Class 5A Boys
2-1, Abington Heights (26-2) vs. 12-1, Archbishop Wood (19-8) at Bethlehem Freedom, 7:30
Class 3A Girls
2-1, Dunmore (28-0) vs. 3-1, Trinity (27-2) at Pottsville’s Martz Hall, 7
Abington Heights was ranked second in Class 5A and Archbishop Wood was ranked fourth, according to the final set of rankings on Harrisburg’s pennlive.com last week.
In the Sunbury Daily Items rankings that ended with the start of state play, Abington Heights was third and Archbishop Wood fourth.
In both cases, they were the two highest-rated teams in the eastern half of the bracket.
Dunmore, ranked third by pennlive.com, has already beaten the No. 1 and No. 2 teams from the final rankings. Now the Lady Bucks the fourth-rated team as they continue to try to navigate the most difficult bracket path of any team in any of the PIAA’s 12 brackets – boys and girls Classes 6A through A.
The website tribhssn.triblive.com, from the Pittsburgh suburbs had Trinity ranked above defending state champion Neumann-Goretti as the No. 3 team in Class 3A with Dunmore ranked No. 2.
The winner between Dunmore and Trinity, will play Thursday night at 6 at the Giant Center in Hershey in the state championship game. It will face either District 3 runner-up Delone Catholic (24-4) and District 6 third-place finisher Delone Catholic (20-7).
The Abington Heights-Archbishop Wood winner plays its state final Friday at 8 at the Giant Center. It will face the winner of the District 7 championship game rematch between Mars (27-1) and Moon (26-2).
Mars, which beat Moon in the District 7 final, is the team Abington Heights defeated, 67-55, in last year’s state championship game.
The Dunmore-Trinity game is a single game at Martz Hall.
Abington Heights plays in the second game of a doubleheader at Freedom.
Sankofa Freedom Academy from Philadelphia plays Shamokin Lourdes Regional in a Class A semifinal at 6 p.m. to open the doubleheader.
The Dunmore-Trinity game will feature three future NCAA Division I post players.
Dunmore’s Victoria Toomey is headed to Rider.
Trinity, from Camp Hill, has Kassidy Ingram headed to Jacksonville and Sunshine McCrae going to North Carolina-Wilmington.
Abington Heights forward George Tinsley is committed to Binghamton University.
The Abington Heights-Archbishop Wood game matches the last two state Class 5A boys champions.
Abington Heights is 20-1 in district and state playoff games the past three seasons with the only loss coming, 68-57, to Archbishop Wood in the 2017 state semifinals in what was the only game decided by less than 25 points in Archbishop Wood’s run to the state title that year.
Trinity eliminated Dunmore from the 1993, 1997, 2007 and 2008 state tournaments.
The Shamrocks are 2-6 in state championship games. The Lady Bucks are 0-2.
Abington Heights coach Ken Bianchi became the first basketball coach to win 800 games in a career spent primarily at a District 2 school. He started his career with one season at Line Mountain.
Bianchi reached 800 with Friday’s quarterfinal victory over Sun Valley.
Abington Heights is making its fifth trip to Bethlehem Freedom in the past three seasons.
None of Dunmore’s current players have played in Pottsville. Martz Hall was once a frequent stop of District 2’s top teams before the restructuring of PIAA brackets added more games with teams from Philadelphia and the Philadelphia suburbs, placing many of those games in the Lehigh Valley.
PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS: For Monday games. http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/PlayoffPredictions031819.