Previewing the Pa. girls' basketball state playoffs: Souderton is on a roll

The Souderton girls start state playoffs against Manheim Township on Friday night at Council Rock South.

The Souderton girls’ basketball team heads into the state playoffs Friday fresh off a triple-overtime victory over Central Bucks South in the District 1 Class 6A championship game.

Kate Connolly scored a team-high 18 points as the Indians beat the Titans, 52-48, to earn the program’s first district crown. It was the fourth meeting of the season between the Suburban One League Continental foes, with Souderton winning three.

Led by seniors Connolly (Drexel recruit), Alana Cardona (IUP), Tori Dowd (Muhlenberg), and Sami Falencki (Arcadia), the Indians (24-2) return to states after reaching  the semifinals last year. Juniors Megan Walbrandt and Megan Bealer are also key members of the team.

Souderton will play Manheim Township (19-7), the seventh seed from District 3, at 7:30 p.m.  Friday at Council Rock South.

Central Bucks South (23-3) will face District 3 fifth-place finisher Cedar Cliff (19-7) at 6 p.m.  Friday  at Council Rock South. Senior guard Haley Meinel (Thomas Jefferson) averages  16 points per game for the Titans, while junior guard Alexa Brodie (12.9 ppg) ranks second in scoring.

The Titans’ starting lineup consists of Brodie, Meinel, senior guard Natalie DiSandro, senior guard Mac Ehresman, and senior forward Maddie McShane. Senior guard Lindsay Scott plays a critical role off the bench for South, which lost to Souderton in the second round of states last season.

Garnet Valley (23-2), which defeated Spring-Ford in the district third-place game, takes a talented roster into Friday’s game against Elizabethtown (19-8) at Interboro. Junior Emily McAteer, who joined the 1,000-point club this season, averages close to 16 points per game. She is surrounded by senior Nicole Barnes (Widener), senior Maddy Sorokanych (Ursinus), junior Brianne Borcky (Drexel), junior Morgan Falcone, and junior Jillian Nagy.

The Jaguars exited in the second round last season to eventual champion Boyertown.

Plymouth Whitemarsh star Taylor O’Brien, who recently surpassed 2,000 career points, leads the Colonials into a matchup against District 3 runner-up Central York at 7:30 p.m.  Friday at Northern York in Dillsburg. Plymouth Whitemarsh (22-5) lost to Souderton in the quarterfinals of states last year.

District 12 champion Cardinal O’Hara (21-4) will open against Upper Dublin (22-5) at 7:30 p.m.  Friday at Archbishop Carroll. The Lions took down Neumann-Goretti in the Catholic League final before ousting Olney in the District 12 title game.

Maura Hendrixson (Drexel) combined for 59 points in those two games. She is supported by senior Mackenzie Gardler (Villanova), senior Meghan Ricker (Immaculata), senior Molly Paolino (Catholic University), senior Emily Helms (Washington College), senior Jasmin Miller, and junior Kerry Patterson. Cardinal O’Hara lost to Boyertown in last year’s semifinals.

Camera icon CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Maura Hendrixson (center) of Cardinal O’Hara drives between Katie May (left) and Bridget Arcidiacono of Archbishop Wood.

Here is Friday’s remaining Class 6A schedule, with district and seed listed for each team: Easton (11/3) vs. Olney (12/2), at Freedom High School, 6 p.m.; Hazleton (2/1) vs. Neshaminy (1/8), at Berwick High School, 7 p.m.; Wilson (3/3) vs. Abington (1/5), at Reading’s Geigle Complex, 6:30 p.m.; Bethlehem Freedom (11/1) vs. Perkiomen Valley (1/10), at Easton Middle School, 6 p.m.; Central Dauphin (3/1) vs. Central Bucks East (1/11), at East Pennsboro, 8 p.m.; Spring-Ford (1/4) vs. William Allen (11/4), at Downingtown West, 6 p.m.; and Nazareth (11/2) vs. Council Rock North (1/7), at Bethlehem Liberty, 6 p.m.

Class 5A

West Chester Henderson (28-0) looks to continue its perfect season against District 3 eighth-place finisher Spring Grove (16-10) at 4 p.m.  Saturday at Downingtown West. Guard Erin Thompson (12.2 ppg.) guided the Warriors to their first Ches-Mont League title. West Chester Henderson beat Upper Moreland, Radnor, Mount St. Joseph, and Villa Maria en route to a District 1 crown.

Villa Maria (19-7), which lost to St. Basil in the Catholic Academies final, will play Archbishop Carroll (18-7) at 5:30 p.m.  Saturday at Downingtown West. The Hurricanes are led by Catholic Academies MVP Paige Lauder.

District 12 champion Archbishop Wood (18-7) will begin its quest for a third straight state title on Saturday afternoon against Springfield (Delco). The Vikings are led by senior captains Katie May (Northeastern), Bridget Arcidiacono (Thomas Jefferson), and Erin Morgan. Wood is fresh off its fifth straight district crown after beating Mastery North last Saturday.

Camera icon YONG KIM / Staff Photographer.
Archbishop Wood’s Katie May.

Here is the rest of Saturday’s Class 5A schedule: Harrisburg (3/1) vs. Upper Merion (1/6), at East Pennsboro, 3 p.m.; Mastery North (12/2) vs. Lampeter-Strasburg (3/5), at Southern, 3:30 p.m.; Southern Lehigh (11/1) vs. Palumbo (12/4), at Freedom, 6 p.m.; Mount St. Joseph (1/3) vs. Twin Valley (3/3), at Upper Dublin, 7 p.m.; and Lower Dauphin (3/2) vs. West Chester Rustin (1/4), at Milton Hershey, 3 p.m.

Class 4A

Gwynedd-Mercy looks to make another deep run in the state tournament following a victory over Lower Moreland in the District 1 championship game. Kaylie Griffin led the way with 22 points for the Monarchs, who lost to eventual champion Bethlehem Catholic in last year’s semifinals.

The Monarchs (16-8) will take on Engineering and Science (3-14) at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Upper Dublin.

Senior guard Nyah Garrison scored 15 points in Bonner-Prendergast’s 66-33 win over Audenried in the District 12 title game. Bonner-Prendergast (14-10) will play Northern Lebanon (20-9) at 3:30 p.m.  Saturday at Cardinal O’Hara.

Here is the rest of the Class 4A slate Saturday: Lancaster Catholic (3/1) vs. Overbrook (12/5), at Warwick, 3 p.m.; Audenried (12/2) vs. Lower Moreland (1/2), at Jefferson University, 5 p.m.; and Bishop McDevitt-Harrisburg (3/3) vs. Prep Charter (12/3), at Cumberland Valley, 4:30 p.m.

Class 3A

Jabria Ingram and Neumann-Goretti have their sights set on a fourth straight state crown. The University of Hartford-bound senior, who averages 19 points per game, leads the Saints (17-7) into a first-round game Friday against District 11 runner-up Pine Grove (19-7) at Thomas Jefferson University.

Neumann-Goretti will look to bounce back after falling to Cardinal O’Hara in the Catholic League final and then Imhotep Charter in the District 12 title game. The Saints have made it to four straight state championship games.

Imhotep Charter junior Alana Swift, who has offers from Longwood, Hartford, and Florida International, guided the Panthers to Public League and District 12 crowns this season. Imhotep Charter (20-7) will face District 3 third-place finisher Delone Catholic (21-5) at 6 p.m. Friday at Lincoln.

Camera icon TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Imhotep’s Alana Swift (3) and Jessica Charles (11) after the Panthers beat Mastery North to win the Public League title.

Here is the remaining Class 3A first-round schedule Friday: St. Basil (1/1) will play West Philadelphia (12/5), at Central Bucks West, 6 p.m.; Dunmore (2/1) will face Philadelphia Academy Charter (12/4), at Marywood University, 6 p.m.; and York Catholic (3/2) will take on Mastery South (12/3), at West York, 6:30 p.m.

Class 2A

West Catholic will try  to make noise in the tournament after losing to eventual winner Minersville in last year’s quarterfinals. The Burrs (12-12), who cruised past Motivation in the District 12 title game, will play District 3 runner-up Steelton-Highspire (11-10) at 6 p.m.  Friday at Archbishop Carroll.

Here is the remainder of the Class 2A slate Friday: Mahanoy Area (11/1) vs. Math, Civics & Sciences (12/3), at Pottsville’s Martz Hall, 6 p.m.; Sacred Heart (1/1) vs. Tacony Academy Charter (12/4), at Bensalem, 5 p.m.; and Motivation (12/2) vs. Minersville (11/2), at Father Judge, 6 p.m.

Class 1A

The Kremp twins, Jennifer and Ashley, have Jenkintown in prime position to make a run at the state title. The Bicentennial League champions are coming off a dominating victory over Sankofa Freedom in the District 1 title game. Jenkintown (23-1) will starts against District 3 fourth-place finisher Christian School of York (17-8) at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Cheltenham.

Camera icon LOU RABITO / Staff
Jenkintown senior Ashley Kremp pulls down a defensive rebound.

The Drakes lost to eventual champion Lebanon Catholic in the semifinals last year.

Camera icon LOU RABITO / Staff
Jenkintown guard Jennifer Kremp.

Here is the remaining Class 1A schedule Saturday: Weatherly (11/1) vs. The Christian Academy (1/3), at Blue Mountain, 4:30 p.m.; amd Sankofa Freedom (12/1) vs. Greenwood (3/5), at Lincoln, 3:30 p.m.