Early predictions: Which YAIAA girls' teams are district-bound?
Watch the top high school basketball plays around the YAIAA from Jan. 14-20. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
Yes, it's early. But it's also never too early to talk postseason girls' basketball.
Here's a look at which York-Adams girls' basketball teams will — and won't — compete for District 3 titles this winter.
Crusaders back in postseason
Christian School of York at least boasts experience from a program standpoint.
The Crusaders reached the District 3 Class 1A finals two years ago and finished third last season.
They're currently ranked No. 5 in the district. Ten teams make the playoff bracket.
Early prediction: They've been there before and they'll reach the playoffs again. With that being said, the Crusaders should be competitive with anyone they take the floor against in a playoff setting.
Fairfield ranked seventh
This isn't good news for the Green Knights, considering only seven teams reside in Class 2A, and only four make the playoffs. Ranked ahead of the 3-13 Green Knights and their postseason aspirations are No. 6 Antietam, No. 5 Newport and No. 4 Upper Dauphin, who are each within a game of .500.
Delone Catholic, York Catholic at the top — again
These two teams just can't get away from each other, even in the district tournament.
One would figure the YAIAA Division III race will come down to the York Catholic and Delone Catholic. York Catholic is atop the standings with a 7-0 divisional mark (9-4 overall), while Delone Catholic is 7-1 and 13-4 overall.
Despite York Catholic's first-place standing — and the team's 79-73 win against the Squirettes earlier this season — the Fighting Irish currently hold the No. 2 seed in the District 3 rankings, while Delone is No. 1. Then again, it was less than a month ago that Delone Catholic lost Jill Novak to her second ACL injury in as many years.
Can anyone else make a move? Tough to say, but this much we know: Hanover is ranked No. 4 yet lost to Delone Catholic, 64-22, and to York Catholic, 49-14, earlier this season. And Trinity, currently ranked seventh, lost to York Catholic 60-32 in the first game of the year. Yikes.
Six teams make the bracket here.
Early prediction: York Catholic lost last year to Camp Hill in the district title game. Well, the Irish moved to Class 3A this offseason, while Camp Hill remained in Class 2A. Considering that, the Irish should reclaim their stake as district champs in 2017.
Eastern York, Susquehannock hanging tough
Eastern York, currently ranked No. 5, has had a good year to this point against a number of good Class 5A teams in YAIAA Division II. But the Golden Knights can also be a tough team to figure. One thing is certain: They need Hannah Myers to stay out of foul trouble to remain a threat.
Case in point: On Wednesday, Myers was held to two points, and a 27-point loss to Susquehannock followed suit.
York Suburban, meanwhile, is currently seeded No. 6. And while the Trojans haven't been an overwhelming success this year with an 8-7 record, Jess Barley is going to have her team prepared to play every night.
Meanwhile, the teams at the top of this classification are legitimate. Northern Lebanon (15-1 record, No. 1 seed) is outstanding, Bishop McDevitt (13-3, No. 2) is solid and Lancaster Catholic (12-2, No. 3) is a traditional power.
Ten teams total make up the tournament bracket.
Early prediction: Can Eastern and York Suburban compete? Certainly. Their best shot against the top-three teams in the district bracket, however, would be against McDevitt. Northern Lebanon and Lancaster Catholic are going to provide problems for whoever they face.
Local programs well represented
Four of the top seven teams currently in the District 3 Class 5A bracket are from the YAIAA — New Oxford is ranked No. 2, Susquehannock No. 3, West York No. 6 and Dover No. 7.
We've seen the competition in YAIAA Division II between Susquehannock, West York and Dover. Those three teams can play with each other on any given evening.
Some longtime local coaches could also spur their teams to postseason success in this bracket — speaking specifically about Susquehannock's Dave Schreiner and West York's Darrell Wildasin. Each been through the wars.
And this could be New Oxford's season to shine, considering the Colonials are a veteran team that's competing atop the YAIAA Division I standings.
It's a 16-team playoff field with no byes, meaning winnable games will be in store for higher seeds.
Early prediction: This looks to be a wide open race. Will New Oxford find the winning touch? They have the talent and have ran the gauntlet against some 6A teams in YAIAA Division I. With that being said, the Colonials can win the district.
How far can the Panthers go?
Central York is a talented team that has the potential to do some damage. Emma Saxton is a great player, and frontcourt teammates Nikson Valencik and Teirra Preston help put together a formidable big three.
But this is Class 6A, where big schools and powerful programs reside. No. 1 Cumberland Valley has won three straight state titles, and its lone loss this season came to the current No. 3-seed Central Dauphin (38-30 final). No. 2 seed Cedar Crest holds a 14-0 record.
The Panthers also have been somewhat inconsistent: This past week they lost to Dallastown, 43-42, then scored big in a 95-60 win over Eastern York. Then came a 40-38 win against Red Lion thanks to a Saxton coast-to-coast bucket at the buzzer.
Dallastown, currently ranked No. 11, is an interesting team because of veteran coach Jay Rexroth. No matter who they face, the Wildcats will have a plan.
Early prediction: The Panthers have talent, no doubt. They could have a run in store, but getting past any of the top-three teams would be a tall order. As always, matchups will be key for Central once tournament time rolls around.