York-area boys' hoops teams could make PIAA noise
First-round victories could be in the offing for a handful of YAIAA programs
With the district playoffs in the books, five York-Adams boys' basketball teams will now look ahead to the state playoffs. The first round starts Friday with sites to be determined.
Here's a look at the tournament field from a YAIAA standpoint:
York/Adams teams to qualify: York Country Day (A), Eastern York (AAA), Gettysburg (AAA), Spring Grove (AAAA), Central York (AAAA)
Player to Watch: DeAireus Brown, York Country Day
If York Country Day played in the YAIAA, Brown would probably earn some MVP consideration. The junior transfer has helped the Greyhounds go 22-0 and win a district championship for the first time in program history. In the title game, Brown led the charge, scoring 15 points in the third quarter to lead the Greyhounds from seven points down to an eventual 56-44 win. After the game, head coach Corey Stiles praised his junior guard.
"What he brought to our program is invaluable," Stiles said of Brown. "Not only on the court but off the court. He's a leader, and the guys feed off that. He's one of the most respected kids in the school just because of the way he handles himself on and off the court. ... He's an incredible kid. I'm very lucky and blessed to have him on my team."
By no means is Brown alone on that team, but his motor makes the team go. The Greyhounds will go as far as Brown wills them to go.
York Country Day will take on District 4’s Sullivan County (22-4) in the first round, Friday at 6 p.m. at Dallastown High School.
Toughest road: (tie) Class AAA teams Gettysburg, Eastern York
Gettysburg is in the same spot it was last season: the lowest District 3 seed to reach states. So the Warriors will travel to the Philadelphia area and take on the District 12 champion Delaware-Valley Charter. Last year Gettysburg was blown out by eventual state champ Neumann Goretti. The road won’t be any easier this season.
Eastern will draw the fourth seed from District 12 — that being Imhotep — then potentially the District 4 champ Lewisburg in the second round. Neither of those games will be easy for the Golden Knights, who lost to Bishop McDevitt in the District 3 championship, 71-47.
Team to watch: Spring Grove
Yes, the Rockets lost to Central for a third time this season when Jared Wagner tipped in his own miss in the waning seconds of overtime in last week's district semifinal. But they still haven’t lost to anyone this season other than Central, and they will be playing close to home at West York, where first-round games will be hosted.
Spring Grove boys' basketball dates back to 1923, and, according to research by John H. Dickert, Spring Grove had never reached the state tournament before this season.
So a Spring Grove-heavy crowd, plus a decent matchup against Spring Ford — fifth-place team from District 1 — could equal a trip to the second round, where the Rockets would get the winner of Hempfield-Chester. That’s another challenging but winnable game. We’ll see how far the Rockets can go.
As long as Eli Brooks is on the floor, Spring Grove has a chance.
What team makes it the furthest?
It’s hard to vote against York Country Day right now, mostly because they’re on a roll and have the best seeding among York-area teams. Spring Grove is definitely capable of winning at least one or two games. The Rockets impressed against Wilson and J.P. McCaskey in districts. Other then their three losses to Central, the Rockets have looked like the better team all the other times they stepped on the court.
Fortunately for them, they won’t run into the Panthers unless they meet in the state championship game. The Rockets, however, could draw Reading in a quarterfinal. Central will get one York-area game against CB West at West York High School before a potential matchup against District 12 champ Roman Catholic in the second round. The Panthers are coming off a tough loss to district powerhouse Reading, but their near comeback in the second half could be a confidence boost heading into states.
Winning one game in the state tournament is a challenge. But it's conceivable York Country Day, Spring Grove and Central York could all record multiple wins in the tournament this year.