PIAA Class 6A championship preview: C.B. South, Upper Dublin girls set to battle

Upper Dublin players (from left) Nicole Kaiser, Kara Grebe and Maggie Weglos celebrate as they win, 26-25, over Souderton in the girls state class 6A semi-final game at Council Rock South, March 19, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

Central Bucks South and Upper Dublin will each be playing for its first PIAA state girls’ basketball title on Tuesday when the District 1 foes meet at the Giant Center in Hershey at 6 p.m.

The Titans defeated the Cardinals, 30-24, in their season opener. The championship was moved from Friday to Tuesday because of last week’s snowstorm.

It seemed inevitable that C.B. South would face District 1 champion Souderton for the fifth time this season in the state final. But Upper Dublin prevented that from happening by stunning Souderton, 26-25, in the semifinals. Freshman Jess Polin’s free throw with 2.6 seconds left was the difference.

The Titans lost three of the four meetings with the Indians, including setbacks in the Suburban One League final and District 1 championship. C.B. South responded by beating Cedar Cliff, Council Rock North, William Allen, and North Allegheny to reach the state final.

Upper Dublin, the ninth seed from District 1, started the state tournament with a thrilling double-overtime win over Cardinal O’Hara. The Cardinals followed that up with victories over Garnet Valley, Abington, and Souderton.

“This is the first team in Upper Dublin history to make it to the state championship game,” said Upper Dublin coach Morgan Funsten after the win over Souderton. “We’re extremely excited about the opportunity. We didn’t make any plans for Hershey because we were so focused on Souderton.”

C.B. South has averaged about 51 points per game in the state tournament. Junior guard Alexa Brodie and senior guard Haley Meinel lead the way on offense. 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.

In 2016, C.B. South advanced to the state tournament for the first time in program history before falling in the second round to Cumberland Valley. Last season, the Titans lost to Plymouth Whitemarsh in the District 1 semifinals and then fell short against Souderton in the second round of states.

The Cardinals have played outstanding defense all season long and are giving up an average of 30 points in the state tournament. Sophomore center Jackie Vargas and Polin are key members of Upper Dublin’s starting lineup, which includes senior forward Nicole Kaiser, senior guard Maggie Weglos, and freshman guard Dayna Balasa.

Upper Dublin lost to Neshaminy in the second round of states in 2016 and fell to Cardinal O’Hara in the first round last year.