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PIAA GIRLS BASKETBALL: Second-round Previews

March 12, 2019

Usually games like this are seen in the state quarterfinals or beyond.

However, through the luck of the draw — and two teams playing near flawless basketball for three months — Dunmore and St. Basil Academy will square off tonight in one of the state’s most anticipated girls basketball playoff games.

The unbeaten Lady Bucks won their 26th straight Friday night, dispatching of Constitution, 62-14, while St. Basil’s also remained perfect, notching its 27th in a row, pulling away in the fourth quarter to dispose of West Catholic, 74-49.

Tip off is 6 p.m. for the PIAA Class 3A second-round game at Bethlehem Freedom High School.

It’s a rematch of a second-round meeting two years ago that left the Lady Bucks with a bad taste in their mouths, a 53-42 loss.

It’s one of four games involving Lackawanna League teams that are still alive, two of which also play tonight in Class 2A.

District 2 champ Holy Cross will try to keep adding to its best season in terms of post-season success when the Lady Crusaders take on another state power, York Catholic, at Hamburg High School at 7:30 p.m.

Old Forge will face a tall order when it meets Linden Hall, a team that beat York Catholic, 58-29, in the District 3 final, and is trying to make its bones as a state contender. Linden Hall has four players on its roster 6-foot-1 or taller.

On Wednesday, Susquehanna’s girls will get back into the fray when they take on Greenwood in a second-round Class 1A contest at Bloomsburg University’s Nelson Fieldhouse at 6 p.m.

St. Basil’s returns two starters, Casey Remolde and Deal, from the game two years ago, while Dunmore started Victoria Toomey, Gianna Delfino and Lisa Tallo in that game.

Remolde and Toomey were both second-team, all-state players in 2018, and Remolde had 14 points and two big 3-pointers in the Panthers’ win in 2017.

“We remember that game pretty well and we’re looking forward to getting another shot at them,” Dunmore coach Ben O’Brien said. “They’re very talented, very well-coached. It should be a really good game. Our players are excited about it.

“They’re very aggressive offensively and defensively. They’re aggressive attacking the basket. They’re aggressive on the boards. We’ll have to do a good job playing good, solid defense and rebounding the ball, and then playing our game on offense.”

Holy Cross and York Catholic crossed paths once, five years ago, with the Irish winning, 63-46.

Unlike that York Catholic team, this year’s squad has no stars, and only Katy Rader averaging 10 points per game.

Holy Cross is coming off its first District 2 championship and its first state playoff win in successive games. Freshman Kaci Kranson has emerged as a force, averaging 20.3 points in the team’s four postseason games.

However, the Lady Crusaders also have exhibited balance, with seniors Abby Sempa, Haley Bestrycki and Caroline Kranick contributing 35 of the team’s 53 points in a 14-point, first-round win over Marian Catholic, a team that handed Old Forge’s opponent one of its three losses.

Marian edged Linden Hall, 44-43, in January. The District 3 champs also had little trouble handling York Catholic, 58-29, in their title game.

In addition to three 6-foot-1 players in the rotation, led by Drexel recruit Hetta Saatman and low post player Jumoke Adaramove, the Lions also like to pressure teams with their guards.

Old Forge likes uptempo, and Lindsey Welsh, Olivia Ciullo and Abbey Nee are coming off solid efforts in the 55-20 first-round romp of Girard Academy for Music Performance.

Susquehanna is likely to get 6-foot-1 junior center Mackenzie Steele involved more quickly than Saturday’s 53-40 win over Millville, when Steele didn’t score in the first quarter before finishing with 23 points and nine rebounds.

While Steele dominated in the low post, several times against triple teams, Mackenzie Heath had a big game, hitting big 3s while dishing out eight assists and coming up with five steals.

The Lady Sabers got key plays from Taylor Huyck after her first-half struggles, an important 3 from Bethany Maby and a big rebounding game from McKenzie Rhone.

It added up to a 27-point swing as the Lady Sabers rallied for a second straight game from a double-figures deficit, something coach Kirk Fallon hopes to avoid this time.

Contact the writer: mmyers@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100, ext. 5437;

@mmyersTT on Twitter