Friday lookahead: Five division titles on the line
Friday presents one of the most action-packed days of the YAIAA basketball season. All six division titles between the boys' and girls' sides can be won outright before the end of the night.
Here are five games to keep an eye on, with all scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m.:
Central York at William Penn: This is one of the premier rivalries in YAIAA hoops and after clashing four times last season, the Bearcats and Panthers picked up right where they left off with a thrilling overtime game in early January. The Bearcats (11-7, 7-3) overcame a double-digit deficit in the second half and had a chance to win the game at the buzzer but missed, allowing Central (15-2, 10-0) to hold on in overtime. Can fans get an encore performance when they meet at William Penn? Both teams are coming off a weeklong hiatus thanks to Winter Storm Jonas, but this one should provide some fireworks. Bearcats senior Trey Shifflett needs just 11 points to reach 1,000 for his career. Central sits atop the District 3 Class AAAA rankings and can clinch a division title with a win.
Hanover at York Catholic: The Fighting Irish can wrap up Division III with a win at home over rival Hanover. York Catholic (13-4, 12-0) has yet to slip up in division play and defeated Hanover (13-4, 9-1) on the road Jan. 5, 69-58. Their last three wins have come by 20 points or more. The Nighthawks still have four divisional games left but need to beat York Catholic to keep their division title hopes alive. Keep an eye on the backcourt battle in this one – York Catholic’s duo of Andrew Forjan and D’Andre Davis, who combined for 32 points in the first matchup, vs. Hanover’s Kyle Krout and Will McQueen, who combined for 40.
Gettysburg at Northeastern: Gettysburg could be the last threat to Northeastern’s chances of going undefeated in division play. The Bobcats (15-1, 11-0) won at Gettysburg, 68-54, on Jan. 5, but the streaky Warriors (12-5, 7-5) are capable of hanging with anyone thanks to a strong defense, solid outside shooting and the emergence of Ravaughn Dillard. Gettysburg won four in a row, then lost three straight before rebounding and winning three in a row leading up to Friday’s game. Which Gettysburg team will we see? And can anyone slow down Northeastern? One thing that is for certain is that the Warriors need some late wins to sneak into the YAIAA playoffs.
York Suburban at West York: This divisional rivalry has heated up the last two seasons and Friday’s matchup is essentially an elimination game with the losing team falling out of the divisional race. The Trojans (16-3, 10-2) won the first matchup, 37-28, at home but the Bulldogs have won five straight since then. Credit West York (12-5, 8-2) with rebuilding on the go after losing two first-team all-league players after last season. The Bulldogs have lost five games – all by single digits. The Trojans meanwhile have lost just three games all season with two of those coming to Susquehannock. Both teams are safely in the district playoff field but could use a key win here to boost their seeding.
York Catholic at Delone Catholic: Delone has already clinched a share of the division title and can win it outright for the first time since 2009 when they host York Catholic (15-4, 10-1). A division title over a rival on senior night? That’s intrigue enough, right? Throw in the fact that their first matchup came down to free throws at the end of regulation, then an overtime win for the Squirettes (15-4, 11-0) and this one is a must-see. Delone senior Katie Laughman held York Catholic’s Kate Bauhof to five points – 13 below her average – in the first meeting. Keep an eye on that backcourt matchup Friday.
William Penn at Central York: No, we wouldn’t have had this one circled before the season started, earlier. We’ve talked plenty about the Bearcats (12-7, 6-4) being one of the league’s top surprises. One of their biggest moments of the season was upsetting Central (16-2, 8-2) in the first meeting between these two teams. The Bearcats have been tough against good teams and four of their seven losses have come by six points or less. They can clinch a spot in the league tournament with a win. The Panthers haven’t lost since the last time they met William Penn and are looking to stay in the division title hunt.