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PIAA basketball playoffs on Friday, Saturday

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Published March 07. 2019 12:33PM

Seven area basketball teams will open PIAA State Tournament play this weekend.

GIRLS CLASS 1A

PIAA playoffs - Opening round

District 11, No. 2 Weatherly (16-8)

vs. District 1, No. 2 The Christian Academy (19-5)

TIP-OFF – Saturday at Pottstown High School, 5:30 p.m.

COACHES – Weatherly: Kevin Kringe; The Christian Academy: Jason Wilt.

LEADING SCORERS – Weatherly: Emily Zoscin (18.04 ppg), Megan Peifer (10.71), Lindsay Hoffman (9.42), Abby Hernandez (5.79); The Christian Academy: Grace Gromly, Brittney Dike, Oksana Specht.

GAME NOTES ... The winner will face Lancaster Country Day (District 3, Seed 1, 19-5) or Benton (District 4, Seed 4, 15-10) in the next round… The Christian Academy lost 51-16 to Jenkintown in the District 1 Class 1A Championship game … According to PennLive, the Crusaders couldn’t handle last year defending Class A State champion Jenkintown’s full-court press. The Crusaders committed 34 turnovers and shot a dismal 25 percent from the floor … The Christian Academy was fourth in its division (Constitutional) in the Bicentennial League with a 13-6 overall record and 5-4 in its Division … TCA ended the Wreckers’ 2017-18 season in states with a 49-43 win … “We’re ready this time,” said Kringe. “We know this time what to expect. We kind of got that underdog mentality now rather than having the target on our back. So, I think we’re going to feed off that. And, we’re going to bring it” … Grace Gromley is the main threat on the Crusaders’ attack. Brittany Dike is one who can complement the Crusaders’ main threat. Kringe knows all too well that everything goes through No. 14. “We must stop Gromley. She pretty much does everything. Handles the ball. Crashes in inside. She’s kind of like our Emily. We need to really contain her” … Kringe and his Wreckers have done their homework. “We must pressure more. Last year, they were able to handle our pressure a little bit. But we were a bit passive. We must be much more aggressive this time” …

QUOTABLE: “We’re going to bring it because I still remember that game last year. We had them. They made a couple of plays at the end that took our hearts a bit. We want to take that next step. More people come, and more people start believing. And, that’s what we want. We want to take the next step,” – Weatherly head coach Kevin Kringe.

GIRLS CLASS 2A

PIAA playoffs - Opening round

District 11, No. 2 Marian (18-4)

vs. District 2, No. 1 Holy Cross (17-8)

TIPOFF - Friday at Scranton High School, 6 p.m.

COACHES – Marian: Paul Brutto; Holy Cross: Barry Fitzgerald

LEADING SCORERS – Marian: Emily Shaud (13.4 ppg.), Isabella Schwabe (9.4), Emma McClafferty (6.8).

GAME NOTES ... The winner of this game moves on to face either Bishop McDevitt (District 12 champ, 8-14 overall) or York Catholic (District 3 runner up, 18-7 overall) in the next round ... Marian fell to Mahanoy Area in the District 11Class 2A title game 51-37. The Fillies return to states for the first time in four years. Coach Paul Brutto talked about how to prepare for the Crusaders. “They are a very balanced team on the offensive end and disciplined in executing their offense, so we have been focused on how we would like to defend them. Offensively, emphasis has been to get good ball movement and look to take advantage of our size advantage as much as possible.” ... Marian top-scorer Emily Shaud was held to just five points against Mahanoy Area, as Julia Kreisl was Marian’s high scorer in the game with nine points. Holy Cross won the District 2 championship with a victory over Old Forge last Friday. Freshman Kaci Kranson led the Crusaders with 18 points. Holy Cross won its first District 4 title by beating Old Forge, 43-38 in the championship game. The school opened in 2017 after the closing of Bishop O’Hara and Bishop Hannan.

QUOTABLE: “Tuesday was one of our poorer practices this season, but Wednesday we had an outstanding practice both attitude wise and effort wise.” - Marian Coach Paul Brutto.

GIRLS CLASS 3A

PIAA playoffs - Opening round

District 11, No. 2 Palmerton (11-13)

vs. District 4, No. 2 Warrior Run (18-8)

TIP OFF - Friday at Williamsport High School, 5 p.m.

COACHES - Palmerton - Dan Beck; Warrior Run - Jason McCormick

HIGH SCORERS - Palmerton - Brianna Moore (14.29 ppg.), Kayla Cincilla (9.64), Baylee Guedes (8.54), Raegan Nemeth (5.75), Casi Papay (5.00); Warrior Run - Taylor Coup (Sr., F), Sydney Hoffman (So., G), Emily McKee (Fr. G), Avery Bieber (Sr., G), Lauren Watson (Jr., G).

GAME NOTES ... Winner of this game moves on to play the winner of District 12 champion, Neumann-Goretti (18-8) and District 3’s fourth place team, Susquenita (21-4) ...Palmerton enters into PIAA play for the first time since the 1996-97 season, when the Bombers rode an undefeated season all the way to the state semifinals...Warrior Run enters into inter-district play after coming up short in its district final to Loyalsock Township, 58-31...The Bombers went 10-12 in the regular season and earned the No. 3 seed in districts. They beat No. 2 seed North Schuylkill in the semifinal...In the district final, Notre Dame of Green Pond pulled away from the Bombers for a 50-28 decision ... The Defenders had winning streaks of five and six games this season ... The Defenders like to utilize their solid team defense to jump-start their offense. They pressure the ball and look to run...A guard-oriented team, Hoffman seems to be their main scoring threat, said Palmerton coach Dan Beck, “(Hoffman) can score from anywhere. She will drive and kick. She can shoot the three and has a very nice pull-up jumper.” Warrior Run has size inside that could create problems. “If we can contain their inside game, limit their rebounding, and contain Hoffman, I feel we will have a good chance,” Beck said.

QUOTEABLE: “The coaches and the girls are very excited about playing extra games. Honestly, I don’t know if some of them realize that this is a great accomplishment...they just enjoy playing basketball. Hopefully this experience will make them want to do this more often.” - Palmerton head coach Dan Beck.

GIRLS CLASS 4A

PIAA playoffs - Opening round

District 11, No. 2 Jim Thorpe (26-1)

vs. District 12, No. 3 Lansdale Catholic (15-10)

TIP-OFF – Saturday at Martz Hall, 5 p.m.

COACHES – Jim Thorpe: Rob Kovac; Lansdale Catholic: Eric Gidney.

LEADING SCORERS – Jim Thorpe: Skyler Searfoss (18.96 ppg), Leila Hurley (12.15), Olivia Smelas (11.70), Natalia Richards (5.59); Lansdale Catholic: Timaya Lewis-Eutsey (15.7), Emily Smith (15.3), Riley Devitis (12.9), Maile Erwin (10.1).

GAME NOTES ... The winner will face the winner of Bishop McDevitt (District 3, Seed 2, 21-4) vs. Lower Moreland (District 1, Seed 2, 18-7) … Lansdale Catholic knocked off Overbrook 72-36 in the District 12 consolation game … The Crusaders lost to Bishop McDevitt 53-37 in the District 12 semifinals … Lansdale Catholic’s Lewis-Eutsey and Devitis were All-Catholic League First Team selections. Lewis Eutsey averages 8.3 rebounds, 5.1 steals and 3.0. Devitis averages 5.0 rebounds per game … The Crusaders’ Caitlin Rosenberger is a threat under the basket. The 6-0 center averages seven rebounds per game and four blocks … Kovac has notes on several Crusader players, including Lewis-Eutsey. “She’s a really unique player,” Kovac said. “She can take the ball to the basket really well. We’re going to need to try and take the ball out of her dominant hand and try to turn her into a jump shooter” … The Crusaders head coach is Eric Gidney coached at Lehighton 2013-2017 … Kovac is ready to rekindle that friendly “rivalry” Saturday night, “It’s a small world. We go back when we get a chance. At Lehighton, he always did a good job, and he’s doing a real good job (with Lansdale Catholic).” … That respect is mutual. “I have known Rob Kovac for all of our competitive years,” Gidney said. “I know his team is going to be ready to play like they always are. Those youngsters, they’re composed. They maybe freshmen in terms of how they are looked at academically, but athletically, they’re not.”

QUOTABLE: “We’re entering the best-of-one state tournament right now. We tried to emphasize that to the kids, that everything is a best of one right now. If you don’t play well, it’s over. We’re aware of them playing in the Philadelphia Catholic League. Those kids have seen everything a basketball team can throw at them. So, they’re certainly not going to be in shock of us on Saturday. And, we’re aware of that,” – Jim Thorpe head coach Rob Kovac.

GIRLS CLASS 4A

PIAA playoffs - Opening round

District 11, No. 3 Tamaqua (21-5)

vs. District 4, No. 2 Danville (21-5)

TIPOFF - Saturday at Shikellamy High School, 4 p.m.

COACHES – Tamaqua: Erika Davis; Danville: Steve Moser

LEADING SCORERS – Tamaqua: Emma Kucznyski (21 ppg), Emily Titus (9.1), Jamie Zuber (6.3).

GAME NOTES ... The winner will move on to face either Gwenedd Mercy Adademy (District 1 champ, 15-10 overall) or Overbrook (District 12 fourth place, 13-9) in the next round ... Tamaqua comes into the game as the District 11 No. 3 team after defeating Northwestern in in the district consolation game. Emma Kuczynski had 32 points for the Blue Raiders in that contest, including the final 10 as the Raiders rallied for a 52-47 win. Danville enters the stat tournament as the District 4 No. 2 team after falling to fell to Mifflinburg in the District 4 championship game. Danville has two seniors on its squad in Clara Coombe and Erin Cope.... Danville lost the District 4 title game 47-40 to Mifflinburg. Clara Coombe scored 18 for the Ironmen, while teammate Linae Williams added 16 points.

BOYS CLASS 3A

PIAA playoffs - Opening round

District 11, No. 2 Palmerton (12-12)

vs. District 4, No. 1 Loyalsock Township (26-1)

TIP OFF - Saturday at Williamsport High School, 7 p.m.

COACHES - Palmerton - Ken Termini; Loyalsock Township - Ronald Insinger

HIGH SCORERS - Palmerton - Nate Dougherty (19.88 ppg.), Justin Hosier (18.00), Kody Kratzer (11.54), Owen Buck (3.46), Seth Young (2.67), Zach Silfies (2.50); Loyalsock Township - Aiden Gair (6-3, Jr. G), Bam Brima (6-5, Sr. C), Anthony Pastore (5-10, Sr. PG).

GAME NOTES ... Winner of this game moves on to play the winner of District 3‘s number two seed Camp Hill (19-6) and District 12‘s number three finisher Bishop McDevitt (18-7) ... Palmerton is participating in the state tournament for the first time since the 1999-00 season...The Blue Bombers qualified for the District 1/11 subregional tournament as the No. 4 seed, and beat top-seeded Notre Dame (Green Pond) in the semifinals, 64-61...That win gave the Blue Bombers their first District 11 title since 1989 ... New Hope-Solebury beat Palmerton in the subregional title game 61-46 ... Loyalsock Township’s only loss was back on Jan. 2 at Danville ... Last year, Lancers coach Ron Insinger was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He has coached the Lancers for 43 years, made it to the state finals in 1993 and has guided his team to 19 District 4 championships ...The Lancers are coming off a 70-36 district championship win over Wellsboro...With plenty of height and athletic ability at most positions, the Lancers look to press and run the fast break. They can also hit from the outside... “Gair is a catch-and-shoot three-point specialist, and can drive, too, but loves to shoot the three,” said Termini. “We will need to find him quickly in transition. Brima is a great athlete, who thrives inside, so we’ll need to keep him off the offensive glass.” The Bombers had a goal to “play in around 25 games” this season, according to Termini. With the regular season totaling 22, they hoped to be participating in some meaningful games in the postseason ... ”Saturday will be game number 25,” Termini said. “The kids are excited to play against some of the best teams in the state, and it’s a great opportunity.”

QUOTEABLE: “We’re hoping that the extra month-plus in the gym, and the experience the guys are gaining in these big games, should help us next year and beyond. But as for Saturday, we have one goal: win. We are representing District 11, the Colonial League, and most importantly, the people of Palmerton...so we want to play well.” - Palmerton head coach, Ken Termini.

BOYS CLASS 4A

PIAA playoffs - Opening round

District 11, No. 4 Northwestern (13-12) vs. District 3, No. 2 Lancaster Catholic (16-10)

TIP-OFF – Friday at Conestoga Valley High School, 7:30 p.m.

COACHES – Northwestern: Billy Hallman; Lancaster Catholic: Joe Klazas (Lancaster/Lebanon League Section Four Coach of the Year).

LEADING SCORERS – Northwestern: Devin Thomas (14.16 ppg), Samuel Yadush (13.88), Deven Bollinger (9.79), Sean McCann (5.84), Samuel Seyfried (5.15); Lancaster Catholic: Johnny Besecker (11.91 ppg), Dwayne Caine (11.38), David Kamwanga (11.08), Devon Athkinson (5.27).

GAME NOTES ... The winner will move on to face Allentown Central Catholic (District 11, Seed 2, 17-9) or Arch Bishop Carroll (District 12, Seed 3, 15-10) … Hallman and his coaching staff got a look at the Crusaders at the District 3 Class 4A championship game. Lancaster Catholic dropped a 53-48 setback to Bishop McDevitt. “Got a lot of length, a couple of big guys inside and a couple of guys that can shoot it,” Hallman said.” ... Kamwanga stands the tallest for the Crusaders’ at 6-6. Caine is an inch shorter, while Baker evens out at 6-0. Besecker and Devon Atkinson are both 5-11 … Hallman believes the Tigers can match their length with the Crusaders’ length, with Deven Bollinger (6-5), Devin Thomas (6-3) and Conner Snyder (6-2) … The Crusaders’ Caine was a unanimous First Team selection in the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Four, while Besecker added First Team honors too. Kamwanga was a Second-Team selection … Joe Klazas, the Crusaders’ head coach, was named Coach of the Year for Section Four of the L-L League … The Crusaders like to go nine or 10 deep off the bench. Hallman said his team’s bench will be there ready to take its turn. “We have played nine, or 10, deep most of the season. So, I don’t think that’s going to be a factor. Fatigue isn’t going to be a problem at all” … Northwestern is looking to earn its first state playoff game victory since 1991, when the Tigers knocked off Upper Dauphin 57-47 in the first round.

QUOTABLE: “We’re excited we’re in the state tournament. If you’re not excited to go and play in a State basketball game, we’re in trouble. We got back to work. Had the weekend off, so we could refresh mentally and physically. And, we had a good practice all week and the guys are excited. We’re looking forward to Friday,” - Northwestern head coach Billy Hallman.

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