District 3 boys’ basketball tournament breakdown

Central York's Sam Saxton shoots against Northeastern's Nick Sprenkle during the boys basketball game at Central York High School Wednesday, December 18, 2013. Central beat Northeastern 65-49. Kate Penn — Daily Record/Sunday News

Central York’s Sam Saxton shoots against Northeastern’s Nick Sprenkle during the boys basketball game at Central York High School Wednesday, December 18, 2013. Central beat Northeastern 65-49. Kate Penn — Daily Record/Sunday News

A last-second shot lifted Wilson past Central York during a December holiday tournament in Hempfield. That shot proved to be the difference in the District 3 Class AAAA rankings.

The Bulldogs, out of the Berks League, are first and Central York second in the final district ratings. They will be on opposite sides of the district tournament bracket, which was released Sunday.

Central won the YAIAA Division I title and advanced to Tuesday’s league semifinals. The same can be said for West York, which won the Division II title and suffered its only loss to the Panthers. West York is second in Class AAA, which is headed by Bishop McDevitt of the Mid-Penn. YAIAA Division IV champion Hanover, which was eliminated by West York on Friday in a close YAIAA quarterfinal, earned the Class AA top seed.

Here’s a breakdown of all four classifications and tournaments:

CLASS AAAA
Top four (all play home first-round games at 7 p.m., Feb. 19)
1. Wilson (20-2, faces CD East-Lower Dauphin winner)
2. Central York (19-2, faces Lebanon-Waynesboro winner)
3. Cedar Crest (18-4, faces Manheim Twp.-Exeter Twp. winner)
4. Reading (16-6, faces Mechanicsburg-Cedar Cliff winner)
Other qualifying YAIAA teams: 8. William Penn (16-5, hosts J.P. McCaskey, 7 p.m., Feb. 19), 10. Red Lion (18-4, visits Carlisle, 7 p.m., Feb. 19).
Crystal ball says: As a district semifinalist last year, Wilson looked primed to make a run this season. The Bulldogs have done just that, but a first-round win means they will face the William Penn-McCaskey winner at Giant Center in the quarterfinals. The Bearcats and Red Tornadoe also were district semifinalists a year ago, and McCaskey coach Steve Powell had virtually no one back from that team. Yet here they are for an eight-nine matchup with William Penn. Defending champ Harrisburg is the fifth seed and has a road that begins with Hershey and could include Reading. Central’s path could include a familiar opponent in Carlisle or Red Lion, while Cedar Crest and Cumberland Valley loom in the bottom part of the Panthers’ bracket.

CLASS AAA
Top four (all play home first-round games at 7 p.m., Feb. 18, unless otherwise noted)
1. Bishop McDevitt (21-1, faces Northeastern-Wyomissing winner, 7:30 p.m., Feb. 18)
2. West York (21-1, faces Milton Hershey-East Pennsboro winner)
3. Boiling Springs (19-2, faces York Suburban)
4. Berks Catholic (19-3, faces Gettysburg)
Other qualifying YAIAA teams: 6. Bermudian Springs (20-1, hosts Lancaster Catholic, 7 p.m., Feb. 18), 14. York Suburban (16-6, visits Boiling Springs), 16. Northeastern (12-10, hosts Wyomissing, 7 p.m., Feb. 14).
Crystal ball says: Bermudian Springs dominated YAIAA Division III and IV play this season but gets a tough draw of Lancaster Catholic to open this tournament. Should the Eagles win, they will face a familiar opponent. It will either be Suburban, which they twice beat, or Boiling Springs, which gave Bermudian its only regular-season loss. Whomever emerges could get West York in a semifinal clash at Giant Center.

CLASS AA
Top four (all play home quarterfinals at 2 p.m., Feb. 22)
1. Hanover (17-5, faces Upper Dauphin-Halifax winner)
2. Columbia (14-8, faces York Catholic-Biglerville winner)
3. Camp Hill (14-8, faces Trinity)
4. Delone Catholic (14-8, faces Tulpehocken)
Other qualifying YAIAA teams: 7. York Catholic (10-11, hosts Biglerville, 7 p.m., Feb. 19), 10. Biglerville (7-14, visits York Catholic).
Crystal ball says: Top-seeded Hanover could grab momentum from its close YAIAA tournament loss to West York and ride that to Giant Center. Hanover has guard play and size, which makes a strong tournament combination. Sixth-seeded Trinity sits on the opposite end of the bracket. Despite a 7-12 record, the Shamrocks can blame an eight-game skid in the first half of the season for that. Their difficult schedule stands out, and it includes taking Class AAA top seed McDevitt to overtime before a one-point loss.

CLASS A
Top four (all play home quarterfinals at 7 p.m., Feb. 21)
1. Lebanon Catholic (14-7, faces Harrisburg Academy-Covenant Christian winner)
2. Mt. Calvary Christian (18-3, faces Antietam-Lititz Christian winner)
3. Greenwood (15-5, faces Lancaster Co. Christian-Harrisburg Christian winner)
4. New Hope Academy (11-8, faces West Shore Christian-Conestoga Christian winner)
Other qualifying area teams: None.
Crystal ball says: The Mighty Ants enter as the No. 4 seed and could travel to Northern York for a district semifinal vs. top-seeded Lebanon Catholic, should both teams get past their first opponents. If one of those two emerge, the winner should feel good about its district title chances. Lebanon Catholic and New Hope had the toughest schedules in Class A.
*Note, games conducted for league tournaments or after Friday for the regular season did not count for district seeding or qualification.

About Matt Goul

Covering high school sports in York County and loving it.
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