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PIAA Girls Basketball Previews

PIAA Girls Basketball Preview: Cumberland Valley's run for fourth title in Jekot era starts with battle against Wilkes-Barre

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Cumberland Valley’s Dejah Hill will be an X-factor in Friday's PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal against Wilkes-Barre. She'll be tasked with stopping Wolfpack junior forward Gloria Adjayi.

Cumberland Valley's junior sits down with us for five minutes, giving us inside information on her Eagles teammates for the 2020-21 season.

Bill Wolf knows a thing or two about championship caliber teams.

He coached three straight PIAA championship teams at Cumberland Valley in the mid-2010s, guiding a roster loaded with future college talent to Hershey’s Giant Center year after year after year.

He thinks this team, led by familiar names, has a chance to repeat the feat.

“Yeah, it does,” Wolf said Thursday before CV’s PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal against Wilkes-Barre. “I really like this team, I really think we have a chance to win it all this year. But at the other hand we also have all these other things going on.”

Those things he’s talking about are all the COVID-19 disruptions and the general unusual nature of a 2021 season played in a pandemic.

The Eagles, winners of two of the last three District 3 titles, need to win three games in eight days to claim a fourth state title in the Jekot era — an era that will cross 10 years by the time it ends in 2024.

Older sisters Kelly and Katie Jekot experienced the thrill of PIAA gold a few years ago. The youngest of the four, Julie and Jill, hope to win their first with Julie months away from graduating and heading to La Salle to play for the Explorers.

HS Girls Basketball: Cumberland Valley's Julie Jekot becomes third sister to join Big 5 program, committing to La Salle

“That would be really neat,” Wolf said. “I think we have a pretty good chance of doing that, but at this point you get to this part of the state, all these games are 50/50.”

If the Eagles are to drape gold medals around their necks, they’ll have to start by beating an upstart in the District 2 champions.

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Wilkes-Barre is in just its second year as a program with the school district in the middle of a multiyear merger combining GAR Memorial, Coughlin and Meyers high schools into one high school.

Named the Wolfpack, the fledgling team won its first district title together last week.

They’re led by junior forward Gloria Adjayi, a 6-foot force in the paint who, according to Wolf, is scoring 14 points a game.

“She’s someone we’re gonna definitely need to again look out for,” Wolf said.

Wilkes-Barre features a balanced offense beyond Adjayi, with Shelby Ardo Boyko and Vanessa Luna averaging at least eight points, according to Wolf.

“They’re the type of team, they like the full-court game, they’re gonna full-court press us,” he said.

CV is the favorite in this game, but Wolf said they can’t afford an off night, even in the friendly confines of the Eagle Dome at 7 p.m. Friday.

“We need to have three more good nights,” he said.

He called Dejah Hill the X-factor in this game, given her matchup defensively against Adjayi. If Hill can shut down Adjayi, Wolf believes it’ll limit the Wolfpack’s offense, which does not have the strongest of 3-point shooting.

The Eagles would love for a big night offensively from Hill, Wolf said, “but we want her to have a good defensive game.”

Hill is fourth on the team in scoring (7.0 ppg) but leads the team in rebounds (5.7) and blocks (1.2) per contest.

She will have plenty of support from the three-headed force that is the Jekot sisters and senior Abbie Miller. Senior Julie is averaging 16.3 points and 3.7 rebounds, having her best scoring season of her varsity career. Miller, off to Shippensburg University in the fall, has been impressive with 12.4 points and 5.1 rebounds a game.

HS Girls Basketball: Cumberland Valley's Abbie Miller wants to be 'something special' at Shippensburg University like her Hall of Fame aunt

And then there’s rookie Jill Jekot, holder of three Division I offers already, who has shown cold-blooded shooting all season while averaging 12.4 points and 3.3 assists.

A win Friday would mean a date Monday in the semifinals against either District 7 champ North Allegheny or District 10 champ McDowell.

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Email Jake Adams at jadams@cumberlink.com or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520

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