The state playoffs are here, and the girls basketball brackets are jam-packed with Courier/Intell teams! We have 10 teams that will begin play in the PIAA state championships on Friday. Check out the first-round matchups and predictions here, and follow along for scores and recaps after the games.
Class 5A, Saturday, March 25
12-1 Archbishop Wood vs. 7-1 South Fayette, 6 p.m. at Giant Hershey Center
Class 4A, Saturday, March 25
12-1 Lansdale Catholic vs. 7-2 Blackhawk, 12 p.m. at Giant Hershey Center
Class 5A, Tuesday, March 21
12-1 Archbishop Wood 52, 1-1 West Chester Rustin 35: The Vikings led from the start, opening with a 6-0 lead after a pair of 3-pointers from Emily Knouse, and put the game out of reach by the start of the fourth quarter, which included a 19-3 run. Ava Renninger had 17 points in the win, while Knouse, a sophomore, finished with 13 points. The Vikings will play in their third straight PIAA championship game on Saturday. After winning the PIAA Class 4A championship last season, the Vikings will play for the Class 5A title this season after moving up a class. The Vikings will face District 7 champion South Fayette in the title game on Saturday. It will be the first-ever state championship appearance for South Fayette.
Class 4A, Tuesday, March 21
12-1 Lansdale Catholic 60, 2-1 Scranton Prep 28: The Crusaders punched their ticket back to Hershey in dominating fashion, completely overwhelming a solid Scranton Prep squad. Gabby Casey led the charge with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 assists and a block. After falling to Wood in last year's championship game, the Crusaders seemed to be a team of destiny this season. After dominating the regular season, the Crusaders won the Catholic League championship, the District 12 championship, and have cruised through the PIAA Class 4A bracket unchallenged. In this year's title game, the Crusaders will face District 7's Blackhawk in Hershey on Saturday.
Class 6A, Friday, March 14
12-3 Archbishop Carroll 55, 1-9 Abington 43: A brilliant season for Abington came to a close in the PIAA 6A quarterfinals against a formidable Archbishop Carroll. While the Ghosts took an early lead, Carroll freshman single handedly put Carroll back in the game, scoring 20 points in the second half. Cire Worley led the Ghosts with 24 points. Worley, who will be playing for UMass Lowell next season, had an incredible season that included breaking the team's all-time scoring record.
Class 2A, Friday, March 14
2-1 Montrose 45, 1-1 Faith Christian 29: The Lions had a slow start in their quarterfinal game, which is something they’ve experienced all postseason. Unfortunately, this time they couldn’t pull off the comeback, with Montrose putting up 17 points in the fourth quarter. Senior Merrimack-commit Bella Forker had 7 points for the Lions, while senior Mikayla Hissner had six points. Montrose’s Mia Snyder had a game-high 21 points and also scored her 1,000th career point in the win. The game ended one of the Lions’ most successful seasons in recent history.
Class 5A, Saturday, March 15
12-1 Archbishop Wood 52, 1-3 Bishop Shanahan 39
Class 4A, Saturday, March 15
12-1 Lansdale Catholic 49, 11-1 Allentown Central Catholic 29
1-9 Abington 40, 1-8 Springfield Delco. 35: This wasn’t a typical game for the high-scoring Ghosts. But, most importantly, they found a way to win and advance to the Class 6A quarterfinals. After opening the game on a 10-0 run, the Ghosts trailed by four after the third. Cire Worley led the offense with 17 points, with nine coming in the decisive fourth quarter. Jordyn Reynolds had seven points, including a pair of free throws in the fourth quarter and a steal in the final minute. Piper McGinley had eight points and Abril Bowser had six for the Ghosts. Abington will play 12-1 Archbishop Carroll in the quarterfinals.
7-2 Upper St. Clair 42, 1-4 Pennsbury 31: The Falcons had a tough matchup on their hands against the very strong, and much bigger, WPIAL team. But, like always, the Falcons weren't going down without a fight. They went into the fourth quarter tied 24-24, with the Falcons' trademark defense clearly rattling USC. USC put together a very strong fourth to take the win. Sofia Vitucci had another impressive offensive performance, scoring a team-high 19 points, even after taking a hit that knocked her out of the game for a while. Rylee Kaocay had a game-high 25 points for USC. The young Falcons concluded a very successful season at 21-9, and will return most of their starters next season.
12-1 Archbishop Wood 42, 1-1 Villa Maria Academy 29: The Vikings jumped out to a 10-2 lead, courtesy of 8 points from Kara Meredith, and never looked back, winning comfortably against Villa Maria. Deja Evans recorded a double-double for the Vikings, who will play a District One team for the third game in a row when they face Bishop Shanahan.
11-1 Bethlehem Catholic 34, 1-4 Gwynedd Mercy 24: The Monarchs found themselves down 14 points in the first quarter against powerhouse Bethlehem Catholic. As they’ve done all season, the Monarchs battle back and cut the deficit to six late in the fourth. Unfortunately, after a three-point play by Becahi, time ran out on the Monarchs’ comeback. The game concluded the career of Hannah Griffin, who was the Monarchs’ lone senior starter. Griffin, who led the Monarchs in scoring, assists and steals this season also mentored the teams’ young players and earned AACA Co-MVP honors. Next season, the Monarchs will look to Bailey Balkir and Emilia Coleman, who had exceptional freshman campaigns. Coleman led the team in rebounds, while Balkir was second in scoring and assists.
12-1 Lansdale Catholic 79, 4-2 Jersey Shore 42: The Crusaders put on a scoring clinic in their second round game. Gabby Casey led the way with 29 points and Olivia Boccella had 15 as the Crusaders cruised into the quarterfinals, where they will play 11-1 Allentown Central Catholic.
3-1 Lancaster Catholic 64, 1-1 New Hope-Solebury 54: A remarkable season for the Lions, which included a district title, came to an end against high-scoring Lancaster Catholic. Down by 12 in the second quarter, the Lions roared back to pull within one point in the third. LC's Mary Bolesky showed why she was named league MVP, posting 19 points and 9 rebounds in the win. The game capped off an amazing career for the Lions' lone senior starter Reagan Chrencik. As she’s done all season, Chrencik stepped up against a tough opponent and delivered a 19-point performance. Emily Wilson scored 17 points and Gabby D’Agostino had 9 for the Lions. Chrencik, who scored 1,000 points as a junior, helped NHS, the smallest school in the SOL, achieve much success over the past four seasons. Next year, the Lions will turn to point guard D'Agostino, a first-team All-SOL selection this year as a freshman.
1-1 Faith Christian 35, 4-1 South Williamsport 28: Bella Forker’s huge game powered the Lions into the quarterfinals. Forker recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, along with five steals and five blocks. Mikayla Hissner had nine points in the back-and-forth game, including a crucial 3-pointer to put the Lions on top in the third quarter. FC will play District 2 champion Montrose in the quarterfinals.
Class 2A, Tuesday, March 14
1-1 Faith Christian vs. 4-1 South Williamsport, at Pottsville Martz Hall, 6 p.m: Williamsport has just one loss in its last 15 games, and is giving up only 30 points per game while scoring 48. The Lions’ defense has allowed 29 points per game while scoring 44, while playing some much bigger schools. The Lions should prevail in this one.
Class 3A, Tuesday, March 14
1-1 New Hope-Solebury vs. 3-1 Lancaster Catholic, at Liberty, 6 p.m: Led by lone senior Reagan Chrencik, the Lions have put together a remarkable season, including a district championship. High-scoring Lancaster Catholic (59 ppg) could prove to be their biggest challenge yet. The Crusaders score often from beyond the arc, led by Lancaster-Lebanon Section 3 MVP Mary Bolesky. NH-S, the smallest school in the SOL, has faced strong competition all season and have won nine straight games. With freshman PG Gabby D’Agostino playing like a veteran, and sophomore Izzy Elizondo scoring double digits most games, the Lions can pull out the win.
Class 4A, Wednesday, March 15
12-1 Lansdale Catholic vs. 4-2 Jersey Shore, at Minersville, 7 p.m: This game will feature two league MVPs facing off. Junior Peyton Dincher, Heartland Leagues’ MVP and defensive player of the year, has led Jersey Shore to a 21-7 record, scoring 21 points per game. Gabby Casey is the Catholic League MVP, averaging 21.3 points and 8 rebounds. While the Bulldogs will put up a good fight, the Crusaders firepower will prove to be overwhelming.
Class 5A, Wednesday, March 15
1-4 Gwynedd Mercy vs. 11-1 Bethlehem Catholic, at Pottstown, 6 p.m: Lone returning senior Hannah Griffin has led the Monarchs (21-7) to a remarkable season, and freshmen Bailey Balkir and Emilia Coleman have been incredible all year. Bethlehem Catholic, District 11 titlists for the 7th straight season, has put up 50 or more points in 15 games this season, but gave up an average of 43. Becahi topped Upper Moreland in the first round, the team that GM defeated in districts. The Monarchs are allowing just 31 points per game, and that could give GM the edge in this one.
12-1 Archbishop Wood vs. 1-1 Villa Maria Academy, at Bensalem, 7:30 p.m: For the second game in a row, the Vikings are matched up with a Catholic Academies team. Villa Maria (24-4) won the league title, and has played a diverse schedule. The two shared one common opponent, Archbishop Carroll, which were wins for both the Vikings and Hurricanes. They match up fairly evenly, with the Vikings scoring 53 points per game and giving up 35; the Hurricanes score 50 and allow 35 per game. This might not be the easiest game for the Vikings, but with Deja Evans dominating on defense and Kara Meredith lighting it up from beyond the arc, they should get the win.
Class 6A, Tuesday, March 14
1-9 Abington vs. 1-8 Springfield Delco, at Plymouth Whitemarsh, 7:30 p.m: This game features the eighth- and ninth-place teams from District One, but that doesn’t mean this will be a close game. Springfield (19-11) has a good defense, giving up 35 points per game, but scores just 45. The Cougars, who advanced by defeating a Public League team, lost both matchups against SOL teams this season. Abington, meanwhile, is putting up 60 points per game this season, and Cire Worley has scored 29, 30, and 35 points in the Ghosts’ last three games. The Ghosts’ offense should win out over the Cougars’ defense.
1-4 Pennsbury vs. 7-2 Upper St. Clair, at Chambersburg, 5:30 p.m: The Falcons have shown resilience all season, and thrived in an underdog role, proving all doubters wrong. They will need to go into this game with the same mentality as Upper St. Clair poses a very big challenge. The Panthers (20-3) finished second in the WPIAL league, one of the most competitive in the state, and are a high-scoring team (60-point average) but they give up 40 points per game. Their two top players, seniors Mia Brown and Kate Robbins, are over 5-foot-10, which could pose a challenge for the Falcons’ smaller defenders. The Falcons have relied on their defense this season, allowing just 31 points per game, and leading-scorer Sofia Vitucci has shown she can take over a game at any time. Lola Ibarrondo relies on her athleticism, rather than size, to disrupt opposing offenses.
(3-2) Central York 50, (1-7) Souderton 48, 2OT: The Indians season ended in a heartbreaker, as Central York hit a pair of free throws in the final seconds to take the win. Casey Harter had scored just seconds prior to tie the game for the Indians. Harter, a 1,000-point scorer and Northwestern-commit, finished with a game-high 20 points after missing the last game with an ankle injury. Brooke Fenchel and Mikayla McGillian had eight points apiece for the Indians, who finished the season 23-7. Senior reserve Alexis Stefanowicz was on the court much of the game thanks to her defense and rebounding.
(12-3) Archbishop Carroll 50, (1-5) Neshaminy 37: Neshaminy had a tough matchup against Catholic League power Carroll, the same team it lost to in the first round last season. While Neshaminy played well, led by Lola Ibarrondo’s 12 points, Carroll pulled away with a 9-2 fourth-quarter advantage. Reese Zemitis scored seven points, as did senior captain Taylor Gurysh in her final high school game. Zemitis was huge on the boards with 13 rebounds, while Gurysh had five rebounds and four assists. Neshaminy finished the season 21-8 and will return most starters next season.
(1-4) Pennsbury 23, (11-3) Nazareth 18: The Falcons are a strong defensive team, and so was their opponent in Friday’s first-round game, which had a halftime score of 8-7. The Falcons picked up the pace in the second half, and especially the fourth quarter, with freshman Emily Panero hitting a huge free throw with 9 seconds remaining, followed by Sofia Vitucci scoring to put the game away. Vitucci finished with 17 of the Falcons’ 23 points.
(1-9) Abington 69, (2-1) Wyoming Valley West 56: Cire Worley, fresh off a pair of 30-point point games, scored 29 to lead the Ghosts to a first-round win on the road. Abril Bowser added 19 points and sophomore Maya Johnson dished out nine assists and freshman Mikiaya Durham had nine points.
(12-1) Archbishop Wood 62, (1-6) Mount St. Joseph 47: Deja Evans led the way with 19 points, while Emily Knouse contributed 16 points in the Vikings’ first-round win. Kara Meredith added 9 points.
(1-4) Gwynedd Mercy 59, (12-2) Freire Charter 34: Senior Hannah Griffin scored 17 points, while freshmen Bailey Balkir (15 points) and Emilia Coleman (10 points) made big contributions as the Monarchs won big in their first-round matchup.
(11-1) Bethlehem Catholic 46, (1-5) Upper Moreland 36: The Golden Bears did something that the team hadn’t done for almost 20 years when they secured a state playoff game. While they didn’t come away with the win, the season was a fitting sendoff for seniors EmmyFaith Wood, who scored her 1,000th career point in the regular season, and Holly Gohl, who stepped up in a big way when Wood was out due to injury late in the season. Wood led the Golden Bears with 13 points, while Gohl had 8 points against tough Bethlehem Catholic. Cici Hernandez had a game-high 18 points for Becahi.
(12-1) Lansdale Catholic 61, (3-6) Bishop McDevitt 45: Jaida Helm paced the Crusaders with 16 points, while Gabby Casey and Olivia Boccella scored 15 apiece in the first-round win.
(1-1) New Hope-Solebury 54, (12-3) Masterman 24: Senior Reagan Chrencik led the charge with 21 points and sophomore Izzy Elizondo had 15 as the Lions dominated their first-round matchup against Masterman.
(1-1) Faith Christian 45, (12-3) Belmont Charter 7: The Lions dominated from start to finish against 3-8 Belmont Charter to cruise into the second round.
First-Round Matchups & Predictions:
Class 6A, Friday, March 10
* Times are 7 p.m. unless noted
1-5 Neshaminy at 12-3 Archbishop Carroll, 4:30 p.m: Neshaminy (19-6) draws a tough Catholic League opponent. Archbishop Carroll (11-12) doesn’t have an impressive record, but it does have a tough schedule with several losses to out-of-state teams. Neshaminy has an elite scorer in Reese Zemitis, an elite defender in Lola Ibarrondo, and a sophomore, Alena Cofield, who just had a career-high 20 points in the district playbacks.
Who will win? Neshaminy It’s a tough matchup, on paper, but consider that two of Carroll’s losses were to Lansdale Catholic — a team that Neshaminy beat, 52-39 in December.
1-7 Souderton at 3-2 Central York: Central York (23-4) fell to undefeated Cedar Cliff in the district championship; the Panthers have D1 commit Mackenzie Wright-Rawls, and leading scorer and Shippensburg-commit Bella Chimienti. Souderton (22-6) brings a strong core of seniors with lots of playoff experience, led by top scorer and Northwestern-commit Casey Harter, two-way player Teya McConnaha, and defensive specialist Erin Bohmueller. (Harter and Bohmueller both missed time during the playbacks due to injury.)
Who will win? Souderton...This might be the toughest first-round matchup for any of our teams, but if Souderton can limit Central York, which has put up 60-plus points in six games this season, it can win.
1-9 Abington at 2-1 Wyoming Valley West: Wyoming Valley West (16-8) won the District 2/4 championship. While the Spartans average around 50 points, their one regular season matchup against a District One opponent was a 54-23 loss to Gwynedd Mercy in December. They are also without a senior starter who was ruled ineligible due to a transfer. Abington (22-6) has scored over 60 points in 15 games this season, and Cire Worley has been hot lately, scoring 35 and 30 points in the Ghosts’ last two games.
Who will win? Abington. The Ghosts’ offense will overwhelm WVW.
1-4 Pennsbury vs. 11-3 Nazareth: Nazareth (14-12) finished third in District 11 and will have the unenviable task of playing in front of the Falcons’ home crowd. Pennsbury (20-8) has been a top defensive team all season, but during their district run, the Falcons showed that they can score, too, with several stellar performances from leading scorer Sofia Vitucci.
Who will win? Pennsbury. The Falcons have confidence, excellent coaching and home-court advantage.
Class 5A, Saturday, March 11
1-4 Gwynedd Mercy (20-6) vs. 12-2 Freire Charter (11-15), 4:30 p.m. at Archbishop Wood: Philadelphia Public League team Freire Charter (11-15) had one of its best seasons in recent years, though all but two of its wins were in league games. Gwynedd Mercy (20-7) is led by lone senior starter Hannah Griffin, and standout freshmen Emilia Coleman and Bailey Balkir.
Who will win? Gwynedd Mercy. Philly Public League teams traditionally have struggled in girls hoops.
1-5 Upper Moreland (20-6) at 11-1 Bethlehem Catholic (17-8), 3 p.m: Bethlehem Catholic won the District 11 title for the seventh straight season. The Hawks put up 50 or more points in 15 games this season, but gave up an average of 43 points. UM (20-6), meanwhile, had to deal with a late-season injury to leading scorer EmmyFaith Wood. With Wood limited, senior Holly Gohl averaged 16 points during the district playoffs, and sophomore Mikel Lancit also had some nice offensive games.
Who will win? Upper Moreland. This should be a good, fun game, but with Wood back, the Golden Bears should outscore Becahi.
12-1 Archbishop Wood vs. 1-6 Mount St. Joseph, 3 p.m: This matchup features two teams fairly close in proximity with Flourtown's Mount St. Joseph (13-14) having a bit of an up-and-down season. In fact, the Mount has just two wins in its last seven games, which include losses to Upper Moreland, CB East and Lansdale Catholic. The Vikings (20-5) came within three points of a PCL championship and won the District 12 title by nearly 50 points.
Who will win? Archbishop Wood. The defending state champs will be a tough out.
Class 4A, Saturday, March 11
12-1 Lansdale Catholic vs. 3-6 Bishop McDevitt, 3 p.m. at Archbishop Ryan: Bishop McDevitt (18-8) faces a task no team wanted: playing PCL and District 12 champion Lansdale Catholic (23-2) in the first round. The Crusaders have absolutely dominated in all aspects of the game this year and are the team to beat.
Who will win? Lansdale Catholic. The PCL champs could go on a run.
Class 3A, Friday, March 10
1-1 New Hope-Solebury vs. 12-3 Masterman: Masterman (18-1) has had an exceptional season, going undefeated until a Philadelphia Public League playoff loss to Audenried, but it hasn't played a team outside of the Public League. New Hope-Solebury (17-7), meanwhile, has shown that it can handle any competition, with many of the Lions’ wins coming against Class 6A schools, including a notable victory over Abington.
Who will win? New Hope-Solebury. Senior captain Reagan Chrencik will lead the young Lions to victory.
Class 2A, Friday, March 10
1-1 Faith Christian vs. 12-3 Belmont Charter: You don’t often see a team with a 3-8 record in the state playoffs, and for good reason. Unfortunately for Belmont Charter (3-8), it is matched up with a Lions (19-6) team that has dominated all season, including on the way to a district championship win.
Who will win? Faith Christian. This could get out of hand early.
This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: PIAA state girls basketball schedule, results and recaps