Now that we've crowned Red Lion as the YAIAA girls' basketball champion, let's look ahead to the PIAA District 3 playoffs.
All first-round games played at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Top seven teams advance to states.
No. 4 Central York (22-3) vs. No. 20 Wilson (14-10): After a first-round exit last season, the much-improved Panthers get a favorable matchup against the lowest-ranked team in the bracket. Central had won 12 in a row before a heartbreaking 35-34 loss to Red Lion in the YAIAA final. The most impressive part of Central's success is that it's racking up wins with a young lineup; several key contributors are underclassmen. Wilson has been inconsistent but put together an impressive win against Hempfield in the preliminary round. With a win, Central would take on either Harrisburg or Manheim Township before a potential semifinal matchup with powerhouse Cumberland Valley. But it's one game at a time, right?
No. 15 New Oxford (15-8) vs. No. 2 Governor Mifflin (24-1): Does this seem familiar? Almost a year ago to the day, the Colonials won the No. 15 vs. No. 18 preliminary matchup and prepared to face the No. 2 team in the district. Last year, it was Cumberland Valley (which eventually won the district title), and New Oxford lost by 40. This year's Mustangs haven't lost since Dec. 14 and have crushed most of their competition. Even without any seniors, the Colonials bring an experienced and feisty squad to Shillington. And maybe head coach Jim Kunkle and his red pants can bring some more luck.
No. 3 Red Lion (23-2) vs. No. 14 Cedar Cliff (14-8): After an emotional championship win Friday night, the Lions will need to refocus for a district run, head coach Don Dimoff said. They'll host a Cedar Cliff team that lost to William Penn and Central earlier this season. Among the three YAIAA teams still in the tournament, the Lions have the easiest path on paper. A win against Cedar Cliff would mean a likely matchup with No. 6 Cedar Crest, then on to the Giant Center.
All first-round games played 7 p.m. Wednesday. Top seven teams advance to states.
No. 8 York Suburban (17-5) vs. No. 9 Susquenita (21-3): York Suburban is back in the No. 8 vs. No. 9 matchup again, hoping to repeat last season's first-round win. The Trojans get Susquenita, which racked up 21 wins but faced the weakest schedule among Class AAA playoff teams. A win would likely send Suburban to a quarterfinal with No. 1 Berks Catholic. The Trojans had the second-best defense in the league, and all five losses were to playoff teams. Can they avoid looking ahead to Berks Catholic and handle the Blackhawks?
No. 4 Susquehannock (21-3) vs. No. 13 ELCO (15-7): Susquenannock is probably happy to play anyone other than Central. All three of the Warriors' losses this season were to the Panthers, and they were 21-0 against everyone else. They definitely won't see Central again, so that's a good sign, right? For their part, the young Raiders, who have just one senior on their roster, won 10 of 12 down the stretch after starting 5-5. They'll make the hour-plus trip to Glen Rock to take on Ashley Stone and company. Susquehannock finished top five in the YAIAA in both team offense and team defense.
No. 14 West York (14-8) vs. No. 3 Bishop McDevitt (17-5): This is an intriguing rematch of the season opener when Morgan Bamberger burst onto the scene with an 18-point game in a one-point loss to Bishop McDevitt. Since then, West York has had some growing pains as the Bulldogs reloaded on the fly after losing multiple first-team all stars. Keep an eye on McDevitt's freshman Olivia Fasick, who averaged 18 points over her last four games. She scored 16 in the first meeting with West York.
First round games played Tuesday. Top three teams advance to states.
No. 4 Delone Catholic (17-6) vs. No. 5 Linden Hall (20-2), Friday: The Squirettes put together a solid performance in the YAIAA tourney, beating York Suburban before falling to eventual champ Red Lion. One of only two YAIAA teams to rank in the top five in both offense and defense, Delone uses a balanced scoring attack and guard-heavy lineup. Linden Hall won 20 games but faced the easiest schedule among all Class AA teams. With a win, Delone would secure a rematch with No. 1 Camp Hill, which beat the Squirettes in districts last season and earlier this season.
No. 3 York Catholic (18-5) vs. No. 6 Oley Valley (12-11), Friday: York Catholic begins its march in pursuit of an 11th straight district title with a rematch of last season's No. 1 vs. No. 9 quarterfinal matchup. Oley Valley has limped into the postseason, having lost four in a row and five of the last seven. Meanwhile, the Irish have won nine of their last 10, thanks in large part to sophomore sensation Kate Bauhof, who leads the league in scoring at more than 20 points per game. The Irish also boast the No. 1 scoring offense in the league.
First round games played Wednesday. Top four teams advance to states.
No. 4 Christian School of York (17-7) vs. No. 5 Harrisburg Christian (19-5) or No. 12 Mount Calvary Christian (11-12), Saturday: The Crusaders split a two-game series against Mount Calvary and lost two of three to Harrisburg Christian, with all three being decided by three points or less. The Crusaders will have to avoid looking ahead to a potential semifinals matchup with No. 1 Lebanon Catholic, which beat Christian School of York in last season's district title game.