PIAA hoops predictions: Which YAIAA teams will win?
The York-Adams area is sending 13 teams to the state tournament this season, up from nine teams a year ago. That increase is a byproduct of the PIAA decision to expand to six classifications, but it's also been a good year for basketball around York.
Once upon a time, this area expected to send at least one team deep into the state tournament every season. For instance, the girls' Class 2A state champion came out of the YAIAA for six consecutive seasons, ending with a York Catholic loss in the title game in 2008-09. The York-Adams area has hit a dry spell in the last two years. No team has earned two wins in the state tournament since New Hope's boys (Class A) and Dover's girls (Class 4A) each lost in the quarterfinals. But with four District 3 champions this season, and several other talented teams in the mix, a couple York-Adams teams should have a chance of breaking into that quarterfinal round again.
The first-round weekend features a boys' basketball doubleheader at West York Friday and a girls' basketball tripleheader Saturday.
Here's a look at all the first-round matchups:
Central York (24-4) vs. Central Bucks West (23-5)
7:30 p.m. Friday at William Tennent H.S., Warminster
Breakdown: Great season by Central York could hit a snag in the first round of the state tournament. Central Bucks West is the third-place team coming out of basketball stronghold District 1 (Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties). Freshman 6-foot forward Maddie Burke is already a star at age 15. She does a bit of everything, including blocks shots. She has already received recruiting interest in the form of letters from UConn, Maryland, Penn State and Ohio State.
Seip's pick: C.B. West by 8
Susquehannock (23-4) vs. Radnor (18-8)
5 p.m. Saturday at West York H.S.
Breakdown: Radnor is not a flashy team, but it plays well. It presses a lot, which should not be a concern for Susquehannock's speedy guards Taylor Tannura and Jayla Galbreath. Barring a post-championship letdown, Susquehannock should advance to the second round.
Seip's pick: Susquehannock by 3
New Oxford (21-8) vs. Abington Heights (14-11)
4 p.m. Saturday at Marywood University
Breakdown: Don't be fooled by Abington's record. The club has overcome injuries, including but not limited to the fact guard Nicole Getz is playing with a torn ACL. Abington scored three upsets to win a District 2 (northeast-Pa. corner) title. Abington does not score with ease and prefers defensive slugfests. New Oxford will have to account for guard Hannah Kowalski and post player Alessia Brunori. Could be an ugly, low-scoring affair unless New Oxford does what it does best: score in transition. If that's the case, look for a Colonials upset.
Seip's pick: New Oxford by 1
West York (18-8) vs. Mastery Charter North (17-10)
3:30 p.m. Friday at Father Judge H.S., Philadelphia
Breakdown: Coming off its first Philadelphia Public League title, knocking off Imhotep in late February, the Lady Pumas look to be improved from a year ago when they went to the second round of the state tournament. Archbishop Wood knocked them off in the District 12 (Philadelphia) title game. This is a tough matchup for the Bulldogs, who basically need to pull off an early-afternoon upset in Mastery Charter North's backyard.
Seip's pick: Mastery Charter North by 8
Dover (19-8) vs. Southern Lehigh (25-1)
3 p.m. Saturday at Freedom H.S.
Breakdown: The only District 11 representative in this tournament, Southern Lehigh reached the second round of last year's tournament by knocking off York Suburban. If the Eagles have a chance, they need to use Rajah Fink and freshman Gabrielle Coley inside the arc in order to open up Rayah Fink outside.
Seip's pick: Southern Lehigh by 5
York Suburban (14-11) vs. Montoursville (24-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Shikellamy H.S., Sunbury
Breakdown: The Trojans might have a chance to pull an upset despite drawing the District 4 (north-central Pa.) champion. Montoursville had not won a district title since Kelly Mazzante led the squad to a crown in 2000 before heading off to Penn State and the WNBA. Parker Faircloth-Henise will need to neutralize 6-foot Marlene Bassett (East Stroudsburg commit) and the Trojans need to own the glass. Alexis Marchioni and Lauren O'Malley are the Warriors' top offensive threats.
Seip's pick: York Suburban by 1
York Catholic (20-6) vs. Loyalsock Township (16-9)
8 p.m. Saturday at West York H.S.
Breakdown: Loyalsock has two quality guards and a fundamentally-sound program. The Lancers can shoot the 3-pointer and can press opponents. This is a more difficult draw than York Catholic typically earns after winning a district title, but it's a team the Irish should beat.
Seip's pick: York Catholic by 9
Delone Catholic (19-7) Mastery Charter South (16-1)
6:30 p.m. Saturday at West York H.S.
Breakdown: The Squirettes have relied on underclassmen to help lift them this year, and they will need their young players to come through again. Mastery Charter South hasn't played since February, losing in lopsided fashion in the Philadelphia Public League semifinals to Imhotep, a possible second-round matchup for York Catholic. Historically, the third- and fourth-place teams out of Philly have struggled against District 3 squads in small-school hoops. Since District 12 joined PIAA playoffs in 2004-05, no third-place qualifier has reached the second round in the old 2A classification.
Seip's pick: Delone Catholic by 8
New Oxford (14-11) vs. Archbishop Wood (23-3)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Philadelphia University
Breakdown: Tough first-round matchup for the Colonials, who made some history this year by reaching the District 3 tournament for the first time since 2009. Wood, the Philadelphia champion, is considered the best team in the state with a guard, Collin Gillespie, headed to Villanova.
Seip's pick: Wood by 15+
Spring Grove (20-8) vs. West Scranton (14-11)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Scranton H.S.
Breakdown: Basically a home game for West Scranton, but this is winnable for Spring Grove. The Rockets and Eli Brooks will once again need help from a supporting cast (Austin Panter, Drew Gordon, Jonny Saeger) to pull out a win. A potential rematch with Manheim Central could be around the corner in a second-round matchup Tuesday.
Seip's pick: Spring Grove by 3
Northeastern (27-2) vs. Wissahickon (15-11)
7:30 p.m. Friday West York H.S.
Breakdown: The District 1 (suburban Philly) seventh-place team has a pair of 6-foot-4 players, including Chaz Owens — the son of Carlisle great and former NBA player Billy Owens. Using its five-guard lineup, Northeastern will need to overcome a slight height disadvantage, but that's what it always tries to do.
Seip's pick: Northeastern by 6
York Catholic (22-3) vs. Neumann-Goretti (19-7)
6 p.m. Friday at South Philadelphia H.S.
Breakdown: Irish lost their first game in the district tournament for the second straight year, and even though they qualified for the state tournament that loss put them in a tough spot. They take on the District 12 champion. Neumann-Goretti's guard Quade Green (Kentucky) and forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Villanova) are two of the best prospects in the state/nation.
Seip's pick: Neumann-Goretti by 15+
York Country Day (19-4) vs. Jenkintown (16-9)
6 p.m. Friday at West York H.S.
Breakdown: The Greyhounds have too many offensive weapons — including Jordan Ray, DeAireus Brown and Jalen Gorham — for most Class A teams to defend. Expect Greyhounds to press Jenkintown, which is one reason why the Drakes lost a District 1 semifinal they led at halftime.
Seip's pick: York Country Day by 9