Roundup: YAIAA teams go 5-for-5 ... Again
This is quickly becoming a banner tournament for York-Adams league teams. Five YAIAA boys' and girls' basketball teams played in second-round state playoff games Tuesday. And like last Friday, all five won.
I was up at Reading High's Geigle Complex, where an energetic crowd -- which included Temple coach Fran Dunphy and St. Joseph's assistant David Duda -- watched the Eastern York boys take down Dobbins, 78-47, in a Class AAA game. Andrew Nicholas had 33 points for Eastern, but his junior teammate Austin Tillotson might have been even more impressive. The Golden Knights point guard had 21 points and 9 assists, and it's no wonder several mid-major schools, including Cornell, Temple's opponent in the NCAA Tournament, have at least expressed interest in Tillotson. There are so few players in the state that can match up with the speedy guard, and afterward Tillotson said he feels like he's "quicker than anybody who plays me."
"We felt like he had a real advantage against whoever they were going to put on him," Eastern coach Larry Fisher said. "We felt like he could break his man off the dribble. We felt like if they did come up and pressure him, and could dribble and make plays."
Defense also continues to be a strength for Eastern, although sometimes with their scoring you can forget to notice it. The Golden Knights did an excellent job on Dobbins' 6-foot-9 center Jerrell Wright, who was held to 12 points and nine rebounds. The junior came into the game averaging more than 20 points.
After the game Dunphy stopped by the Eastern locker room to congratulate the team and wish them well. The Temple coach recruited Nicholas before the 6-foot-6 wing committed to Rutgers, and knows Tillotson from a few summer camps. In other words, the visit wasn't entirely out of the blue. Still, Fisher said seeing Dunphy was something of a thrill for a few of the Golden Knights players.
DeSales coaches were also on hand to check out Nathan Bollinger. The senior guard had mentioned to me in the past DeSales as a possible destination for him.
Here's a roundup of the other four victorious YAIAA teams:
-- Perhaps the most impressive victory of the night came courtesy of York Suburban, which toppled District 3 runners up Lancaster Catholic, 70-55, at Central Dauphin East. Senior forward Thomas McInerney was outstanding, per Frank Bodani's game story, scoring 19 points and snatching 19 rebounds. Next up for Suburban, a tough matchup with Chartiers Valley, the District 7 champions and perhaps the favorites in the western half of the bracket. Still, the Trojans seem to be playing their best basketball of the season right now. To count them out would be foolish.
-- The Red Lion girls continued their nice state run with a 37-33 win against Council Rock South. What can you say about this Lions team? There is a lot to admire. This is a team without stars and without egos, that has assumed the personality of their coach, Don Dimoff. Red Lion's hellish defense gives it a chance in any game, and there's no reason to think the Lions can't be competitive Friday when they play District 1 champions Abington.
-- York Catholic continued its almost mind-numbing playoff dominance, cruising by Springfield Montco, 52-26 at Coatesville High School. The Irish are almost mechanical in their dominance of the rest of the Class AA girls field. York Catholic has perhaps the best player at that level in the state, Kady Schrann, a more-than-capable senior leader in Brittany Hicks, and a slew of other players who blend in nicely. I'm not a betting man, but the odds look good for a championship-game rematch with Villa Maria.
-- Of course, the Delone Catholic girls might have something to say about that last point. The Squirettes squeaked by District 11 champions Tamaqua, 44-43, on the strength of two Sierra Moore field goals in the final 33.6 seconds. Delone Catholic will get a rematch with Lancaster Mennonite, which beat Delone in the District 3 semis, Friday in a state quarterfinal matchup. The winner will play whoever emerges from York Catholic's contest with Dunmore.
So five down, two more to go. The William Penn boys and West York girls will both be in action Wednesday night. I'll be back at Reading High tomorrow to see the Bearcats play District 11 champions Liberty at 7:30 p.m. (We should have Twitter updates throughout that game on our GameTimePA account.) The Bulldogs, meanwhile, will play District 6 champion Forest Hills at Chambersburg High School at 7 p.m.
Can the YAIAA make it 7-for-7? We shall see.