As we continue to count down the days until basketball season, here are our preseason basketball power rankings for the Hanover-Adams area. The ten teams are broken down into three categories: the best, the rest and middle of the pack. Teams within each category are listed in alphabetical order.
Gettysburg (15-8 last season in Mid-Penn, first year in YAIAA)-- The Warriors, who went 5-1 against Y-A teams while in the Mid-Penn last season, return three starters. Two of those returning starters - Tyler Lampe and Colin Bortner - will be in their fourth year as varsity players and both averaged at least 8.0 points per game last season.
Because of their recent success and being in Division II, the Warriors should be favored in the majority of their games.
An early season test at West York will give us a chance to gauge how good this Warriors team is.
Hanover (19-8, 11-4 YAIAA Division IV) -- Widely considered by coaches to be one of the favorites in Division III, the Nighthawks return three upperclassmen starters from last year's team that won the division before heading to districts and states.
Hanover's strength will be the front court anchored by Dylan Krieger (15.2 points) and Jacob Rhodes (8.5 points). The challenge will be to replace point guard Nick Trish (17.5 points). Juniors Will McQueen and Kyle Krout will be relied on to handle ball-handling duties.
With Division III being down for the most part this season, Hanover should be able to compete for a top three spot and a trip to the league tournament.
Spring Grove (7-15, 4-11 YAIAA Division I)-- The Rockets won five more games in 2013 than in 2012 and they return second-team YAIAA all-star Eli Brooks (13.8 points) and honorable mention all-star Darin Gordon (10.7 points).
Between Gordon and Brooks, scoring shouldn't be an issue for Spring Grove. The challenge will be stopping the opposition after their team defense ranked in the bottom half of the league last season. If Liam Flaherty, Grant Wierman or Erik Myers can step up to complement Brooks and Gordon, Spring Grove could be a dark horse to sneak into the playoffs.
Middle of the pack:
Bermudian Springs (22-5, 14-0 YAIAA Division III)-- With the Eagles coming off of their best season in school history, we were tempted to have them higher than this. But with just one returning starter and no one listed above six-feet-tall, the Eagles are a question mark and at least temporarily in the middle of the pack.
Roughly 80 percent of the teams scoring graduated in June, so Bermudian will rely heavily on sharing the ball and continuing their strong defense, according to head coach Tom Flaherty.
Bermudian held opponents to a league-best 40.6 points per game last season.
Biglerville (7-15, 4-11 YAIAA Division IV)-- There is some optimism in Canner Country surrounding the basketball program. Head coach Steve Elsier is excited about the talent being developed in their own system and the Canners improved by three wins in 2013.
Sophomore guard Noah Ayers is back after averaging 9.9 points in 22 games as a freshman. While Elsier brings back two big men in Mason Unger and Jon Borth, he expects Ayers to carry the scoring load. Keep an eye on freshman Cody Shaffer, who is expected to contribute immediately at the varsity level.
Delone Catholic (15-11, 10-5 YAIAA Division IV)-- If not for injuries, the Squires would be projected much higher, most likely. However, because of knee injuries to Jake Wiles and Devon Moore, Delone doesn't return a single starter from last year's team that reached the district semifinals.
First-year head coach Lawrence Williams is confident his young team can reach the postseason and compete at the top of the division despite the injury bug.
Expect the Squires to be a fast, up-and-down team with different leading scorers from game to game. They'll get a big test during tip-off weekend at Central York with a matchup against Eastern York on opening night and possibly Central York or Penn Manor the next day.
South Western (5-16, 4-11 YAIAA Division I)-- Do the Mustangs have some solid, young talent? Yes. Brock Geiman (13.6 points) will team with seniors Darius Rowlette and Collin Conaboy, forming an experienced backcourt duo.
Do they play a difficult schedule that will make it tough to string together victories? Yes. Division I is loaded this year and the Mustangs will have their work cut out for them in every single game.
How they handle that schedule will determine their success after a five-win season in 2013.
Fairfield (5-17, 2-14 YAIAA Division IV)-- The Green Knights improved by two wins last season and won a league game for the first time in recent memory.
Four senior starters return as well as senior guard Chandler Dashiell (9.0 points), who can score in bunches. The Nick Grams (9.4 points)-David Riley (10.0 points) frontcourt should give smaller teams fits down low. If Mason Flickinger, Michael Quealy and Dashiell can add a scoring punch, the Green Knights should increase their win total for the third-consecutive season under Andy Winebrenner.
Littlestown (2-19, 1-13 YAIAA Division III)-- There is a lot of room for improvement for the Bolts this season. They finished with two wins while averaging a league-worst 39.1 points per game last season.
Head coach Scott Motter has just one returning starter - junior guard Brady Topper, who averaged 6.6 points as a sophomore.
New Oxford (5-17, 2-12 YAIAA Division II)-- The Colonials get bumped up to Division I while head coach Sean Bair looks to replace four starters. New Oxford was third-to-last in the league last season with 43.6 points per game. With Division I being as good as it is this season, New Oxford might not be favored in any divisional game and will have to fight it out every night for wins.