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DISTRICT 2 BASKETBALL: Girls Playoff Capsules

February 20, 2018 GMT

CLASS 6A

 

■ DATES: Saturday, semifinals; March 2, 6 p.m. final at Mohegan Sun Arena

■ ADVANCE TO STATES: 1

■ TOP SEEDS: 1-Scranton, 2-Hazleton Area, 3-Williamsport (District 4), 4-Delaware Valley.

■ PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Maddie Mrochko, Hazleton Area 15.8

Shelby Funchess, Scranton 13.8

Colette Mulderig, Scranton 13.2

Jada Whaley, Williamsport 10.0

Faith Grula, Hazleton Area 9.1

Shelly Floyd, Williamsport 7.9

Sophia Glogowski, Scranton 7.5

Virginia Yurchak, Hazleton Area 7.2

Samiyah Little, Williamsport 6.8

Meaghan Burns, Delaware Valley 5.0

 

DIFFERENCE MAKER: Scranton’s Sophia Glogowski. As her play at point guard has matured, she looks more comfortable shooting 3s, which as allowed Scranton interior attack of 6-footers Shelby Funchess, Kristy Hart and Colette Mulderig to be more and more dominant as defenses need to attend to Glogowski and Erin Barrett at the arc.

FAVORITE: Scranton. The Lady Knights had some tough losses in the second half of the season, but still should be able to repeat — if they can handle Hazleton’s pressure.

SLEEPER TEAM: Hazleton. The Lady Cougars ended the season on a four-game slide but look like the only squad in the four-team bracket that can challenge Scranton. And Mrochko can shoot it, evidenced by her 59 3s.

THE BUZZ: It’s going to be hard to match up with Scranton’s front line, which is formidable, to say the least.

BOTTOM LINE: Scranton drubbed Hazleton in last year’s final, 56-25, but that was in large part due to Ciaira Loyd beating the press single-handedly off the dribble. This year’s team can’t rely on one person to do that, and so far, have been very successful riding a formula of sharing the ball.

 

CLASS 5A

 

■ DATES: Wednesday, quarterfinals; Saturday, semifinals; March 3, 6 p.m. final at Mohegan Sun Arena

■ ADVANCE TO STATES: 2

■ TOP SEEDS: 1-Abington Heights, 2-Crestwood, 3-Wallenpaupack, 4-Pittston Area.

■ PLAYERS TO WATCH:

 

Alexa Noone, Pittston Area 19.5

Julia Makowski, Crestwood 18.3

Leah Hodick, Pittston Area 15.0

Megan Guerrieri, Wallenpaupack 13.9

Hannah Kowalski, Abington Hts. 13.1

Toni Amato, Wyo. Val. West 12.7

Sara Hopkins, Crestwood 12.1

Nya Johnson, West Scranton 11.8

Tatum Repshis, West Scranton 11.7

Cassie Ksiazek, Abington Hts. 11.1

Hannah Smith, Wallenpaupack 11.0

 

DIFFERENCE MAKER: Crestwood’s Julia Makowski is a 1,000-point scorer who has carried her Lady Comets to the Wyoming Valley Conference Division I title.

FAVORITE: Tough call with so much balance, but Abington Heights is the defending champ, has won four straight, three by a combined 12 points, and is playing with confidence.

SLEEPER TEAM: West Scranton. The Lady Invaders could be one and done with a tough draw that starts with red-hot Pittston Area, winners of six of seven, in a 4 vs. 5 quarterfinal, but the Lady Invaders have shooters and athletes who can get the ball off the glass. If they can withstand Alexa Noone’s 3-point barrage.

THE BUZZ: It wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see any of the top-six seeds playing in the championship game. It may be the deepest pool of team talent in the tournament.

BOTTOM LINE: Does anybody else want to see the Lady Comets play the Lady Comets in the final? An announcer’s nightmare, but Abington Heights and Crestwood would be one heckuva final featuring two of the best players in Makowski and Kowalski.

 

CLASS 4A

■ DATES: Tuesday, quarterfinals; Friday, semifinals; March 1, 6 p.m. final at Mohegan Sun Arena

■ ADVANCE TO STATES: 3

■ TOP SEEDS: 1-Scranton Prep, 2-Nanticoke, 3-Wyoming Area, 4-Berwick.

■ PLAYERS TO WATCH:

 

Reese Mensinger, Berwick 19.0

Sarah Holweg, Wyoming Area 16.0

Rachael Rose, Scranton Prep 15.6

Lisa Radziak, Nanticoke Area 14.0

Savannah Purdy, Lake-Lehman 13.5

Madison Borum, Lake-Lehman 12.3

Alyssa Lewis, Nanticoke Area 12.0

Abby Ritz, Tunkhannock 11.9

Kathleen Rose, Scranton Prep 8.9

Mia Rudalavage, Valley View 7.1

 

DIFFERENCE MAKER: Scranton Prep freshman Rachael Rose has a motor that seems to run on solar power. The rising star’s baseline-to-baseline hustle helps Rose get easy baskets for herself and her teammates. A quick release forces opponents to guard her closely, at the risk of being beaten off the bounce.

FAVORITE: Scranton Prep. The Classics haven’t lost since late December and ran the table in Lackawanna Division I. But Nanticoke, Wyoming Area and Berwick all have big-game credentials, and it won’t be an easy path.

SLEEPER TEAM: Would the real Wyoming Area team please stand up? The Lady Warriors started 11-0, lost five straight — including a 48-point pounding by Berwick — before beating a 19-win Nanticoke team.

THE BUZZ: While Prep has rattled off 15 straight wins, Nanticoke, Wyoming Area and Berwick have been enigmas at times, Berwick has won 5 of 6 after its own 65-24 shellacking by Hazleton. Nanticoke had the WVC Division II title in its grasp before losing to Wyoming Area, then Holy Redeemer in the title game. And Wyoming Area is a different team since solid rebounder Addison Orzel returned after a back injury.

BOTTOM LINE: Berwick played in the district final last year, but Prep is a huge hurdle on its side of the bracket. And Nanticoke figures to be somewhat motivated for another crack at Wyoming Area. Expect the top seeds to advance to the final.

 

CLASS 3A

 

■ DATES: Wednesday, quarterfinals; Saturday, semifinals; March 3, noon final at Mohegan Sun Arena

■ ADVANCE TO STATES: 3

■ TOP SEEDS: 1-Dunmore, 2-Holy Redeemer, 3-Holy Cross, 4-Mid Valley.

■ PLAYERS TO WATCH:

 

Victoria Toomey, Dunmore 16.3

Lexi Walsh, Holy Cross 15.6

Emily Morano, Mid Valley 14.8

Sam Yencho, Holy Redeemer 14.4

Julia Antoniacci, Riverside 13.9

Julie Andrejko, Holy Cross 13.4

Kayla Rose, Riverside 12.0

Kelly Quinn, Dunmore 11.0

Kiana Williams, Mid Valley 9.8

Annalise Ely, Montrose 9.0

Harper Andre, Montrose 9.0

 

DIFFERENCE MAKER: Dunmore’s Victoria Toomey can dominate the game at both ends of the floor with the ability to score 20-plus points or to block and alter shots at the defensive end. But this is a tournament where five teams have a player capable of dominating a game.

FAVORITE: Dunmore beat Holy Redeemer, 59-53, and Redeemer beat Holy Cross, 56-52, both in December. That’s how close the three teams are.

SLEEPER TEAM: The winner of the Riverside-Mid Valley game will likely take on Dunmore in the semifinals, and if Julia Antoniacci is back at 100 percent, Riverside could be dangerous, in spite of its youth.

THE BUZZ: Dunmore has 22 wins and Holy Redeemer won its division, but if both or neither of those teams ended up in the district final, would it be a surprise? Yes, but not shocking. And there is no way Holy Cross is upset in the quarterfinals two years in a row. Question is, are they playing well enough to knock off the defending champs in the semifinals?

BOTTOM LINE: If it plays out according to the seeds, that means a finals rematch. Redeemer dominated Dunmore in last year’s final and the Lady Bucks have been pointing toward another shot at the Lady Royals in the Arena since. Redeemer is healthy after playing a brief stretch without three starters. The big floor could allow the two teams to put on an entertaining show.

 

CLASS 2A

 

■ DATES: Tuesday, quarterfinals; Friday, semifinals; March 2, 4 p.m. final at Mohegan Sun Arena

■ ADVANCE TO STATES: 2

■ TOP SEEDS: 1-Northwest Area, 2-Old Forge, 3-Wyoming Seminary, 4-Mountain View.

■ PLAYERS TO WATCH:

 

Erika Freely, Mountain View 16.9

Brenna Babcock, Northwest 16.8

Lindsey Welsh, Old Forge 13.3

Reagan Harrison, Northwest 12.0

Alex Wesneski, Wyoming Seminary 11.9

Alexandra Nocera, Old Forge 11.5

Sydney Newhart, Mountain View 10.3

Abigail Johns, Elk Lake 7.9

Eliza Bosscher, Elk Lake 7.4

Tamara Voda, Elk Lake 7.3

DIFFERENCE MAKER: Olivia Ciullo, Old Forge. The Lady Devils already had a nice one-two scoring punch in Alexandra Nocera and Lindsey Welsh, but the freshman has contributed double figures in nine of the last 10 games.

FAVORITE: Old Forge. The Lady Devils are the defending champion and have already shown that they can be a thorn in the side to the top Lackawanna League teams in the Class 3A.

SLEEPER TEAM: Mountain View. Senior Erika Freely is the leading scorer in the field, and Sydney Newhart also is contributing double figures every night. And the Lady Eagles played Division IV champ Susquehanna to the wire last week. No reason they couldn’t duplicate Elk Lake’s run to the final from a year ago.

THE BUZZ: Northwest comes into the tournament with one of the area’s longest winning streaks — eight games — but have beaten just one District 2 team this year with a winning record, and that’s No. 3 seed Wyoming Seminary, with whom it split. And it was the No. 1 seed with a bye last year when it lost in the semis.

BOTTOM LINE: Yes, Northwest comes in hot, but Old Forge is the defending champ and has played in the Arena before. You can’t put a number on that, but it’s a clear advantage over anyone who hasn’t been there before.

 

CLASS 1A

 

■ DATES: Friday, quarterfinals; Tuesday, semifinals; March 1, 4 p.m., District 2 final at Mohegan Sun Arena; March 2, D2-11 Subregional Final

■ ADVANCE TO STATES: 2

■ TOP SEEDS: 1-Susquehanna, 2-Weatherly, 3-Salem Christian, 4-Lincoln Leadership.

■ PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Emily Zoscin, Weatherly 18.4

Taylor Huyck, Susquehanna 15.0

MacKenzie Hartman, Forest City 14.5

Bethany Maby, Susquehanna 9.5

Samantha Heenan, Nativity 8.3

Madison Clarke, Nativity 6.8

Skylar Fortuner, Forest City 6.3

Maggie Kowalewski, Forest City 6.2

DIFFERENCE MAKER:

Mackenzie Steele. Susquehanna. At 6-foot-2, Steele can dominate the game and let others take care of the scoring load, which has been the case for much of the season. She leads the team in blocked shots and rebounding, and is second in scoring.

FAVORITE: Susquehanna. It has blown teams away in the second half of the season, save the Senior Night finale. The six games prior to that, the Lady Sabers won by an average of 26 points.

SLEEPER TEAM: Forest City. Any time MacKenzie Hartman takes the floor, the Lady Foresters are a threat to win. She missed a couple games late in the season due to injury, but has bounced back to average 21 ppg since her return..

THE BUZZ: Sophomore guard Taylor Huyck is coming off a career-high 28 points against Forest City. That’s enough of an awe factor in this tournament.

BOTTOM LINE: Susquehanna won the District 2 final and lost the subregional title when it had to play a District 11 team the next day. The same scenario is possible this year, but this year’s team is prepared to meet such a challenge. And it’s hoping to go deeper than two games into the state tournament.

— MARTY MYERS