain View, the #4 seed, is paced by senior guard Erika Freely (16.1 ppg). She is joined by senior guard Lucy Adams (5.2 ppg). In the paint the Lady Eagles feature 5-10 junior Sydney Newhart (7 ppg), junior Makenzie Bell (4.3 ppg), and junior Samantha Jones (4 ppg). Lackawanna Trail has a trio of seniors in guards Allison Decker (7.4 ppg) and Lexie Kwaitkowski (8.4 ppg, 22 triples) plus 5-8 forward Laurelann Penn (7.2 ppg). The Lady Lions also have junior guards Cali Fauquier and Rachel Beemer who score a combined 10.2 ppg. #6 seed Elk Lake, who lost in last year’s district championship game, relies on senior forwards Abigail Johns (7.5 ppg) and Rose Warner (6.1 ppg). On the perimeter, the Lady Warriors get 7.1 ppg from senior Eliza Bosscher and 7 ppg from freshman Tamara Voda.
GIRLS CLASS A 2/11 Subregional
(1) Susquehanna Community (19-3) bye
(4) Lincoln Leadership (12-8) vs. (5) Nativity BVM (6-16)
(2) Weatherly (14-8) bye
(3) Salem Christian (18-4) vs. (6) Forest City (8-14)
FAVORITE: Susquehanna Community
KEEP AN EYE ON: Weatherly
DON’T COUNT OUT: Salem Christian, Forest City
BEST QUARTER-FINAL: Salem Christian vs. Forest City
BEST SEMI-FINAL: Weatherly vs. Salem Christian
THE NITTY-GRITTY: Susquehanna Community comes into the tourney as the clear favorite to win it all. Expectations are high with the top-seeded Lady Sabers seeking to navigate through the state tournament as well. Their playmaker is sophomore guard Taylor Huyck (15 ppg, 40 triples). She is joined by junior Bethany Maby (9.5 ppg, 25 treys), senior Emily Lawrenson (4.4 ppg) and sophomore Mackenzie Heath (5.5 ppg). Inside, 6-2 sophomore center Mackenzie Steele is solid averaging 10.1 ppg with Skyla Wilson (5-8 senior forward) and McKenzie Rhone (junior forward) combining for 7.1 ppg. Weatherly comes in as the #2 seed. The Lady Wreckers finished 7-8 in Schuylkill League play and are led by junior guard Emily Zoscin (18.3 ppg). They also feature sophomore guard Tabitha Hinkle, junior guard Lindsey Hoffman, and junior guard Abbey Hernandez. In the middle, they have 5-7 junior forward Megan Peifer and 5-8 senior Kate Ache. Salem Christian, the #3 seed, comes in with a lofty record, and the Eagles should be able to back it up. They have height inside with seniors Ally Barnes and Rachel Aston. On the perimeter, they have junior Anna Krage along with a pair of sophomores in Sarah Nagy and Amanda Wirth. They dropped a 44-34 loss to Weatherly back on February 11. Lincoln Leadership Academy, the #4 seed, relies on their backcourt duo of senior Zeleny Ramos and junior Ramsey Rodriguez. They take on #5 seed Pottsville Nativity BVM. The Golden Girls feature freshman guard Samantha Heenan (8.3 ppg) and 5-8 senior forward Madison Clark (6.8 ppg). And Forest City, the #6 seed, cannot be overlooked as the Lady Foresters have a very competitive squad anchored by senior MacKenzie Hartman, a 1,000 point scorer who hits 13.1 ppg. She is joined on the perimeter by junior Maggie Kowalewski. In the middle, 5-10 senior forward Skylar Fortuner nets 6 ppg.