Added incentive in tonight's District 3 finals
Here's one more wrinkle to add to tonight's boys' District 3-AAA championship game. The loser of tonight's matchup between Eastern York and Lancaster Catholic will be staring at a significantly tougher first-round test in the upcoming state playoffs. According to the bracket released by the PIAA, the second seed from District 3 matches up in round one with the third seed from District 12 (the metro Philadelphia area). That third seed happens by Archbishop Carroll, which was recently ranked the No. 2 Class AAA team in the state by the Patriot-News. The seeding owes to the unique set-up of the District 12 tournament. The district essentially splits the tournament into two sections -- a Public League section and a Catholic League section, with the two winners playing in the district's championship game. So even though Carroll and Neumann-Goretti are regarded as the top two AAA teams in the state by many, the two met in the Catholic League title game -- essentially the district semifinal -- instead of the district final. It's all a roundabout way of saying both the Golden Knights and Crusaders should have a little extra incentive to take care of business tonight. Not that either really needed any. Then again, Eastern York did play Carroll close when the two met in January. Carroll won, 57-46, but remember, Austin Tillotson was still mending from his wrist fracture at that point. Seeding shouldn't be too much of a concern in the girls' AA final tonight between York Catholic and Delone Catholic. Regardless of what happens, both will be good bets to meet again in the state semifinals, as they did last season. (You can find the PIAA Class AA girls' bracket here.) York Catholic could make history, by becoming just the second program to win six consecutive District 3 championships. The Lebanon Catholic girls' team won six Class AA titles from 1999-2004. The Irish beat the Squirettes twice during the regular season. But both games were decided by single digits, and both came down to the final minutes. "As we told the kids tonight, one play can make the difference," York Catholic coach Kevin Bankos said Wednesday. "One play, one layup, one foul-shot. "The games were so close. We're smart enough to know they could have went either way. And they're smart enough to know they could have went either way."