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PIAA Playoff Preview: Local Second-Round Highlights (March 11)

03/10/2022, 10:30am EST
By Josh Verlin & Andrew Robinson

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin) &
Andrew Robinson (@ADrobinson3)

The PIAA fields are cut in half, Tuesday night’s opening round the first hurdle in a five-game trek towards hoisting a trophy on the GIANT Center floor in Hershey a couple weeks from now. 

The girls’ 2A, 3A and 6A brackets and the boys’ 1A, 4A and 5A tournaments continue on Friday night, with 22 programs from District 1 and District 12 in action — down from the 42 local squads that were alive in the first round. For a few programs who had easier games in the opening round, Friday will represent a significant step forward; for others, it’s yet another tough opponent, and for some a familiar face.

Here’s a look at some of the key notes ahead of Friday night, with the full schedule for local teams down below. Complete brackets can be found here on the PIAA’s website.

Tripleheader action at Coatesville

There’s only one spot in the eastern half of the state on Friday night where you can pop down and watch three straight games, and that’s at Coatesville Area High School: West Philadelphia vs. Trinity in a boys’ 4A game, Imhotep vs. Trinity in a girls’ 3A game and Radnor vs. Imhotep in a boys’ 5A game.

Jackson Hicke (above) had 38 points in Radnor's first-round win over Susquehannhock. (Photo: Gavin Bethell/CoBL)

The nightcap is certainly the most interesting from a local perspective, as the District 1 runner-ups, Radnor (22-3) face the District 12 champs (24-4), who are going for their eighth state championship under Andre Noble, who’s been the program’s only head coach in its 20-year run. The Raptors, under Jamie Chadwin, defeated District 3’s Susquehannock at home on Tuesday, with Jackson Hicke pouring in 38 points as he continued his breakout junior season; Hicke, Charlie Thornton, Cooper Mueller and Danny Rosenblum form a strong 2023 quartet.

However, that group isn’t quite the level of Imhotep’s 2023s, Justin Edwards and Rahmir Barno, both future Division I ballplayers. The 6-7 Edwards is one of the top prospects in the country at any level, while Barno is a terrific complement at point guard, with sophomore Ahmad Nowell a strong scoring threat and another D-I offeree; up front, 6-8 sophomore MaKye Taylor has had a breakout season, and 6-8 senior Chad Anglin gives them another rim protector. The Panthers are chasing their first state title since 2019, and while Radnor had a great year, this is likely the end of the line.

Another program that’s no stranger to deep tournament runs is Trinity, as the Shamrocks’ boys and girls have both made PIAA championship game appearances in the last five years; the girls (19-7) are coming off a District 3 championship, while the boys (19-6), who beat Collegium Charter in the first round, were the District 3’s third seed; senior guard Julian Gabbidon (17.5 ppg) is one to watch. But the West Philadelphia boys just knocked off defending state champs Allentown Central Catholic in the opening round behind 20 points from Deyishon Miller and 17 from Nasir Washington, while the Imhotep girls won the Public League championship and beat Executive Education 51-45 in the opening round.

What it all should add up to is one fun night of hoops. — JV


O’Hara doubleheader features Chester-Ryan rematch 

The only doubleheader of the evening with four local programs will take place at Cardinal O’Hara, which plays host to two PIAA Class 5A second-round matchups, both of which are District 12 vs. District 1 matchups: Mastery North vs. Marple Newtown and Chester vs. Archbishop Ryan.

Mastery North (14-5) in the second round after knocking off another District 1 team, Bishop Shanahan, 51-48 in the opening round Tuesday night. Head coach Terrence ‘Nip’ Cook’s Pumas got balanced scoring with four players between eight and 12 points, led by seniors Tracey Knight and Paris Boyette. Marple (17-10), which made it to the PIAA tournament for the first time in nearly three decades, won its first-ever PIAA game with a 53-43 win over Pottsville, getting 13 points from Owen Mathes and 12 from sophomore PJ Esposito, one of a couple intriguing underclassmen on the Tigers. One of these programs will end up in the state quarterfinals, though likely they’ll have to face favorites Imhotep Charter next Tuesday as heavy underdogs.

Thomas Sorber (above) has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in his first year at Archbishop Ryan. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

That sets the table for an 8 PM rematch of a 2021 PIAA semifinal between Archbishop Ryan and Chester, though both teams have a significantly different look from a year ago — graduated are Ryan’s Aaron Lemon-Warren, Christian Tomasco and Dom Vasquez, as are Chester’s Karell Watkins, Fareed Burton and more. But both are still plenty dangerous: the Clippers won the District 1 5A championship yet again, while the Raiders made it to the Catholic League championship game, taking Neumann-Goretti to the wire in a close loss.

Chester’s Keith Taylor and Ryan’s Joe Zeglinski both have their most talented players in their sophomore class, though their seniors are critical pieces as well. Ryan leans on 6-9 sophomore Thomas Sorber, who holds offers from Drexel and La Salle, among others, plus 6-2 guard Darren Williams and 6-6 wing forward Jaden Murray, though seniors Luke Boyd and Jalen Snead are the leaders. Chester has 6-5 Larenzo Jerkins, 6-4 Kevin Rucker and 5-11 Kyree Womack leading its sophomore class, but Qadir Lowrie and Isaiah Freeman provide the necessary senior guidance.

Chester will need to find a way to slow down Sorber and make its outside shots, like it did in the District 1 5A championship against Ryan; if Ryan can keep feeding Sorber and handle Chester’s pressure defense, the Raiders should be in good shape to advance. — JV

Methacton, Perk Valley girls meet for the third time

Most of the games in the second round of the state tournament are between two different districts, but Methacton and Perk Valley not only get a district opponent, they get a divisional opponent., meeting each other at Spring-Ford at 7:30 PM on Friday The Warriors and Vikings have already matched up twice this year, a 56-39 Methacton win at Perk Valley on Jan. 15 and a 41-38 PV win at Methacton on Feb. 3; Methacton’s loss to Spring-Ford in the Pioneer Athletic Conference semifinals cost them a chance at a fourth meeting in the PAC championship.

Nicole Timko (above) and Methacton will be playing Perkiomen Valley for the third time this season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Methacton (23-3) is in the second round of the 6A tournament after beating District 2 champs Wilkes-Barre 56-44 in the opening round. The No. 3 seed in District 1 6A during the regular season, the Warriors suffered a surprising second-round loss to Garnet Valley in the district playoffs, but with Christopher Newport commit Nicole Timko, forward Mairi Smith and point guard Cassidy Kropp leading the way, they’re good enough to win multiple more games at the state tournament. 

But the Vikings (19-9), while young, have what it takes to get to the quarterfinals as well. Perk Valley got the No. 6 seed out of District, then smashed District 12 runner-up Central 62-24 in the opening round of states. John Russo’s freshman trio of Grace Miley, Julia Smith and Quinn Boettinger all start alongside seniors Jennifer Beattie and Emma Miley, and they’ll need to play a few years older than their ages to hang with the experience of Methacton. — JV


Abington, Carroll girls with tough draws at Governor Mifflin

After his team beat Perk Valley to secure the fifth seed out of District 1, Abington coach Dan Marsh noted the second round would be a formidable test.

It’s a statement proven true as the Ghosts join Archbishop Carroll for a trip to the midstate for matchups against two of the strongest programs out of the expansive District 3. Carroll matches up with a Cedar Cliff side fresh off a solid victory over Haverford while Abington will have to deal with the District 3 champion in Central Dauphin, which put together a commanding win over Upper Dublin on Tuesday.

Abril Bowser (above) and Abington have a much tougher second-round game. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Cedar Cliff has rolled all season - the Colts’ lone loss came against the Rams on a miracle half-court shot in the District 3 semifinals - and now faces a test in a Patriots squad that’s been extremely stout defensively all season. Priority No. 1 for Carroll will be keeping CC’s standout freshman Olivia Jones in check. The 5-foot-10 win had a game-high 13 against a strong Fords defense and figures to face a lot of matchups against Carroll’s top defenders Brooke Wilson and Meg Sheridan.

The Colts don’t give up much either, averaging a shade less than 26 ppg allowed for the season. That defense will be tested against a composed Carroll offense led by Drexel-bound senior Grace O’Neill while Brooke and Taylor Wilson were both All-PCL performers and senior Maggie Grant will space the floor with her three-point shooting, which was a key factor in Tuesday’s opening-round win over Neshaminy.

It will definitely be a change-of-pace for Central Dauphin going from Upper Dublin’s more structured half-court defense to the chaotic energy of Abington’s full-court pressing style. The Rams burned the Cardinals early with some perimeter shooting led by Megan Caviloi’s game-high 17 points. Where CD can really shine is in the paint,where the Rams are led by senior Caroline Shiery, a Liberty-bound senior who was named the Mid-Penn Commonwealth’s Player of the Year and is one of the best players not only in the midstate, but all of Pennsylvania.

If the Rams want to handle the pressure, they’ll need a strong effort from senior point guard and first team All Mid-Penn selection Marlie Dickerson.

Abington does have a little familiarity with the venue, having won at Governor Mifflin on Jan. 15. Regardless, the Ghosts will need their defense to be disruptive up top and likely a big scoring night from Cire Worley if they want to see their season continue. If CD can get the game slowed down, Abington’s Jaida Helm will probably draw the assignment on Shiery in the post, an area the Ghosts junior has filled well this season as the team’s best rebounder. — AR


Friday night complete games (District 1 + 12)

Boys’ 1A Second Round
Faith Christian vs. St. John Neumann (Minersville, 6 PM)

Boys’ 4A Second Round
Archbishop Carroll vs. Athens Area (Shamokin Area, 6 PM)

Girls’ 2A Second Round
Sacred Heart vs. South Williamsport (Leighton HS, 7 PM)

Girls’ 6A Second Round
Parkland vs. Pennsbury (Pottstown, 7 PM)
Spring-Ford vs. Central York (Garden Spot, 7:30 PM)
PIAA Doubleheaders
At Governor Mifflin Int.
Girls 6A: Archbishop Carroll vs. Cedar Cliff (6 PM)
Girls 6A: Abington vs. Central Dauphin (7:30 PM)

At Spring-Ford
Girls 6A: Plymouth Whitemarsh vs. Northampton (6 PM)
Girls 6A: Methacton vs. Perkiomen Valley (7:30 PM)

At Coatesville
Boys 4A: West Philadelphia vs. Trinity (5 PM)
Girls 3A: Imhotep vs. Trinity (6:30 PM)
Boys 5A: Radnor vs. Imhotep (8 PM)

At Cardinal O’Hara
Boys 5A: Marple Newtown vs. Mastery North (6 PM)
Boys 5A: Chester vs. Archbishop Ryan (8 PM)

At Easton Area MS
Girls 3A: Conwell-Egan vs. Western Wayne (6 PM)
Boys 4A: Cardinal O’Hara vs. Dallas (7:30 PM)

At Freedom HS
Girls 3A: Neumann-Goretti vs. Bloomsburg (6 PM)
Boys 4A: Neumann-Goretti vs. Scranton Prep (7:30 PM)

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