William Penn’s Tavon Parker, right, and South Western’s Mike Duffy fight for possession during last season’s YAIAA tournament
William Penn's Tavon Parker, right, and South Western's Mike Duffy fight for possession during last season's YAIAA tournament championship game. They return this season, as their respective teams should contend for Division I title. (GAMETIMEPA.COM -- FILE)

GameTimePA.com presents the YAIAA Division I boys' basketball preview capsules:
  

Central York
Panthers


   Coach: Kevin Schieler (2nd season)
   2011-12 record: 13-11, 7-8
Returning starters
   Corey Hartz (5-9, Sr., PG)
Others to watch
   Ryan Gardner (6-4, Sr., F), Sam Saxton (6-1, So., G), Royce Clemens (6-1, Jr., G), Nick Salter (6-1, Sr. G), Darian Hampton (6-1, Sr., G)
   The skinny: Finally, some coaching consistency. It might seem premature to say that as Schieler enters just his second year with the Panthers, but perspective tells a different story. Last season's senior class worked through three different coaches.

This year's senior class, albeit a small one, has a year with Schieler already in the books. But it will look a bit different. Spencer Ortmyer graduated, which takes away his 6-foot-6 body in the post. This team plans to rely more on its speed. Hartz, a senior point guard, is the lone returning starter. Schieler said Hampton and Salter are "extremely athletic" and can help at multiple positions.

And the Panthers got a glimpse last season of what sophomore Saxton could offer when he came off the bench to score 12 points in a District 3 Class AAAA preliminary-round game against Red Lion. Saxton saw only two games of varsity action prior to that game.
-- Jonas Fortune
  

Dallastown
Wildcats


   Coach: Mike Grassel (1st season)
   2011-12 record: 14-10, 8-7
Returning starters
   None
Others to watch
   Mitch Small (6-0, Jr., G, 4.2 points, 1.5 assists, 1.7 rebounds), Ben Doorn (6-2, Jr., G, 3.5 points, 2 assists, 2.7 rebounds), Ethan Sutton (6-0, Sr., G), Mike Gibbs (5-8, Jr., G), Jon Robertson (6-2, Jr., F), Bryan Marks (6-3, Sr., F), Andrew Henry (6-0, Jr., G), Jonny Sutton (5-9, So., G)
   The skinny: In some ways, Dallastown is starting over. Eight players were lost to graduation, including all five starters. Coach Troy Smeltzer is gone, too. In three years, Smeltzer compiled a record of 46-29. But Dallastown isn't changing all that much.

Grassel spent the last three years coaching the junior varsity team and now moves with many of those players to varsity, giving him and the players a unique relationship and comfort with each other. And it's a good group to connect with. Last year's junior varsity team was one of the stronger ones in the YAIAA. Small and Doorn, who each had a handful of varsity starts a season ago, will lead these Wildcats. Ethan Sutton, who transferred from York Catholic, also has some varsity experience.

Experience will clearly be an issue. So will height, which was a strength of last year's team with the graduated Manny Mossengo (6-6), Chris Robertson (6-5) and Nick Russell (6-3). Doorn (6-2) is one of the Wildcats' taller players this season.
-- Jonas Fortune
  

Red Lion
Lions


   Coach: Steve Schmehl (6th season)
   2011-12 record: 12-11, 7-8
Returning starters
   Mike Fox (6-5, Jr., 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds)
Others to watch
   Blake Cahill, (6-6, Jr.), Kevin Hutchinson (6-1, Sr.), Evan Miller (5-9, Jr.), Travis Klinefelter (6-3, Jr.), Matt Wanbaugh (6-2, Jr.), Austin Huson (5-9, So.), Stone McCreary (6-3, So.)
   The skinny: Red Lion will look to quickly gather experience. It graduated seven key players and has one key senior back in Hutchinson.

Fox is the only player returning with varsity experience. At 6-5, Fox can be a big presence. He averaged 11 points and five rebounds as a sophomore.

And he only looks to improve. Fox spent about three weeks during the summer with more than 500 European basketball players at an International camp held in Italy. His father, John, is a former Italian professional player and an assistant coach at Red Lion.

Cahill (6-6), Klinefelter (6-3), Wanbaugh (6-2) and McCreary (6-3) all offer good height. What that equates to on the court is yet to be determined. It's a group that has experience together, but not on the varsity level.
-- Jonas Fortune
  

South Western
Mustangs


   Coach: Nathan Brodbeck (4th season)
   2011-12 record: 21-5, 12-3
Returning starters
   Parker Bean (6-6, Sr., F, 14.1 points, 1,114 career points), Mike Duffy (5-11, Sr., G, 10.7 points)
Others to watch
   Austin Cook (6-4, Sr., F), Justin Zinneman (5-10, Sr., G), Scott Hess, 5-10, Jr., G), Jordan Smith (6-0, Jr., G)
   The skinny: The Mustangs, who advanced to the YAIAA championship game and to the District 3 Class AAAA tournament, return the key ingredient in Bean. However, he will focus on baseball and a career in that sport at Liberty University after this season.

After Bean and Duffy, the Mustangs are largely untested, which could mean teams will focus their defense on the two returning players. Zinneman appeared in 10 games last season, while Cook played in nine.

South Western will again have to deal with defending YAIAA champion William Penn in its division, and Brodbeck said, "The bottom line is that William Penn is a consistent winner. You have to beat the best to be the best."
-- Chuck Curley
  

Spring Grove
Rockets


   Coach: Ryan Luckman (5th season)
   2011-12 record: 0-22, 0-15
Returning starters
   Colton Crouthamel (6-4, Sr., F, 6.0 points), Levi Krause (6-0, Sr., G, 2.3 points), Nick Spangler (5-9, Sr., G, 4.8 points), Logan Hagerman (6-0, Sr., G, team-best 8.0 points).
Others to watch
   Matt Kline (Sr., G), Darren Gordon (Fr., F).
   The skinny: The Rockets failed to launch in 2011-12, as their losing streak extended to 24 games dating back to the preceding season.

Luckman has concern about ballhandling, despite the return of three experienced guards, after teams scored more than twice as many points as the Rockets last season. In fact, no Rocket had 200 points last winter, so Spring Grove needs a go-to player when points are a must.
-- Chuck Curley
  

William Penn
Bearcats


   Coach: Troy Sowers (7th season)
   2011-12 record: 24-6, 13-2
Returning starters
   Tavon Parker (6-2, Sr. G., 12.6 points), Derek Wilson (6-2, Sr. G. 9.9 points)
Others to watch
   Stephen Dickson (5-11, Jr. G), Daiquest Casiano (6-0, Sr., G), Ramel Stephens (6-1, Sr. F), Jahaire Wilson (6-3, So. F), Davante Jackson (6-8, Sr. C), Ohsajid Beard (6-4, Sr. F)
   The skinny: It's hard to say it was a liability when William Penn finished with 24 wins, but the Bearcats did start five guards last season. Expect this year's version of the Bearcats to be a bit more balanced in the traditional sense.

Jackson (6-8) and Beard (6-4), plus Wilson (6-3), give William Penn a post presence, allowing them to play inside much more.

But the guards won't be forgotten. The addition of junior Dickson gives the Bearcats a true, pass-first point guard and allows Parker to slide over to the wing, where he can play off the ball and have the freedom to be more effective, slashing and cutting to the basket.

Dickson, who is in his first season at William Penn, has impressed Sowers enough with his leadership, dedication and work ethic that Sowers has already trusted him to be a team captain this year. Parker and Stephens are the other two captains.

Expect the Bearcats to continue their fast, frenetic pace supported by an eight- or nine-man rotation.
-- Jonas Fortune

More YAIAA previews

  • Division II breakdown

  • Division III breakdown

  • Division IV breakdown