Four York County teams aim for district titles
York Catholic will be playing for a district championship. Does that sound familiar? It should.
Kevin Bankos and his Fighting Irish (20-5) are heading back to Giant Center for a chance to tack on another Class AA title, potentially their 11th in a row.
They'll be taking on No. 1 Camp Hill (21-4). Does that sound familiar, too? Again, it should. The Irish beat Camp Hill, 63-57, in last year's title game and knocked the Lions out of the semifinals in 2013-2014.
While the Lions return their key pieces in high-scoring duo Leah Springer and Diamond Bragg, the Irish are a new-look team led by sophomore sensation Kate Bauhof, who dropped 41 points on No. 2 Wyomissing on Monday and led the YAIAA in scoring this season. Bauhof is the lone returning starter from last year's title-winning team, and she understands the significance of keeping the streak alive.
"We wanted to get back there (Giant Center) because of the history," she said after Monday's win. "Everyone is so excited. Coach had us prepared."
Camp Hill, which last won a district title in 1987, went 4-0 against YAIAA opponents this year, beating Delone Catholic and Bermudian Springs two times each.
When and where: 6:15 p.m. Thursday at Giant Center
No. 4 Eastern York (22-5) vs. No. 3 Bishop McDevitt (19-6): Raise your hand if you predicted before the season that the Golden Knights would be playing for a district title. Well, after winning 19 of their last 21 and knocking off top-seeded Milton Hershey, 73-65, the Golden Knights get a shot at Bishop McDevitt for the district title.
The Golden Knights, who last won a title in 2010, outscored Milton Hershey 30-16 in the fourth after trailing for most of the game. Broguen Nicholas (18 points per game) will get his points, but when Eastern gets contributions from Jared Achterberg, Jarad Woods and Evan Springer as it did against Milton Hershey, the Knights are hard to beat. Another balanced attack will be key against Bishop McDevitt.
The Crusaders, who are making their second straight trip to the Class AAA title game, have defeated their three district playoff opponents by at least 19 points, including No. 2 Lampeter-Strasburg. That's been mostly thanks to senior James Williams, who averaged more than 20 points this season.
When and where: 8 p.m. Thursday at Giant Center
No. 1 Central York (23-3) vs. No. 2 Reading (24-3):
Reading has 19 district titles. Central is 0-1 all time in district title game appearances. Reading has Lonnie Walker, a highly touted junior ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 23 in the country among class of 2017 recruits by ESPN. Central does not have Lonnie Walker. Even as the top-seeded team, Central feels like an underdog. And the Panthers are OK with that. They understand the challenge in front of them.
"Oh my gosh, they're great, they're one of the best teams in the state," senior Jared Wagner said of Reading after Tuesday's semifinal win. "We're just going to have to make a game plan and execute the best we can."
Reading's size could be an issue for Central. The Red Knights have two starters listed at 6-foot-5 or taller, including Walker.
The Panthers shouldn't be overlooked. Their momentum is sky high after defeating rival Spring Grove, 52-51 in an overtime thriller on Tuesday, and they're 14-3 this season against district playoff teams.
When and where: 1 p.m. Saturday at Giant Center
No. 1 York Country Day (21-0) vs. No. 10 Greenwood (13-12): The dominant Greyhounds square off with one of the district's biggest postseason Cinderella stories. Greenwood had lost seven of its last nine in the regular season and came in to the tournament below .500 before getting hot and beating the No. 2 and 3 teams in the bracket.
The Greyhounds have breezed past the No. 4 and 8 teams with wins by 21 and 28 points. Before this breakout season, York Country Day had just six district playoff wins all time and zero championship appearances. But head coach Corey Stiles and the fast-paced Greyhounds have run over and past every opponent this season.
Led by the high scoring duo of Jordan Ray and DeAireus Brown, York Country Day has outscored 19 of their 21 opponents by 20 points or more. They'll be heavily favored against Greenwood.
When and where: 5 p.m. Friday at Giant Center