DISTRICT 2 FIRST ROUND PREVIEWS (Saturday, March 7 Games)
Written by: Jon K on Wednesday, March 4th, 2020
PIAA FIRST ROUND PREVIEWS
SATURDAY, MARCH 7 GAMES
(2-1) Wilkes-Barre Area (16-10) vs. (1-7) Pennridge (18-8), Wilkes 4:00
Wilkes-Barre Area, in their first year as the Wolfpack program, captured the District 2 Championship Saturday night. They now make some more hoops history with their initial PIAA playoff game to take place at nearby Wilkes University. Their opponent, Pennridge, is making their third straight appearance, including last year’s state championship loss to Kennedy Catholic. They got a big 52-50 victory over a very good Cheltenham squad in the Suburban One League Challenge Championship game. In the District 1 playoffs, the Rams got by 24-seed North Penn (55-41) before dropping losses to powerhouse 1-seed Methacton (69-46) and 5-seed Lower Merion (60-50). They rebounded in the 7/8 playback to slip by 15-Downingtown East, 52-48. They are led by 6-7 senior forward Trent Fisher who netted 18 points in the loss to Methacton. He’s a player that has worked hard to add scoring to his already strong rebounding and defensive skills. Their senior point guard, Christian Guldin, hit 21 points along with several key free throws to secure the win over D-town East win. Pennridge also features junior guard Colin Post, senior guard Luke Yoder, and 6-2 junior Paul Croyle. The Rams play hard and play smart. The Pack will need to get back on defense quickly as the Rams love to score in transition. The winner advances to play either District 12 Runner-up Roman Catholic (16-10) or Coatesville (1-5, 20-6).
(2-1) Holy Redeemer (18-6) vs. (12-4) SLA at Beeber (18-8), Wilkes 1:00
(2-2) Riverside (16-9) vs. (4-2) Central Columbia (19-6), Shamokin 1:00
Holy Redeemer will take on Science Leadership Academy at Beeber, the #4 team out of District 12, located near St. Joseph’s University. The Rockets (18-8) compete in Division D of the Philly Public League. They lost to Bishop McDevitt in the 3/4 seedings game, 74-53. They get balanced scoring, but are led by 6-2 junior forward Brandon Richardson (17.7 ppg) and 5-11 senior guard Nair Pettigrew (11.7 ppg). They also get 9.8 ppg from junior guard Rasool Dover, 7.0 ppg from Jermaine Smalls, and 7.3 ppg from sophomore Hassan Enix. Holy Redeemer has been played extremely well and gets solid contributions all over the floor. This should be a good match-up. This winner moves on to play either District 12 Champion Neumann-Goretti (22-4) or Brandywine Heights (3-4, 17-9).
Riverside is going up against the District 4 Runner-up, Central Columbia (19-6). The Bluejays defeated #7 Wellsboro (74-65) and #6 Warrior Run (63-50) before losing to top-seeded Loyalsock Township, 68-64. They have a very talented lineup led by junior guard Dylan Harris (19.7 ppg in district playoffs) and 6-3 sophomore forward Patrick Yost (19.3 ppg. in districts). In the backcourt, they also have junior guard Eli Morrison (scored 18 points vs. Warrior Run) and senior guard Zander Bradley. Inside, Central Columbia features 6-3 junior Garrett McNelis and 6-5 junior Russell Gump. The winner moves on to play either District 3 Champion Trinity (21-3) or Parkway Center City (12-6, 14-6).
(2-1) Holy Cross (23-2) vs. (4-3) Sayre (13-12), Lackawanna 2:30
(2-2) Mountain View (14-10) vs. (4-1) Bloomsburg (18-7), Shamokin 2:30
Holy Cross will take on Sayre, the #3 seed out of District 4. The Redskins defeated Millville in the quarter-finals (48-38) before losing to Bloomsburg, 65-50, in the semis. They bounced back in the consolation game to get by Canton, 62-54, in double overtime for their first PIAA appearance since 2011. They are paced by junior guard Matthew Lane who scored 19 points against Bloomsburg (with 5 triples) and 15 points against Canton. He is joined by junior Zach Moore (who led their comeback against Canton) and sophomore guard Dominick Fabbri. Inside, they have 6-5 junior center Connor Young, 6-3 senior Corbin Brown (who has 30 points in their last two games), and 6-2 freshman forward Lucas Horton. The Redskins, along with the Crusaders, play great team basketball. The winner advances to play either District 1 Champion Dock Mennonite (20-4) or Strawberry Mansion (12-3, 8-14).
Mountain View will have their hands full against District 4 Champion, Bloomsburg. While not as well-known as a contender, the Panthers have shown steady improvement in recent seasons and rolled to the district title with victories over #7 East Juniata (79-35), #6 Sayre (65-50), and top-seed Wyalusing (60-41). They are a strong team that plays extremely well together. Inside, they have a pair of physical 6-4 juniors in Chase Morris (7.8 ppg) and Jack Howell (6.5 ppg). In the backcourt, they are led by 6-0 senior guard Cade Klinger who hits 14.5 ppg. They also have senior point guard Josh Confer-Fuller (6 ppg). The Panthers do have backcourt depth in sophomore Adam McGinley and freshman Nasir Heard. The winner moves on to play either District 5 Champion North Star (22-3) or Homer Center (6-3, 17-9).
(2-1) West Scranton (16-9) vs. (3-6) Spring Grove (18-8), Lackawanna 5:30
(2-2) Abington Heights (19-5) vs. (11-2) Bangor (18-7), Lackawanna 1:00
Without question, the most emotionally-charged district championship likely belongs to West Scranton who definitely impressed with their title victory. The Lady Invaders will take on Spring Grove (18-8), the #6 seed from the talent-filled District 3 bracket. The Rockets defeated Shippensburg in the opening round, 50-38, before losing to #4 Twin Valley, 73-28, in the quarter-finals. In the playback round, they defeated #8 Berks Catholic (65-53) before dropping a close 60-58 loss to #7 York Suburban in the 5/6 seed game. Spring Grove is led by 5-6 junior guard Ella Kale who scored 19 points against Berks Catholic. She is joined by senior guard Haley Wagman and sophomore guard Addyson Wagman. They also have a talented 5-7 senior wing in Lexi Hoffman (20 points against BC). Their roster was also bolstered at the end of January with the return of 5-8 senior guard Ellie Glass who returned after an 8-month ACL injury. The Rockets love to push the ball up the floor and love to shoot triples, connecting on 154 of them on the season. The winner advances to play either Mount Saint Joseph (1-3, 18-7) or Archbishop Carroll (12-3, 14-10).
Abington Heights, stunned by their district championship loss, needs to switch their focus on their upcoming opponent, District 11 Runner-up Bangor. The Slaters dropped a Colonial League semi-final game 51-36 and then got by Southern Lehigh in the district playoffs 29-19. They dropped the district championship game, 44-36 to Blue Mountain. They are led by senior forward Madeline Minner (10 ppg), 5-9 senior guard Casey Walsh (11.7 ppg), and 5-6 senior center Morgan Karasek (7.2 ppg). Sophomore guard Kaylee Holland (5.9 ppg) connected on 14 points in their loss to Blue Mountain. Junior center Brooke Baker left that game with a shoulder injury. The winner moves on to play either District 3 Champion Gettysburg (26-3) or West Chester East (1-6, 18-8).
(2-1) Scranton Prep (25-0) vs. (3-4) Susquehanna Twp. (18-7), Lackawanna 4:00
(2-2) Dallas (22-5) vs. (4-3) Shamokin (16-9), Wilkes 2:30
(2-3) Berwick (16-9) vs. (4-1) Danville (24-3), Shamokin 4:00
They thrive on points off turnovers, love to get their transition game going, and set up effective full court pressure. Sounds like a resume for undefeated Scranton Prep. But, it’s actually the bread-and-butter game plan of their next opponent, Susquehanna Township, the #4 seed out of a solid District 3 field. The Indians play aggressive, are athletic, and feature some height. They defeated 5-seed Bermudian Springs, 67-63, before dropping games to the top seeds, #1 Lancaster Catholic (53-40) and #2 Northern Lebanon (33-28). They are led by senior forward Nadia King (10 points vs. Lancaster Catholic), junior guard Taryn Yancey, and senior forward Treasure Johnson. They also get additional post play from 5-10 junior forward Taryn Woodson (13 points against LC), 5-7 junior forward Madyson Smith, and junior forward Ajae Anderson. Nya Jackson is another talented junior guard. The winner will next take on either District 4 Runner-up Athens (22-5) or Allentown Central Catholic (14-10).
Dallas will take on Shamokin, the #3 team out of District 4. The Indians started the season 5-8 before winning 10 games in a row. In the district playoffs, they defeated 6-seed Milton, 44-31, before losing the semi-final in overtime to #2 Athens, 41-38. They are led by a trio of senior guards Emma Tomcavage, Kaitlyn Dunn, and Sophia Rossnock. In the paint, they have junior forward Grace Nazih and 5-8 junior forward Ari Notter. Shamokin likes to run a full court press and gets plenty of scores in transition. Dallas needs to play fundamental defense when the Indians drive and penetrate. This should be a terrific matchup. The winner advances to play either the District 12 Champion Lansdale Catholic (22-3) or Bermudian Springs (3-5, 20-6).
Berwick will take on District 4 Champion, Danville (24-3). The Ironmen rolled to the district championship with wins over 8-seed CMVT (58-14), 4-seed Mifflinburg (64-29), and 2-seed Athens (49-29). They are guided by Steve Moser who is coaching in his 14th and final season. The Ironmen are led by 5-9 senior forward Corinna Petrus (21 points vs. Athens) who has over 1,250 career points. Linae Williams is their steady 5-8 senior guard. Another senior guard, Emily Heath, does it all. Against Athens, she scored 9 points, dished 5 assists, made 3 steals, grabbed 3 boards, and blocked 2 shots. Junior point guard is Olivia Outt. Junior guard Kylee Cush had a breakout game, netting 21 points against Mifflinburg. The winner moves on to play either District 12 Runner-up Universal Audenreid (8-17) or Northern Lebanon (3-3, 22-4).
(2-2) Susquehanna (17-8) vs. (1/12-2) Chester Charter (17-6), Oxford 7:00
Susquehanna Community will be taking on Chester Charter Academy, the #2 seed from the District 1/12 Subregional. Interestingly, it’s going to be Sabers vs. Sabers in this one. Chester Charter, now in their third season, has a roster of only 8 players. They defeated 2-seed Faith Christian, 51-45, in the semi-finals before losing to undefeated top-seed Jenkintown, 54-34. They are going to be a very tough opponent. They play well, have speed and are very athletic. Of note, 5-8 sophomore forward D’Ayzha Atkinson had a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds) against Jenkintown. Their 5-8 senior forward, Ceyrah Williams scored 8 points, had 7 steals, 6 assists, and pulled down 4 rebounds in the same game. The winner moves on to play either District 3 Champion Lancaster Country Day (22-4) or Northeast Bradford (4-4, 19-6).
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