York Catholic, Northeastern brace for semifinal 'madhouse'
GameTimePA reporters Teddy Feinberg and Jim Seip breakdown the YAIAA girls' and boys' basketball tournaments, detailing what teams are favored to win. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
A highly intriguing boys' basketball semifinal is scheduled to unfold Wednesday at Red Lion High School.
YAIAA Division I champion Northeastern will square off against YAIAA Division III champion York Catholic at 7:30 p.m. in the nightcap of the league tournament doubleheader. Central York plays Spring Grove in the other semifinal.
Both the Irish and Bobcats have put together standout seasons. Both teams racked up at least 20 wins and will take a top-two seed into their respective District 3 tournaments. But this will be their first head-to-head meeting.
York Catholic finished the regular season with a 20-1 overall record, albeit in a division where the Irish were seemingly head and shoulders above the competition. They rolled through Division III with a 14-0 overall record and beat Division II program Eastern York, 62-51, in the league quarterfinals on Saturday.
The Irish have a talented team, highlighted by senior forward Melik Martin, senior point guard Andrew Forjan and junior guard D'Andre Davis.
They also have a veteran unit: Seniors Kyle Derowski and Steven Nigro round out the starting lineup.
York Catholic is also versatile. Led by the 6-foot-5 Martin, the Irish have the size to play physical basketball. But they also can get out and run the floor.
"They have a big, strong post. And he’s athletic," Northeastern coach Jon Eyster said. "They have a quality point guard. They have nice role players. You don’t win 21 games if you’re not any good.”
With that being said, York Catholic could be facing its toughest competition of the season in Northeastern, which went 20-2 in the regular season and won YAIAA Division I with a 12-2 mark. Northeastern, which likes to get out in the open floor, has a talented core of players and more depth than the Irish.
“I know (Northeastern has been) the talk of the county, talk of the town," York Catholic coach Blaine Claiborne said. "I’m excited. I want to play anybody, if it’s good competition. And I know the guys feel that way too.
"The guys just want to play. They want to match up with whoever’s next on the schedule. And that’s who it is.”
Martin said the Bobcats will provide the Irish with one of the area's premier litmus tests.
“They are a good team and it would gain a lot of respect," he said. "We have good size, we have good players that can handle the ball. We can shoot. Seeing us, I guess, as the Catholic team, people overlook us. We’re going to come out Wednesday at Red Lion and we’re going to fight.”
In a highly anticipated matchup, the Bobcats and Irish clash for a chance to play for YAIAA supremacy.
“Red Lion will be a madhouse on Wednesday, that’s for sure,” Eyster said.
If you go
What: YAIAA tournament semifinal
Matchup: York Catholic vs. Northeastern
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Red Lion High School
Title game: Friday at York College