Rankings: One YAIAA team clear No. 1
Watch GameTimePA's girls' basketball power rankings from Jan. 7, 2017. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
Perhaps we got it wrong in the preseason.
Looking to predict the top five girls' basketball programs in the league, we didn’t slot a single YAIAA Division II team in the mix.
OK, big oversight.
We slotted three Division II teams as honorable mention picks, but in forecasting the season we picked Division I and Division III to bring the best squads.
Now a month later, that doesn’t look to be the case.
Division II remains up for grabs, with possibly five teams still in the mix to win the regular-season crown.
Here’s a look at the league’s best heading into the second week of January. All records are updated through Friday's games.
5. Eastern York (9-2)
The Golden Knights have arguably the most dynamic player in the league in Hannah Myers. The junior guard regularly drops 20 points a night, and she can score 30 on her best nights. She brings intensity, and the team feeds off it.
The Golden Knights would have been a notch higher on our list if not for this week's loss to Delone Catholic, which could have exposed the biggest concern for Eastern. Myers was held to nine points, and Cass Arnold (12 points) was the only Eastern player to crack double figures. If Eastern finds more secondary scoring, the Knights will continue to be a team to watch.
4. Susquehannock (9-3)
The Warriors have the roster and coaching in place to make a run in the postseason, but shots — or more specifically, shot selection — have been one of the biggest obstacles for the team to overcome. The Warriors let a first-half lead at Eastern York slip away, losing a tight road game. And it happened again against Central York, when the Central defense helped erase a halftime deficit.
If the Warriors fine-tune their offense, everything else is in place for a big finish.
3. Dover (11-1)
Despite the coaching turnstile at Dover, the Eagles are in a good place under Kevin Glover, who is Dover's fourth head coach in four seasons. Much of the Eagles’ success has to do with the Fink sisters Rayah and Rajah.
Opponents need to have a strong perimeter game to shut down Dover, but they're also forced to play well inside: Rayah can slash inside to hit the mid-range jumper and Rajah can power through the lane.
2. New Oxford (8-2)
The Colonials have one of the most experienced starting lineups in the league, returning all five starters from a year ago. Now in the second season under head man Jim Kunkle, New Oxford can run the floor. But the Colonials suffered back-to-back losses by sizable margins to their two toughest opponents (Northern Lebanon, Central York) this season.
New Oxford still has a chance to impress, though. In a 13-day stretch starting Jan. 21, New Oxford is scheduled to play: Hempfield, Dallastown, Central, Boyertown, Red Lion and Dover. If the Colonials survive that run and remain healthy, a postseason run should be in their future.
1. Central York (10-1)
Perhaps we underestimated just how good Central could be. Our preseason poll ranked them as the No. 2 team in the league, but no one can argue against slotting them as the top team in the YAIAA, especially when the Panthers dismantled our preseason No. 1, New Oxford, by a 61-32 score Tuesday.
The Panthers are built to score — and in binges. Katie Fabbri has stepped in as the starting point guard, while Emma Saxon creates matchup troubles by creating her own chances or dishing to teammates from the off-guard spot.
That opens the door for everyone from post players — Nikson Valencik and Teirra Preston — to sniper Sarah Sepic.
Don’t sleep on Central being a force in the postseason. Central thoroughly dismantled a Cedar Cliff team in the first eight minutes of its holiday tournament. The Colts have won eight of their first 11 games and sit atop the Mid Penn Keystone Division tied with Lower Dauphin.
The one loss for Central came in overtime against Lancaster-Lebanon Section II leader, Lampeter-Strasburg (9-1), in a season-opening tipoff tournament. L-S has steamrolled all but one team this season, winning by comfortable margins most nights.
West York (8-3), York Catholic (6-3), Delone Catholic (8-3).