York, PA -
Each night Dalton Reichard has stepped on the floor this season, the faces have changed. So have the results, most nights.
The Eastern York senior is the Golden Knights' only returning starter from an 8-14 team. With their 48-26 win Friday against visiting Hanover (10-6, 4-5 YAIAA Division IV), Reichard and Eastern (11-4, 7-2 Division III) are in the thick of a Division III race.
"I think we just want it more," Reichard said of the difference this season. "We go out every night, don't think anyone can beat us. We just go out, play our hearts out, dive on the floor and everything."
The Knights need that effort to keep pace with Bermudian Springs and Susquehannock -- both winners Friday night -- to keep a three-way tie atop their division intact. Overall, the five-team division is separated by just two games -- and York Suburban is only a game back, thanks largely to its overtime victory in Wrightsville two weeks ago.
"We used the analogy we got punched in the face," Eastern coach Jon Reichard said of that loss, "and we needed it."
The coach thought his squad had become complacent, and his staff used it as a crash course in perseverance for their inexperienced players. The team responded by winning at Bermudian Springs to get back atop the crowded standings and have now won four straight.
Dalton Reichard, the coach's son, said Eastern's last loss brought a sense of urgency and refined desire on the defensive end. There was evidence of that Friday in holding Hanover to just two points in each of the first two quarters.
Reichard and his teammates on the perimeter batted basketballs from Nighthawk players and took advantage of Hanover's miscues early and often. Eastern jumped out to a 10-2 lead midway through the first quarter after three straight Hanover turnovers that led to baskets. The last allowed Reichard to coast at the rim unchallenged and forced Hanover coach Nathan Myers to use his first timeout.
Those were Hanover's first three turnovers, but more followed.
The Golden Knights built a 26-4 lead going into halftime with the help of the Nighthawks' 14 turnovers and 2-of-23 shooting. Hanover finished 10-of-56 from the floor and didn't break double digits until 41/2 minutes into the third quarter.
That, however, has been Eastern's defensive pattern.
Following the overtime loss at home, the Knights have yielded 44, 40, 31 and now 26 points in their four straight wins.
"I just don't think we put the ball in the hoop against Suburban and struggled mightily in the second half," said Dalton Reichard, whose 13 points Friday were a game high. "When we turn it on now, because we lost that game, every game counts."
Eastern's style plays like it, too, pressing the length of the floor throughout -- something Jon Reichard said comes with a guard-heavy roster this season.
"Last year we weren't able to do that for large stretches," he said, "but this year we have the capability with fresh legs off the bench."
Dylan Krieger 2 2-2 6, Jake Rhodes 0 0-0 0, Nick Trish 0 0-0 0, Kyle Krout 1 1-2 3, Drew Vogel 3 0-0 6, Austin Brown 0 3-6, 3, Brady Goodfellow 1 0-0 2, Zac Sheaffer 0 0-0 0, Jared Peterman 0 0-0 0, Will McQueen 2 0-0 4, Jose Gonzalez 1 0-0 2, Cam Bosserman 0 0-2 0, Clay Reichart 0 0-0 0, Alex Williams 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 6-12 26.
EASTERN YORK (48)
Dalton Reichard 6 1-1 13, Christian Buser 5 1-2 11, Broguen Nicholas 3 3-4, 9, Travis Solomon 1 0-0 2, Cody Bollinger 0 1-2 1, Grum Kebede 1 1-3 4, Jake Kessler 0 0-0 0, Conrad Rhein 1 0-2, 2, Travis Knaub 1 4-6 6, Jake Wildasin 0 0-0 0, Dalton Renn 0 0-0 0, Pete LaCesa 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 11-20 48.
Hanover 2 2 12 10 -- 26
Eastern 12 16 14 6 -- 48
3-point goals -- Eastern 1 (Kebede).
JV score -- Eastern, 52-45.