District 2 PIAA First Round Previews (Friday/Saturday)
Written by: Jon K on Thursday, March 7th, 2019
PIAA FIRST ROUND PREVIEWS
FRIDAY, MARCH 8 GAMES
(2-1) Abington Heights (23-2) vs. (1-4) Pottsgrove (15-11), Scranton 7:30
(2-2) Crestwood (20-7) vs. (12-3) Frankford (13-13), Wilkes Univ. 6
(2-3) Wallenpaupack (18-7) vs. (1-3) Penncrest (22-7), P-W 6
Abington Heights (23-2) captured their 8th straight District 2 Championship on Friday night, but there was definitely a different vibe to this year’s district playoff run. Although it seems that the Comets are perennially the team to beat, this time they brought the “defending state champion” label into the tournament. And that helped to deliver some extra motivation and intensity onto the floor in challenging games against Dallas and Crestwood. Those opponents worked extremely hard to dictate their pace and level of physicality. Advancing into the state tournament and after matching up against the #8 District 3 seed for the previous two seasons, AH gets paired against a highly-regarded squad from District 1. They will take on Pottsgrove (15-11) who will be entering the state tourney for the first time since 2010. You would have to go all the way back to 1981 to find their next appearance. The Falcons got an opening round 72-69 win over Great Valley before stunning #2 seed Holy Ghost Prep 53-50 to advance to the semi-finals. After losing the semi matchup to Sun Valley (68-49) they dropped the consolation tilt to two-time defending district champ Penncrest, 49-42. Any discussion of Jack Flanagan’s squad starts with senior guard Manny Clark, who can dazzle with an assortment of dibble moves and mid-range floaters. As he goes, so does his team. Clark hit a combined 46 points in their two district wins and only 18 in their two losses. Earlier in the season, he netted 43 points in a big win over rival Pottstown. He is joined by 6-1 senior point guard Justin Robinson who hit 15 points in both the Great Valley and Penncrest games. Senior forward Khaliyan Smith hit a combined 40 points against Great Valley and Sun Valley. Senior wing Jimai Springfield added 11 in the loss to Penncrest. Pottsgrove has a deep bench using players like sophomore Luke Kaiser, Nicholas Stringer, and Jay Sinko. The reputation AH has among Philly hoop fans has been further bolstered by being the only team to have defeated 6A powerhouse Coatesville (until the Red Raiders’ championship loss to Abington on Saturday). So, expect the Falcons to come into this one with a confident, nothing-to-lose mindset. The winner advances to take on either District 12 Runner-up Mastery North (19-6) or West Chester Rustin (18-8), the District 1, #5 team, on Tuesday.
District 2 Runner-up Crestwood (20-7) will take on Frankford, the #3 seed from District 12. The Pioneers, members of the always-stellar Philly Pub League, come into the matchup with a wildly-deceiving 13-13 mark. Eight of their losses were by 7 points or less (including MCS twice, 65-63 to MLK, 58-53 to Imhotep, 66-63 to state runer-up Abraham Lincoln, and in double OT to Pennsbury). Frankford has a solid inside game with a pair of 6-4 senior forwards averaging in double figures. Seydou Ndiaye (14.8 ppg) is a versatile playmaker and Jiair Ballard-West hits 12.6 ppg. They also have 6-5 junior forward Izayiah Adams who contributes 6 ppg. In the backcourt, senior guard Jayquan Williams adds 11.5 ppg. Although Crestwood features one of their more high-powered offensive teams this year, the Comets are going to have to try and keep this one to their tempo. The winner advances to play either District 11 Champion Pottsville (23-3) or Lampeter-Strasburg (23-4), the District 3 #5 team, on Tuesday.
Wallenpaupack (18-7) will take on the #3 seed from District 1, Penncrest. The Lions were the two-time defending District 1 champions. This year in district playoffs, they defeated Pottstown (67-36) and West Chester Rustin (58-49) before dropping a semi-final loss to West Chester East, 40-32. They then bounced back to get by Pottsgrove, 49-42, in the consolation game. Penncrest often plays a deliberate pace, using long possessions to yield points, especially around the free throw line. Inside, multi-sport senior center Matt Arbogast is very athletic and will match up well against Paupack’s 6-6 junior Gabe Springer. Penncreat also features 6-3 senior forward Malcolm Williams who has good range and plays solid defense. He netted 30 points in the victory over Pottsgrove. The Lions also have junior point guard Marquis Tomlin, senior guard Isaiah Rice, junior Aiden Carroll, and senior Dylan Bittle. Wallenpaupack is a team with nice balance. When the Buckhorns get momentum going, they can be tough to stop. The winner moves on to play either District 12 Champion Archbishop Wood (16-8) or Holy Ghost Prep (18-8), the District 1 #6 seed, on Tuesday.
(2-1) Scranton Prep (22-3) vs. (3-4) Susquehanna Twp. (13-13), Lack. College 7:30
(2-2) Nanticoke (21-7) vs. (4-3) Montoursville (19-8), Wilkes Univ. 7:30
(2-3) Western Wayne (14-11) vs. (4-1) Danville (23-3), Shikellamy 7:30
District 2 Champion, Scranton Prep (22-3), will take on the District 3, #4 seed, Susquehanna Township (13-13), on Friday night. The Indians rolled over Schuylkill Valley (68-44) in the District 3 opening round before shocking #1 seed Eastern York (63-61 on EY’s home floor). ‘Hanna then dropped back-to-back losses to Lancaster Catholic (49-45) and Berks Catholic (62-53). They have loyal fans that are always on-hand to support their team. And, they remain a streaky team as seen from a 9-0 run against Lancaster Catholic which propelled back into the game late. One of their top players is junior guard Makhi Jones (14.5 ppg through the playoffs). He connected on 5 triples against Schuylkill Valley. Will Folk, their 6-4 senior forward, has been adding 10.5 ppg. Additional contributions come from senior guard Jordan McGraw, sophomore forward Kevin Coleman, senior wing Tyreese Smith, 6-2 junior forward Malik Murphy, and 6-3 junior forward Dola Adeniyi. The winner advances to play either District 4 Runner-up Shamokin (16-9) or Wilson (17-9), the District 11 #3 team, on Tuesday.
District 2 Runner-up Nanticoke Area (21-7) will take on the District 4 #3 team, Montoursville (19-8). Some matchups look intriguing on paper and this one definitely fits that category. Montoursville defeated Milton in the District 4 opening round, 72-42, before dropping a tough 53-51 semi-final loss to Shamokin. The Warriors rebounded to rally from a 13-point early 3rd period deficit and defeat Mifflinburg, 60-54. Their team leader is senior guard Dylan Bower (11.3 ppg in the playoffs). They also feature a trio of sophomore guards, Peyton Mussina, Dillon Young, and Josh Burger. Young plays with tremendous maturity and switched to shooting guard for a while against Mifflinburg to net 18 points (while junior Hunter Shearer took over handling the ball). One of their most versatile playmakers is 6-5 junior forward Austin Loe (14.3 ppg in playoffs). The Warriors love to drive and dish to him. In the Mifflinburg victory, Loe also contributed 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. This should be an excellent game with the winner advancing to play either District 12 Champion Bonner-Prendergast (18-5) or Littlestown (24-3), the District 3 #5 team, on Tuesday.
Western Wayne (14-11), the #3 team, moves into the state playoffs for the first time in 26 years. The Wildcats, who possess one of the more dominant outside-inside combos in their entire district in senior Dahlton Frisbie and junior Zachary Rovinsky, will take on District 4 Champion Danville (23-3). The Ironmen rolled to 19 straight victories before a 61-51 loss to Montoursville in the Heartland Conference semi-finals. They then captured their second district title in four years with wins over Jersey Shore (78-29), Mifflinburg (74-47), and Shamokin (55-40). They are an experienced, skilled team with plenty of height. Peyton Riley is their 6-1 senior guard. He is joined by 6-0 senior guard Shane Kozick. Kozick (15.3 ppg in playoffs) hit 19 points in the win over Shamokin. Inside, they have 6-3 senior forward Colin Holcombe, 6-3 junior Mavin James, and 6-5 senior Dyson Harward. Harward has been averaging 12.7 ppg in the playoffs (and grabbed 15 boards in the win over Jersey Shore). Danville has the senior leadership and talent you love to see in a playoff team. They will present quite a challenge for the Wildcats. The winner moves on to face either District 12 Runner-up Imhotep Charter (21-6) or Berks Catholic (22-6), the District 3 #3 seed, on Tuesday.
(2-1) Hazleton (20-6) vs. (1-9) Central Bucks West (18-9), Berwick 7
District 2 Champion Hazleton Area (20-6) had to play the title game against Williamsport without their 5-11 junior center Faith Grula (8 ppg) due to a hand injury. The Lady Cougars will take on Central Bucks West (18-9), the #9 team from District 1. The Bucks started off the district playoffs with a 75-38 win over Upper Darby before dropping into the playback bracket with a 62-50 loss to Abington. CB West then rolled off three consecutive victories over OJ Roberts (53-45), Pennsbury 47-32), and Plymouth-Whitemarsh (42-26). District 1 has a wealth of talented girls’ hoops teams and the Bucks are no exception. They have a winning combination – plenty of height, a deep rotation, and great shooters – to lead the way. They exhibit plenty of teamwork and thrive on making assists. Jess Brosky (5-11 junior forward) and Izzy Treon (5-11 senior forward) are versatile players along with 5-9 sophomore guard Paige Gilbert. Leading the way, and getting LOTS of Division 1 interest is 6-0 junior guard Maddie Burke. The Bucks possess a quick-strike offense (led P-W 14-0 in playback game), tenacious defense (forced 17 turnovers against Abington), and can dominate the boards (58-27 rebounding advantage in Upper Darby win). The Lady Cougars rely on their full court pressure to create opportunities for their offense. They are going to have to react quickly if the Bucks break through their defense to prevent them from scoring a bunch of easy baskets. The winner advances to play either District 1 runner-up Neshaminy (22-4) or Cedar Cliff (18-7), the District 3 #4 seed, on Tuesday.
(2-1) Dunmore (25-0) vs. (12-4) Constitution (14-6), Lack. College 6
(2-2) Holy Redeemer (23-4) vs. (4-1) Loyalsock Twp. (23-3), W’port 6:30
District 2 Champion Dunmore (25-0) will take #4 team from District 12, Constitution (14-6). As is often the case with Philly Pub teams, not a tremendous of information is available on the Generals. They have three players averaging in double-figures. In the backcourt a pair of freshmen lead the way, Jourdan Johnson (15.6 ppg) and Narijah Turner (10.2 ppg). In the middle, 6-0 senior Parisha Blount contributes 11.2 ppg. She is joined by 5-10 junior Ma’kayla Thomas. The Generals also get plenty of support from a trio of sophomores, 5-9 playmaker Aniya Luckey (6.3 ppg), guard Alaysia McIntosh, and Tyh’iana Tomlin. The winner moves to take on either undefeated District 1 Champion Saint Basil Academy (26-0) or West Catholic Prep (15-7), the District 12 #3 seed, on Tuesday.
District 2 Runner-up Holy Redeemer (23-4) will play District 4 Champion Loyalsock Township (23-3). Both teams have played a very challenging schedule this season, including losses to powerhouse Dunmore. And each team had a very close game against Lake-Lehman. In fact, many of the Lancers’ players and coaches point to that December 56-51 loss to the Black Knights as a pivotal learning moment in their season. Loyalsock rolled to the district championship with victories over Bloomsburg (70-45), East Juniata (61-24), and Warrior Run (58-31). Back from a season-ending ACL injury has been senior guard Maddie Fox, a speedy player with a great shot. In fact, the Lancers feature multiple scorers and move the ball around very efficiently. Fox is joined by senior point guard Juliana Cruz, senior Sam Stopper, and sophomore Cassie Gee. Inside, the Lancers have 5-8 senior forward Sara Van Fleet and 5-7 sophomore Summer McNulty. This should be a very entertaining game which could go either way. The Lady Royals have superb guards, play solid defense, and have a versatile playmaker in the middle. The winner moves on to play either District 12 Runner-up Imhotep Charter (17-9) or Lancaster Mennonite (21-6), the District 3 #3 team, on Tuesday.
(2-1) Holy Cross (17-8) vs. (11-2) Marian Catholic (20-4), Scranton 6
(2-2) Old Forge (18-6) vs. (12-2) GAMP (16-4), St. Joseph’s Prep 5:30
District 2 Champion Holy Cross (17-8) will take on Marian Catholic (20-4), the District 11 Runner-up, who will be making their first state playoff appearance since 2014. Besides an opening season loss, Marian’s other three defeats have all come to Schuylkill League powerhouse Mahanoy Area. After a thrilling last second win over Moravian Academy in the District 11 semi-finals, the Fillies dropped the title game to MA, 51-37. Veteran head coach Paul Brutto gets balanced scoring from his starting lineup, but has got to be a bit concerned about the playing status on standout junior guard Emily Shaud (13.3 ppg with 26 triples) who left the district championship game with a knee injury. She netted 21 in their semi-final win, including the nifty drive-and-dish for the winning basket. She is joined on the perimeter by another pair of juniors, Julia Kreisl (6.3 ppg with 26 triples) and Macy Alansky (6.7 ppg with 24 treys). Inside, the Fillies feature a pair of senior forwards in Isabella Schwabe (9.3 ppg) and Emma McClafferty (6.8 ppg). Off the bench they have junior Abby Digris and senior Alexa Murray. Marian excels at defense where they only allow 33 ppg. The winner advances to play either District 12 Champion Bishop McDevitt (8-14) or District 3 Runner-up York Catholic (18-7) on Tuesday.
District 2 Runner-up Old Forge (18-6) will take on District 12 Runner-up Girard Academic Music Program (16-4). The Philly Pub school completed a 10-0 record in conference play. The Pioneers have three players that average in double digits led by freshman Zoe Hargrove (13.1 ppg). She is joined by junior Khaliyah White (11.4 ppg) and senior Jo Morrison (12.4 ppg). Another freshman guard, Dajon Wright hits 4.1 ppg. Inside, junior forward Aaliyah White pulls down 8 rebounds per game. The winner moves on to play either District 3 Champion Linden Hall (18-3) or District 4 Runner-up Sayre (20-7) next Tuesday.
SATURDAY, MARCH 9 GAMES
(2-1) Hazleton Area (18-7) vs. (1-7) Methacton (20-7), Wilkes Univ. 6
Hazleton Area (18-7), the District 2/4 Sub-Regional Champion will take on Methacton (20-7), the #7 seed from District 1. The Warriors bring a very impressive resume into the state tournament. They began the season with an eye-catching, mid-December win over perennial powerhouse Neumann-Goretti and finished by capturing the talent-filled Pioneer Athletic Conference. After a District 1 opening round playoff win over Central Bucks South, they came oh-so-close to their first ever semi-final appearance, but dropped a 76-70 loss to state-ranked Coatesville. After losing a tough playback game at Chester (73-59), they defeated Perkiomen Valley, 46-34. They have a terrific shooter in senior David Duda who averages 14.5 ppg, and has netted over 80 triples. The 6-3 guard, headed to PSAC power East Stroudsburg University next year, has a deep connection to Philly hoops (his dad is in his 13th season as a men’s basketball assistant at Saint Joseph’s University). Duda scored 24 points with 5 triples in the loss to Coatesville. He is joined by 6-2 junior guard Erik Timko who hits 15 ppg. Also around the perimeter they have 5-11 junior Brett Eberly. Inside, they have 6-9 junior center Jeff Woodward who continues to improve. He scored 16 points and pulled down a dozen boards in the Coatesville loss. The Warriors also feature 6-3 senior forward Ben Christian. Off the bench look for Owen Kropp and Marcus Girardo to contribute. Head coach Jeff Derstine (in his 9th season) has players who are dedicated to putting in the off-season time needed to build a highly-competitive program. The Warriors are active on the floor and much of their success can be linked to their unselfish teamwork. They have outstanding balance, just what you need for a deep playoff run. First up, though, will be a matchup against the Cougars and their standout senior playmaker, Da’mir Faison. This one should be quite entertaining. The winner advances to play either District 12 Runner-up Boys’ Latin (22-5) or Norristown (22-5), the District 1 #5 seed on Wednesday.
(2-1) Wyo. Seminary (25-2) vs. (12-4) String Theory (9-15), Wilkes Univ. 4:30
(2-2) Holy Redeemer (20-4) vs. (4-2) Wellsboro (23-4), Troy 6:30
District 2 Champion Wyoming Seminary (25-2) will match up against District 12 #4 seed, String Theory (9-15), from the Philly Pub League. As sometimes happens, not a lot of information is known about the Knights’, but they definitely have an offensive threat in 5-11 senior Tyler Spann, a 1,000 point scorer. He netted 33 points in their 67-65 overtime loss to Roxborough in the Pub playoffs. He’s an athletic, quick player who also leads the team in assists and steals. String Theory also has another pair of scorers inside with 6-3 sophomore Debarrinn Norman and 6-5 junior center Kylil Turner. They also have senior guard Joel Quinn, senior guard Lamar Thomas, and 5-11 senior forward Haru Mosley. Wyoming Seminary will need to stick with the winning formula that got them 25 wins. The Blue Knights have talent all over the floor and are primed for a playoff run. The winner moves on to play either District 12 Champion Neumann-Goretti (21-7) or Lancaster Mennonite (14-12), the District 3 #4 team next Wednesday.
District 2 Runner-up Holy Redeemer (20-4) will travel to play Wellsboro (23-4), the District 4 Runner-up. The Hornets completed a 16-0 run through the Northern Tier League Big School Division, but lost the NTL Showdown Final to North Penn-Mansfield, 43-41. In the District 4 playoffs, they rolled over Hughesville (58-27) and Mount Carmel (73-48) before committing 36 turnovers in a 70-36 championship loss to Loyalsock Township. A quick start is usually good news for Chase Kriner’s squad. They feature a versatile 6-4 senior forward in Brandyn Tuttle (18.3 ppg, 11 rpg) who is a 1,000 point scorer with 31 triples. Andrew Brelo, a 6-6 senior guard, averages 12.1 ppg (with 39 triples). Sophomore guard, Joseph Grab (10.6 ppg) has netted 47 treys. The Hornets also have senior guard Tanner Button (4.2 ppg), 6-5 senior forward Hunter Brown (5.7 ppg), junior guard Andrew Larson, and sophomore guard Holden Kennedy. Holy Redeemer suffered a bitter loss in the District 2 championship game and will be focused on extending their season on Saturday evening in Troy. The winner moves on to play either District 3 Champion Trinity (22-3) or School of the Future (12-10), the District 12 #6 team on Wednesday.
(2-1) Holy Cross (20-5) vs. (4-3) Bloomsburg (14-11), Marywood 7:30
(2-2) Northwest Area (15-10) vs. (4-1) Millville (24-1), W’port 5:30
District 2 champion Holy Cross (20-5) has been playing their best basketball of the season as they prepare to take on Bloomsburg (14-11), the District 4 #3 seed. The Panthers defeated Wyalusing in the opening round of the District 4 playoffs (50-42) before losing to #2 seed Northeast Bradford (45-43) in the semi-finals. They rebounded to take the consolation game over South Williamsport, 60-50. Bloom is led by 6-0 senior forward Evan Long who contributes 15.6 ppg and pulls down 6.7 rpg. Cade Klinger, a 6-0 junior shooting guard hits 9.6 ppg. Those two combined for 35 points in the win over South Williamsport. Another top rebounder, Aiden Klinger, a 6-0 senior forward, nets 9 ppg. The Panthers also get 7.1 ppg from senior point guard Osiris Hemphill. The winner will advance to take on either District 1 champion Delco Christian (16-10) or Strawberry Mansion, the District 12 #3 seed on Wednesday.
Northwest Area (15-10), the District 2 Runner-up will take on once-beaten District 4 Champion Millville (24-1). There’s plenty of excitement in the small community about 10 miles north of Bloomsburg, and it has nothing to do with the seasonal opening of Fran’s Dairy Bar (well, maybe a little bit). The Quakers are the talk of the town and are currently riding a 22-game winning streak. Their only loss came back on December 11 to Neumann Regional Academy (50-47). Millville rolled through the District 4 tournament with victories over East Juniata (66-38), South Williamsport (58-32), and #2 seed Northeast Bradford (56-36). They average 58.8 ppg and only allow 31 ppg. Junior 5-10 guard Will Holden is their top scoring threat. He netted 29 points with 5 triples in the quarter-final win over East Juniata. Other players include 6-1 senior Tyler Johnson, 5-10 senior Sawyer Watts, 5-10 senior Dyson Savage, 6-2 senior Zane Robbins, 6-2 senior Drew Shultz, and 5-11 junior Gage Michael. Northwest Area, a talented squad which has been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride at times this season, has got to limit their turnovers and prevent the Quakers from getting fast break baskets in transition. The winner moves on to play either District 5 Champion North Star (21-3) or Bishop McCort (12-12), the District 6 #3 team on Wednesday.
(2-1) Abington Hts. (20-5) vs. (3-6) Mechanicsburg (20-6), Marywood 6
(2-2) Wyoming Valley West (16-9) vs. (11-2) Bangor (17-8), Pittston 6
District 2 champion Abington Heights (20-5) will take on another 20-gram winner, Mechanicsburg (20-6), the District 3 #6 seed. The Wildcats got off to great start in the District 3 tournament by limiting a pair of Susquehannock 1,000-point scorers to a combined 13 points as they denied their dribble penetration and came away with a 42-18 win. In the quarter-finals, they led top-seed Solanco by nine with 7:15 remaining before dropping a 64-53 loss. In the playback round, they got a thrilling 52-50 double overtime victory over #4 seed Spring Grove before losing to Lower Dauphin, 39-35. The Wildcats, 8-14 a year ago, got their first district playoff win since 2015 behind the leadership of a core group of experienced players. Senior forward Megan Schrass put in the winning shot at the buzzer against Spring Grove. Senior guard Rylee Everett has been playing very well. She had 50 combined points (along with 7 triples) in their first three district playoff games. Talia Gilliard, a sophomore guard, netted 44 points in the same three games. Another key backcourt player is senior Abbey Engle. Inside, 5-11 junior forward Logan Nutt grabbed 12 boards against Susquehannock. She is joined by 5-10 senior Jessica Rainey. Additional contributions come from sophomore guard Allison Schrass and senior guard Abby Strong. This has the potential to be a terrific first round matchup. The Lady Comets have a balanced lineup and should match up well against the Wildcats. The winner moves on to play either Springfield-Delco (23-3) the District 1 #3 seed or Archbishop Wood (15-11), the District 12 #3 seed on Wednesday.
District 2 Runner-up Wyoming Valley West (16-9) will take on District 11 Runner-up Bangor (17-8) in the first round. The Slaters, behind 300-game winner William Bisci, will be making their first state playoff appearance in 7 years. After getting a first round bye, Bangor topped Pottsville (37-25) before losing to top-seed Southern Lehigh in the championship game, 53-28. Senior guard Emily Labar (7.2 ppg) and junior guard Morgan Karasek are returning starters. Those two combined for 24 points in the semi-final win over Pottsville. The Slaters also have 5-8 junior guard Maddie Minner (8.1 ppg) and junior guard Casey Walsh (6 ppg). The winner moves to play either District 3 Champion Palmyra (16-10) or Pope John Paul II (15-11), the District 1 #6 seed on Wednesday.
(2-1) Scranton Prep (24-1) vs. (3-4) ELCO (21-7), Marywood Univ. 4:30
(2-2) Lake-Lehman (19-6) vs. (4-3) Jersey-Shore (13-12), Pittston 4:30
(2-3) Nanticoke Area (19-6) vs. (4-1) Mifflinburg (23-4), Shikellamy 7
District 2 Champion Scranton Prep (24-1) will take on Eastern Lebanon County (ELCO, 21-7) in the first round. Of the Raiders’ seven losses, four of them came against undefeated Lancaster-Lebanon powerhouse Lancaster Catholic. After a first round District 3 playoff bye, they got a flurry of scoring and defense from senior forward Ryelle Shuey in the closing moments to secure a 46-42 win over Eastern York. Following their 45-24 semi-final loss to Lancaster Catholic, they also dropped the consolation tilt to Kennard-Dale, 58-44. The effort by Shuey in the Eastern York game (18 points and 15 rebounds) exhibits her resiliency and reputation as a clutch player. The Raiders returned three starters from their 11-11 team from last year, 5-11 Shuey along with senior guards Julia Nelson and Jordan Rosengrant who all provide plenty of leadership. Their point guard is KK Rueppel, a gritty sophomore that makes things click. The Raiders also get contributions from another pair of sophomores, Cassie Johnson and Amanda Smith. The winner advances to taker on either District 4 Runner-up Danville (22-4) or Tamaqua (21-5), the District 11 #3 team on Wednesday.
District 2 Runner-up Lake-Lehman (19-6) will take on Jersey Shore (13-12), the District 4 #3 team. The Bulldogs defeated Athens in the first round 50-26 before dropping a 48-36 semi-final loss to top-seeded Danville. Jersey Shore then rallied in the closing minute with a buzzer-beating triple by senior guard Hannah Kaufman to defeat Shamokin 57-56 in the consolation game. Speaking of Kaufman (18.5 ppg), she also came up big in their first two district playoff games. Against Athens she hit 17 points, and then played all 32 minutes against Danville logging 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 assist. Sadie Griswold (5-8 junior forward), another conference all-star, averages 6.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg. Aubrey Stetts, a junior forward who hit 21 against Shamokin, nets 8.3 ppg. Additional contributions come from senior guard Reba Lorson (4.8 ppg with 24 triples), 6-0 sophomore center Aubrey Schilling, and junior forward Haley Stetts. The Bulldogs are going to have to double down on Lake-Lehman’s Madison Borum who clearly presents a matchup problem. The winner moves on to play either District 12 Champion Bonner-Prendergast (16-9) or Bermudian Springs (18-8), the District 3 #5 team on Wednesday.
District 2 #3 team Nanticoke Area (19-6) will take on District 4 champion Mifflinburg (23-4). The Wildcats lost four game this season by a total of only 10 points. They have become one of the top teams in their district and have now played in four straight D4 finals. This year, they started out by streaking out to a 19-0 lead on their way to defeating Milton in the first round, 69-30. In the semi-finals, they got by Shamokin (one of their losses earlier in the year) 61-43. And, in the championship game, they defeated top-seed Danville, 47-40. The Wildcats feature a trio of outstanding seniors and juniors. Riley Griffith, a senior guard with over 1,670 points is a 4-year starter. She averages 17.5 ppg. Her twin sister, Reagan, their point guard has been on fire in their last four games, netting 12.8 ppg. Add in Ang Reamer (8.2 ppg), a junior guard with lightening quick hands, and you have an outstanding backcourt. The Wildcats are known for their relentless defense. Inside, 6-0 senior center Libby Whitaker is terrific. She scored 16 in the win over Shamokin. Head coach Kelly Griffith also gets contributions from juniors Mara Shuck and Mollie Bomgardner. Clearly, this is a challenging matchup for Nanticoke Area. However the Trojanettes have competed in one of the more challenging division in District 2. The winner will move on to play either District 12 Runner-up Audenried (12-8) or Kennard-Dale (22-4), the District 3 #3 team next Wednesday.
(2-1) Susquehanna Community (19-6) vs. (4-3) Millville (16-9), Dunmore 7
District 2/11 Champion Susquehanna Community (19-6) will take on Millville (16-9), the District 4 #3 team. The Quakers defeated Meadowbrook Christian in the District 4 first round 58-26 before have some rebounding and turnover problems in a 61-42 semi-final loss to Sullivan County. They bounced back to win the consolation game over Benton, 38-34. Two of their top players are Olivia Savage (5-6 sophomore forward) and Allison Diehl (5-10 junior forward). Other contributions come from junior point guard Alexa Rine, junior guard Madison Slater, freshman guard Jessica Dodge, 5-8 junior center Linsey Fisk, and 5-8 sophomore forward Emily Hippenstiel. Susquehanna, following an impressive win over Weatherly, is led by their junior guard Taylor Huyck (15 ppg, 44 triples). The winner advances to play either District 3 Runner-up Greenwood (20-5) or Chester Charter (18-4), the District 1 #3 team on Wednesday.
Follow LLhoops on Twitter @LLhoops