This week, a thinning of the herd occurred in the high school basketball world.
When the PIAA tournaments began Friday, 10 area teams were playing. By Saturday night, that number was cut in half.
But we’re going to wait to dive into the hardwood action. This weekend, the PIAA hosted its wrestling championships at Hershey’s Giant Center and two District 3 wrestlers won their third state titles. Both are only juniors.
1. Kennard-Dale’s Chance Marsteller once again made Hershey’s Giant Center his own personal playground for 72 hours.
The undefeated junior made short work of his competition on the way to a third PIAA Class AAA gold medal. And that included a 17-5 win vs. Central Dauphin’s returning state champion, Garrett Peppelman. Two weeks ago in the District 3/Southcentral Region tournament, Marsteller beat Peppelman in the final, 7-2.
Central York’s Dylan Chatterton (106) and Dallastown’s Rodney Sunday (126) both finished fifth while Spring Grove’s Mason Bentzel (145) and Eastern York’s Alex Cooley (195) took seventh and eighth, respectively, to round out the YAIAA Class AAA medalists.
The other wrestler to collect his third state title Saturday night was Solanco 200-pounder Thomas Haines. The junior beat Boyertown’s Jordan Wood, 7-2, in the final.
2. The YAIAA didn’t crown a champion in Class AA, but it did claim five placewinners.
Bermudian’s Tristan Sponseller lost to Brandywine Heights’ Pete Renda, 5-2, in the 170-pound final. The setback came two weeks after Renda beat Sponseller, 11-3, in the District 3-AA final.
At 132, Hanover’s Ian Brown took third after a 5-0 win vs. Lake-Lehman’s Austin Harry. At 285, Biglerville’s Trevor Stover pinned Susquenita’s Brent Sterner to take third. Bermudian’s Briton Shelton (145) and Biglerville’s Josh Asper (170) both finished fifth in their respective weight classes.
3. Saturday was not a good one for the trio of YAIAA Class AAA girls’ basketball teams that made the state field.
Two of them — Eastern York and West York — had long trips. The third, Susquehannock, played close to home but the Warriors’ game was against a team it had beaten in the District 3 playoffs.
None of them won.
Susquehannock was the closest to moving on. At one point the Warriors led Lancaster Catholic by 11. But the Crusaders kept coming and eventually won, 89-79, in double overtime.
West York met District 1 champion Villa Maria Academy for the second time this year, but without Sarah Shearer and Heather Zinn, the Bulldogs were eliminated, 52-40.
Eastern York had three players in double figures, but it was nowhere near enough to upend District 12 champion Prep Charter. The Huskies rolled to a 79-51 win at South Philadelphia High.
4. A night before the Class AAA carnage, the YAIAA had three girls’ teams advance.
The most thrilling survivor was Dover in Class AAAA. The Eagles erased a 16-point, third-quarter deficit and beat West Chester Bayard Rustin, 54-53. It was Dover’s first girls’ basketball state playoff win.
In Class AA, it was business as usual for York Catholic and Delone Catholic. Both played at Dallastown and both rolled into the second round. The Irish thumped Parkway Center City, 72-30, and the Squirettes cruised past Holy Cross, 72-48.
5. In boys’ action, William Penn overcame some rough patches to squeeze by Methacton, 67-63. The Bearcats lost standout Tavon Parker to fouls with 90 seconds left and Methacton took advantage, twice closing within two points in the closing seconds.
Despite missing 10 foul shots, the Bearcats held on and advanced to Wednesday’s second round where they’ll meet St. Joseph’s Prep at Coatesville.
The other area boys team to advance was Delone Catholic. Just like the school’s girls’ team, the boys rolled to a 63-47 win vs. Wellsboro.
6. Two area boys’ teams saw their seasons end Friday night.
Northeastern lost to District 11 champ Allentown Central Catholic, 64-51, in Class AAA and New Hope Academy bowed out vs. District 1 winner School at Church Farm, 58-44.
7. The winter sports season might be winding down, but our YAIAA Athletes of the Week polls are still going strong. Make sure to vote for your choice in each poll before they close at 5 p.m. Monday.
8. On deck for the upcoming week is the PIAA Swimming and Diving Championships at Bucknell beginning Wednesday and ending Saturday. The PIAA basketball tournaments continue with the second round Tuesday and Wednesday. The quarterfinals are set for Friday and Saturday.