It's here, it's here. Basketball season starts this Friday night with a host of tip-off tournaments. Here are 10 must-see games this season.
Dec 5: Hanover vs Biglerville at Lady Canner Tip-Off tournament- These two teams met three times last year and all three games were decided by 10 points or less. In the championship game of this tournament last year, Hanover senior Soukaina Tracy (6-0, jr., SG, 20.9 ppg, 15.8 rpg, 4.8 apg) and Biglerville's Rebecca Isaac (5-8. sr., G/F, 15.4 ppg) had one of the best one-on-one battles of the season. Tracy finished with 28 points and Isaac led the Canners with 31 en route to a victory. The next time these two teams met, the Hawkettes squeaked out a 58-57 victory.
Fans can only hope for these season's opener to be half as good.
The Canners return four starters from last year and hope to build off of last years success, while the Hawkettes are eager to get a healthy Soukaina Tracy back after she tore her ACL last January.
Dec 9: Kennard-Dale at Gettysburg- Welcome to the YAIAA Gettysburg. This will be
the Warriors first divisional game as a member of the YAIAA Division II.
The Rams finished 7-15 last season but return three starters. While they lack depth with only nine roster players, they have four who are 5-foot-9 or taller.
It will be an interesting matchup for Gettysburg who lost their leading scorer from last year, Cami Boehner to graduation. The Warriors have a host of athleticism, but head coach Casey Thurston needs to see, who will step up and provide the scoring.
Dec 9: Hanover at Delone Catholic- Two tough tests early in the season will show Hanover head coach Denny Garman what his squad is made of.
The Hawkettes were in the race for the division title last year before Soukaina Tracy went down. Then they dropped six of their last seven games of the season.
This year's contest will produce a great one-on-one matchup of Tracy and Delone's Maddie Comly (18.4 ppg last year). If Hanover wants a shot at the division, a win this game will go a long way in building the confidence of a team that only returns Soukaina and twin-sister Zaynah as starters.
Delone will be without Mary Gingrow who was lost to graduation, but they three starters from last years squad. The maturation of sophomores Jill Novak and Elise Knoblach will go a long way in determining the type of season Delone will have.
Dec 12: Spring Grove at William Penn- In a rematch of two YAIAA Division II teams last year, the Rockets and Bearcats have moved up to Division I.
Spring Grove will be without YAIAA scoring leader Morgan Arden, who graduated last year. While the Rockets only have one starter from last year's 11-11 team returning, they will have the services of Ashley Caster who transferred from New Oxford. The 5-foot-10 senior will serve as a huge force in the middle.
William Penn is home to one of the most electric athletes in the YAIAA in junior Chyna Steele. Steele finished last year averaging 21.6 points and is only 166 points away from 1,000 in her career.
Dec 16: Spring Grove at New Oxford- The Colonials return four starters from last year's squad and head coach Mike Saunders plans to lean on the teams' toughness and leadership. In addition to the returning starters, Saunders has three sophomores who missed all of last year with torn ACL's
It is also the return of Caster who played in the New Oxford program for three seasons. She was the Rockets leading scorer last yearIt will be interesting to see the match-up between Caster and the Colonials' Taryn Crone. The two battled each other every day in practice and it will be interesting to see how the two do when it matters.
Dec 19: Fairfield at Littlestown- On paper this game may not stand out but once you dig deeper you see two young teams that have a wealth of experience returning.
Fairfield returns four starters from last years team including the teams leading scorer in junior Abby Herring who averaged 10.0 points per game.
Littlestown has three starters returning and Bolts head coach Chris Myers believes that his squad will surprise people this year. They are led by junior forward Emily Lanahan who scored 6.1 points per game last year.
While this game may not determine who is the Division III champ, it will go a long way in helping the winner gain confidence and momentum as both teams try to rebuild.
Jan 6: Bermudian Springs at Hanover- This was a four point Hanover win last year
and now, the two teams are division rivals.
Bermudian could be getting senior Shannon Kuhn back around this time as she recovers from surgery on her ACL. A Kuhn/Soukaina Tracy showdown would be a fun one to watch.
While the Eagles may not have the huge star power, they rely on their depth and speed. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles respond to Tracy's size.
Jan 12: Greencastle-Antrim at Delone Catholic- This is a huge matchup of District 3 teams. The Blue Devils fell in the District 3 AAA quarterfinals but finished the season 22-3 overall. They bring back five key contributors from that team including their floor general Hannah Crist who finished last year with 10.8 points per game and sophomore Jenay Faulkner who did it all as a freshman and averaged 13.5 ppg.
This is a great test for the Squirettes and to have the Blue Devils on their home court may be the equalizer. This could arguably be the best team that Delone faces this year.
Jan 14: South Western at Spring Grove- Throw records otu of the window. Spring Grove and South Western do not need any additional motivation when these two schools square off. Both teams could be winless (which I do not anticipate) and this game would be played with the physicality and intensity of a district championship game.
The Mustangs return four starters from a squad that struggled last year, going 4-17. Thyey return Kayleigh Thomas who was injured in teh first game last year and missed the rest of the season. Let's see how South Western responds in the second year of the Kevin Klunk era.
Jan 23: Delone Catholic at York Catholic- This matchup has become one of the most
eagerly anticipated matchups of the year. Previously the two teams battled year in and year out to determine the Division IV championship. Now with realignment, they will battle for the Division III title.
The two teams met three times last year with York Catholic taking two of three including the District 3 Class AA championship.