10 Things to Know: PIAA Quarterfinals

THE SCHEDULE

Friday Class 5A Boys

2-1, Abington Heights (25-2) vs. 1-1, Sun Valley (21-7) at Bethlehem Freedom, 7:30

Friday Class 4A Boys

2-1, Scranton Prep (24-3) vs. 1-1, Lower Moreland (24-3) at Bethlehem Freedom, 6

Friday Class 3A Girls

2-1, Dunmore (27-0) vs. 12-1, Neumann-Goretti (20-8) at Lehighton Elementary Center, 7

Friday Class 2A Girls

2-2, Old Forge (20-6) vs. 11-1, Mahanoy Area (25-2) at Hazleton Area, 6

Saturday Class 2A Boys

2-1, Holy Cross (22-5) vs. 12-1, Constitution (21-9) at Pottsville’s Martz Hall, 2:30

Saturday Class A Girls

2-1, Susquehanna (21-6) vs. 1-1, Jenkintown (26-1) at Hazleton Area, 1

STATE RANKINGS

The Dunmore and Susquehanna girls and Holy Cross boys all play teams that are No. 1 in their classifications in media rankings.

Dunmore already beat one team that was ranked first in Class 3A. Now, the Lady Bucks go against the team that is listed first in the other set of rankings.

Neumann-Goretti is ranked first and Dunmore third by pennlive.com, out of Harrisburg. The top-five rankings done by tribhssn.triblive.com in the Pittsburgh suburbs have the teams in a different order with Dunmore second and Neumann-Goretti fourth.

The Jenkintown girls and Constitution boys are each listed first in both sets of rankings.

The Sunbury Daily Item also does boys rankings while pennlive.com ranks both boys and girls teams.

Holy Cross is ranked sixth in Class 2A boys by the Daily item and ninth by pennlive.com as it prepares to face Constitution.

Old Forge, which like Susquehanna is unranked, goes against Mahanoy Area, which is second in Class 2A, according to pennlive.com, and third, according to tribhssn.triblive.com.

Scranton Prep and Abington Heights are both the higher-ranked teams for their boys doubleheader Friday at Bethlehem Freedom.

Abington Heights is second in Class 5A, according to pennlive.com, and third, according to the Sunbury Daily Item. Sun Valley is rated ninth by both.

Scranton Prep is fifth in Class 4A in the newspaper rankings and seventh in the website rankings. Lower Moreland is 10th and ninth.

DEFENDING CHAMPS

Neumann-Goretti has the longest active streak of state girls titles with four in a row.

Jenkintown is also a defending state girls champion.

Abington Heights and Constitution are defending state boys champions.

REMATCH

Dunmore and Neumann-Goretti are very familiar with each other.

Neumann-Goretti has ended four of the last five Dunmore seasons deep in the state tournament.

The recent history between the two programs:

Year

Class

Round

Result

2018

3A

Semifinals

Neumann-Goretti 66, Dunmore 42

2016

2A

Semifinals

Neumann-Goretti 52, Dunmore 26

2015

2A

Quarterfinals

Neumann-Goretti 64, Dunmore 61

2014

2A

Semifinals

Neumann-Goretti 55, Dunmore 30

Last year’s meeting fanned the flames on the already heated statewide public vs. private (or, boundary vs. non-boundary) schools debate in Pennsylvania Intersholastic Athletic Association competition. There have been some transfer eligibility changes since, but the core issue remains.

Here is last year’s NEPABasketball.com story from Neumann-Goretti’s elimination of Dunmore: http://nepabasketball.com/2017-18/articles/18-03-20-dunmore.

REMATCH, PART TWO

The Constitution-Holy Cross boys game is also a rematch of a state semifinal from last season that the Philadelphia school won, 69-64.

Here is last year’s NEPABasketball.com game story from that meeting: http://nepabasketball.com/2017-18/articles/18-03-25-holy-cross.

Constitution and Holy Cross met four times in the last six years with the winner ultimately reaching the state final each time.

The recent history between the two programs:

Year

Class

Round

Result

Winner’s Finish

2018

2A

Semifinals

Constitution 69, Holy Cross 64

Champion

2017

2A

Second Round

Constitution 63, Holy Cross 53

Runner-up

2014

2A

Quarterfinals

Constitution 72, Holy Cross 62

Champion

2013

2A

Quarterfinals

Holy Cross 75, Constitution 61

Runner-up

MORE FAMILIARITY

Mahanoy Area knocked Old Forge out of the 2017 Class 2A tournament, 57-24, in a second-round game that was also played at Hazleton Area.

The teams have also met in non-league play in recent years with Mahanoy Area having the upperhand.

RECRUITING CLASS

Diamond Johnson, the import from Virginia that Neumann-Goretti added just in time for the playoffs last season, is now a junior point guard and Philadelphia Catholic League Most Valuable Player. She nearly doubled her scoring average with a 54-point outburst in an 88-79 victory over Imhotep Charter in the District 12 Class 3A championship game.

A second-team Virginia all-state selection as a freshman, Johnson is now ranked as one of the nation’s top point guard recruits by ESPN.

This season’s notable addition is Nia Jordan, a 6-foot forward and University of New Orleans commit, who led Friends Central in scoring and was league MVP each of the two previous seasons. In 2017, Jordan was one of 64 players from around the country invited to the USA Girls Basketball Trials for the 16-and-under national team.

CLUTCH PERFORMANCE

Vinny DeAngelo, Sun Valley’s 23-point-per game scorer, scored 26 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and played a key role defensively in Tuesday’s 61-53 second-round win over Northern York to send the team to the state quarterfinals for the first time ever.

NEW TERRITORY

The state quarterfinal will be the first in school history for the Susquehanna girls.

In the last three seasons:

  • The Susquehanna girls won their first state tournament game in school history in 2017.
  • The Susquehanna boys made their second state quarterfinal appearance ever in 2018.
  • The Susquehanna girls added their second and third state wins to make a new deepest trip into state play in 2019.

MAKING COMPARISONS

Holy Cross already defeated the District 1 champion Wednesday in Class A and both Scranton Prep and Abington Heights face the champions of the suburban Philadelphia district in the Friday night doubleheader in Bethlehem.

Scranton Prep could have the toughest draw of the three.

Lower Moreland has wins over the district’s 2A champion Delaware County Christian (62-40) and 5A champion Sun Valley (66-52).

 

PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS: For Friday games. http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/PlayoffPredictions031519.