skip navigation

PIAA Preview: Local 1A-4A girls contenders

03/08/2023, 2:45pm EST
By Owen McCue

Lansdale Catholic and senior Jaida Helm, above, are one of the favorites in the PIAA Class 4A field. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)

The PIAA state playoffs begin this weekend, with more than 70 teams from the Philadelphia area still in the hunt for state trophies. All week long, CoBL’s staff will be taking a look at the teams to watch — local and not — who can compete for titles in all six boys and all six girls’ brackets. 

Here’s a preview of some local teams that could challenge in the ‘small-school’ classifications, which go from 1A up through 4A (District-Seed in parenthesis):

Class 1A

The Christian Academy (1-1)
The Crusaders are led by BAL Constitution Division Player of the Year Amber Bullard, a La Salle commit. The 6-3 forward has seen her game come a long way in the last several seasons and should be a matchup problem for most squads at the Class A level. Fellow all-league players Teah Mack, Lea Sareyka and Gabi Smith complement her out on the floor. The Crusaders, who already have their most wins since 2017-18, are hoping to add a few more before their season ends.

Class 2A

Faith Christian (1-1)
The BAL champion Lions moved up a classification after a state quarterfinal run in the Class A field last season. Faith Christian’s senior group has tallied the most career wins during a four-year stretch and has back-to-back district titles. Senior guard Bella Forker is a 1,000-point scorer committed to Merrimack. Senior guard Mikayla Hissner is a lethal shooter who has been right there with Forker in scoring this season and classmate Kendall Garber is another all-league talent who can do a lot of things on the floor. The Lions get a very winnable game against Belmont Charter in their opener before likely facing District 4 champion South Williamsport, a state quarterfinalist itself last season.


Class 3A

Imhotep Charter (12-1)
The Panthers captured their first District 12 title since 2018 last week. A new-look Imhotep group hopes to ride that momentum back to the state semifinals and beyond. Senior wing/forward Samya Stevens is one of the few on the team with experience, hoping to add another deep postseason run to her resume. Sophomore forward Anise Geiger (5-10) finished the season strong. Junior point guard Ky’janae Cooper and sophomore shooting guard Calista Gaymon are a few others who will have to grow up fast in the postseason. The Panthers seem to have a path to do that at the top of the bracket.

New Hope-Solebury (1-1)
The Lions, who dropped down from 4A before the year, have been playing bigger schools all season, including a win over Abington, and enter the state tournament on an eight-game win streak. New Hope flexed its muscle with two 20-plus-point wins in the District 1-3A tournament. Senior Reagan Chrencik makes her foray into the state tournament. Three sophomores — Ella Dudek, Izzy Elizando and co-captain Emily Wilson — and freshman point guard Gabby D’Agostino hope a run this season can set the tone for the rest of their careers. A potential meeting with District 3 power Lancaster Catholic awaits in the second round.

West Catholic (12-2)
District 12 3 seed Conwell-Egan made a run to the state quarters last season before it ran into another District 12 squad, eventual state champ Neumann-Goretti. The Burrs wouldn’t have that happen until the semifinals this season, where they would face Imhotep in a District 12 rematch if both teams make it that far. Senior guard Amina Reid leads a very, very young group that hopes it can capture some magic


Class 4A

Lansdale Catholic (12-1)
The Crusaders are the reigning Class 4A runner-up and the overwhelming favorite this season with Archbishop Wood moving up to Class 5A. It’s hard to see LC running into any trouble until Delone Catholic or Allentown Central Catholic in the quarterfinal, both of whom the Crusaders played tight state playoff games against last season. Senior guard Gabby Casey, a St. Joe’s commit was just named the Gatorade State Player of the Year, and is joined in the tight rotation by senior wing/ forward Jaida Helm, junior Olivia “Big Shot” Boccella and sophomore guards Sanyiah Littlejohn and Nadia Yemola. A two-point loss to Cardinal O’Hara is LC’s only loss this calendar year.

Neumann-Goretti (12-3)
Certainly much more of a dark horse than they were last season when they went on to win the Class 3A state title, the Saints could still be a wildcard in the tournament — a young team that showed some flashes late in the season. Star sophomore guards Carryn Easley and Amya Scott helped N-G hang with Carroll in the PCL playoffs. It would take a lot of things to go right but there’s definitely talent there to make some things happen if the matchups shape up the right way.

Audenried (12-2)
As highlighted in the District 12 title game, the Public League champs aren’t on the same level as LC. However, Audenried has some star power in sophomore guard Shayla Smith, the PPL MVP, and plenty behind her starting with junior forward Aniyah Howard and senior ZayAhni Neurell

D-I Coverage:

Small-College News:

Recruiting News:

Tag(s): Home  High School  Girls HS  Catholic League (G)  Bicentennial League (G)  Public League (G)  Lansdale Catholic  Neumann-Goretti  West Catholic  Faith Christian  The Christian Academy  Public League A  Imhotep