The PIAA playoffs begin today. … Hopefully.

There is snow and it arrived in the wee hours of the morning. If it creates travel problems for teams heading northeast, we will do our best to keep you informed of any postponments, and or rescheduled games. As of 7:50 AM, Abington Heights had closed, so all indications are the Abington Heights vs. Lampeter-Strasburg game is going to be impacted.

NOTE: PIAA Class 3A Mid Valley vs. Southern Columbia is PPD to SATURDAY at 1 p.m. at Shamokin Area HS.

The weather notwithstanding, here is a look at the opponents who Lackawanna League teams must face in the first round of their respective classifications.


2-2 West Scranton (14-11)
vs. 3-4 Spring Grove (20-8)
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Scranton High School.
How they got here: West Scranton is the District 2 runner-up, losing to Abington Heights, 77-41; Spring Grove lost to Milton Hershey, 87-76, in the District 3, third-place game.
Players to watch: West Scranton — Cole Stetzar, 11.8 points per game; Matt Williams, 7.1 ppg.; Shaun Fanning, 6.8 ppg.
Spring Grove — Eli Brooks, 30.0 ppg.; Austin Panter; Drew Gordon.
What’s next: The winner will play the winner of the East Stroudsburg North-Manheim Central game on March 14.
The buzz: West Scranton is in its second straight PIAA playoffs. … West Scranton has a state-playoff record of 3-5 and had its last win in 2011 when it beat Lampeter-Strasburg, 67-58, in the Class 3A first round. … West Scranton coach Jack Lyons has 555 career wins at various levels. … Spring Grove’s Eli Brooks is headed to Michigan and has more than 2,000 points in his career. … Spring Grove’s only other state playoff appearance came last season in a loss to Spring-Ford, 74-43.

Here are some highlights of Michigan recruit Eli Brooks: 



3-8 Lampeter-Strasburg (17-10)

vs. 1-Abington Heights (22-3)
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Lackawanna College Student Union.
How they got here: Abington Heights is the District 2 champion, beating West Scranton, 77-41; Lampeter-Strasburg lost to Manheim Central, 60-56, in the District 3 tournament.
Players to watch: Lampeter-Strasburg — Ryan Smith, 15.2 points per game; Ben Sandberg, 14.2 ppg.; Jared Houck, 8.0 ppg.
Abington Heights — George Tinsley, 13.3 points per game; Trey Koehler, 11.4 ppg.; Seth Maxwell, 11.3 ppg.; Jackson Danzig, 11.1 ppg.
What’s next: The winner will play the winner of the Martin Luther King-Bishop Shanahan game on March 14.
The buzz: Abington Heights won its sixth straight district championship at in its third classification, having won three in Class 3A and two in Class 4A. … Head coach Ken Bianchi has 744 career wins. … Abington Heights is making its 11th straight state-playoff appearance and has as an overall state-playoff record of 10-18. … Lampeter-Strasburg is 2-6 all-time in the state playoffs. … This will be the fifth District 2 team Lampeter-Strasburg will face in the state playoffs with wins over Valley View and Berwick, and losses to GAR and West Scranton.




4-2 Southern Columbia (15-10)
vs. 2-2 Mid Valley (23-3)
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Where: Shamokin Area High School, Coal Township.
How they got here: Mid Valley is the runner-up in District 2, having lost to Holy Redeemer, 38-36; Southern Columbia lost to Hughesville, 45-36, in the District 4 championship game.
Players to watch: Southern Columbia — Julian Fleming, 19.8 points per game; Cam Young; Brett Szuler; Tobias Walden.
Mid Valley — Noah Tanner, 13.2 points per game; Brad Kalinowski, 12.2 ppg.; R.J. Gouldsbury, 10.3 ppg.
What’s next: The winner will play the winner of the Valley Forge-Parkway Center City game on March 14.
The buzz: Mid Valley is into the state playoffs for the fourth time in the last five seasons. … The Spartans have a state-playoff record of 4-4 with their last win coming in 2015 against Columbia, 49-44. … Head coach Mike Abda has a career record of 143-44. … Fleming was an all-state football player for Southern Columbia. … Southern Columbia is 7-14 all-time in the state playoffs with its last win coming against Mountain View, 61-57, in 2006.

Here is the top half of the Class 3A bracket.

Mid Valley senior R.J. Gouldsbury
Photo by Jason Farmer




Scranton Prep senior Logan Bailey
Photo by Jake Danna Stevens





11-3 Salisbury (20-7)
vs. 2-1 Scranton Prep (22-3)
When: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Insalaco Arena, Marywood University.
How they got here: Salisbury won the District 11 third-place game, beating Saucon Valley, 75-48; Scranton Prep is the District 2 champion having beaten GAR, 64-45.

Players to watch:
Salisbury — Jaxon Costello 18.7 points per game; Jack Reichenbach, 15.3 ppg.; Ryan Slutsky, 11.8 ppg.
Scranton Prep — Paddy Casey, 15.5 ppg.; Logan Bailey, 13.3 ppg.; Nick Dende, 11.7 ppg.
What’s next: The winner plays the winner of the Imhotep Charter-Bishop McDevitt game on March 15.
The buzz: Scranton Prep won its third straight District 2 championship. … The Cavaliers have a state-playoff record of 19-17 and has won a first-round game in three of the last four seasons. … Scranton Prep coach Andrew Kettel has a career record of 169-83 and is 92-13 in four seasons at Scranton Prep. … Salisbury has gone 0-6 in last six state tournament appearances. … Last state playoff wins came in 2001 when it defeated Lancaster Catholic in the first round, Delone Catholic in second round. … Salisbury coach Jason Weaver is in his ninth season with a record of 161-71.

Here is the top half of the PIAA Class 4A bracket





2-2 Mountain View (11-14) vs.
4-2 Northeast Bradford (15-10)
When: Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Mansfield University.
How they got here: Mountain View is the second-place team from District 2 and lost to Holy Cross, 46-18; Northeast Bradford lost to North Penn-Mansfield, 35-16, in the District 4 championship game.

Players to watch: 

Mountain View — Matt Lavin, 16.7 points per game; Kyle Streich, 8.8 ppg.; Mikey Schermerhorn, 8.3 ppg.
Northeast Bradford — Garrett Smith, 11.0 ppg; Austin Senn-Bishop, 10.5 ppg; David Ford, 14.7 ppg.
What’s next: The winner advances to face the winner of the Marian Catholic-Masterman game on March 15.
The buzz: Mountain View is in its first state playoff tournament since 2007. … The Eagles last win in the state playoffs was in the first round of the 2007 Class 2A tournament, beating Loyalsock, 95-92, in overtime. … Mountain View has a state playoff record of 3-7. … Head coach Joe Gibbons is in his first season. … Mountain View defeated Northeast Bradford, 62-46, on Jan. 7, to snap a seven-game losing streak. … Northeast Bradford is 6-4 in games decided by 10 points of less.

Here is the top half of the Class 2A bracket.



11-2 Shenandoah Valley (20-4)
vs. 1-Holy Cross (18-8)
When: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Where: North Pocono High School
How they got here: Holy Cross won the District 2 Class 2A championship, beating Mountain View, 46-18; Shenandoah Valley lost to Marian Catholic, 59-51, in the District 11 final.

Players to watch: Holy Cross — Malachi Phillips, 11.4 points per game; Tyler Mozeleski, 8.8 ppg.; Patrick Galvin, 8.7 ppg.
Shenandoah Valley — Joel Santana, 20.1 ppg.; Jermaine McNeil, 15.7 ppg.; Noah Raisner, 6.7 ppg; Isaiah Alvarez, 6.3 ppg.
What’s next: The winner will play the winner of the Church Farm-Constitution game on March 15.
The buzz: Holy Cross is in its 10th PIAA playoffs in the 10-year history of the program. … The Crusaders have won five District 2 Class 2A championships. … Holy Cross has a state-playoff record of 13-9 and reached the Class 2A final in 2013. … Holy Cross coach Al Callejas has a career record of 443-228 and is 219-64 in 10 seasons at Holy Cross. … Shenandoah Valley has wins over MMI Prep, 51-40, and Old Forge, 53-46, this season. … Shenandoah Valley coach Robbie Miller is in his seventh season.

Holy Cross senior Malachi Phillips
Photo by Jason Farmer


See you at the games!

I am covering Abington Heights vs. Lampeter-Strasburg on Friday night and Shenandoah Valley vs. Holy Cross on Saturday.