Ask the People: YAIAA fans weigh in on ten hoops questions
Late last week, I asked YAIAA fans for their opinions on ten different hoops topics ranging from MVP candidates to best atmospheres to catch a game. Well, the people have spoken, the results are in, and a few may surprise you. Here is what the voters said, followed by my take and fellow GameTimePA reporter Matt Goul's take on each topic.
Question: West York is widely considered the best girls basketball team in the YAIAA, but who is the best boys team?
1. Northeastern 153 votes (28.6%)
2. William Penn 138 (25.8 %)
2t. Hanover 138 (25.8%)
4. Central York 58 (10.8%)
5. Other 48 (9 %)
Brandon's take: I’d flip-flop Northeastern with William Penn and I might switch Hanover and Central York after the Nighthawks’ poor showing in the league tourney. West York could’ve probably been tossed into this group as well. A possible Northeastern-William Penn matchup looms in the league title game to crown the champ.
Matt's take: William Penn has easily the toughest schedule of any team in York or Adams counties, and to come out of that with an 18-4 record is impressive. To me, the more intriguing argument is who is second? Northeastern had the most momentum for a while, but West York and Central have come on strong.
Q: Who has done the best coaching job in YAIAA girls hoops?
1. Darrell Wildasin, 88 votes (22.7%)
2. Jessica Barley, 81 (20.9%)
3. Other, 72 (18.6%)
4. Scott Wisner, 60 (15.5)
5. Kevin Bankos, 59 (15.2%)
6. Gerry Eckenrode, 28 (7.2%)
Brandon's take: Hard to argue the Wildasin choice when West York went undefeated. I think Barley has done a tremendous job to get York Suburban to where they are. Same for Wisner at Central. Both ended long league playoff appearance droughts. My pick would be Barley because of how she has turned the program around.
Matt's take: A 10-win improvement for Suburban going into the district tournament is something that cannot be ignored. A similar improvement was made by Central York, but the Trojans certainly would get my vote as surprise team in the YAIAA this season. Typically, I like to hand coach of the year honors to a coach who oversees a turnaround, and that would be Jess Barley.
Q: Should the regular season be longer or shorter than 20 games?
1. It’s fine just the way it is, 215 votes (51.8%)
2. Longer, 178 (42.9%)
3. Shorter, 22 (5.3%)
Brandon's take: The regular season seems to fly by, but it’s hard to imagine a way to make it longer. Teams already play division opponents twice, multiple holiday/tip-off tournaments and cross-divisional games. Also, make-up games are already an issue. That would only get worse with a longer schedule. I agree with the people here, don't fix it if it isn't broken.
Matt's take: Twenty games is the magic number. More would be too much considering the typical late-season rush of make-up games, depending on weather conditions.
Q: If it were up to you, where would you hold the district finals?
1. Giant Center, 329 votes (71.2%)
2. York College, 119 (25.8%)
3. Milton Hershey, 10 (2.2%)
4. Other, 4 (0.9%)
Brandon's take: I’ve yet to see a game in the Giant Center, so this makes me even more excited for the district playoffs. I like York College as a league championship site and Milton Hershey is a great venue/campus as well.
Matt's take: The district finals and, for most classifications, semifinals and quarterfinals feel like an event at Giant Center. If I could compare it to anything, it would be conference or the NCAA tournament in college basketball. You have consecutive games and just a sense of magic in the air. The week of district semifinals and finals at Giant Center is easily my favorite week of high school sports in Pennsylvania. Frankly, nothing comes close.
Q: Boys hoops: Who’s the best guard in the YAIAA?
1. Kobi Nwandu, Northeastern, 133 votes, (27.8%)
2. Eli Brooks, Spring Grove, 123 (25.7%)
3. Sam Saxton, Central York, 77 (16.1%)
4. Ryan Beck, Dover, 52 (10.9%)
4t. Other, 52 (10.9%)
6. Josh Bailey, West York, 29 (6.1%)
7. Broguen Nicholas, Eastern York, 13 (2.7%)
Brandon's take: I love how the people voted in this one. I saw Nwandu and Brooks go head-to-head at Red Lion over the weekend and both carried their teams during long stretches of the game. Both of those guys are incredibly athletic and talented. Saxton has helped turn Central into a legitimate threat in the district and Beck is one of the best pure scorers around. He gets to the rim as well as anyone. Bailey is probably underrated, but the other four guys are so talented as well, so it would be hard to move one of them down. I would take those guys on my team any day of the week.
Matt's take: Currently, it's Sam Saxton but it will be Eli Brooks going forward after this season. I vote Saxton because of his accomplishments last season, and he's proven to be better this season -- see his 29-point game to beat William Penn a few weeks ago.
Q: Is it ever acceptable for fans to rush the court after a high school game?
1. Yes, 209 votes (45.6%)
2. Only in certain situations, 131 (28.6%)
3. No, 118 (25.8%)
Brandon's take: I don’t mind it in certain situations. If a team wins a title or pulls an upset over a rival, why not let the students celebrate with the players? That’s a moment they’ll never forget. I can also see why having fans on the floor presents a safety issue, though, especially after what happened after the William Penn-Harrisburg game.
Matt's take: No, the court is for players. Not fans.
Q: Who’s the best big man in YAIAA hoops?
1. Jahaire Wilson, William Penn, 153 votes (32.2%)
2. Dylan Krieger, Hanover, 142 (29.9%)
3. Darin Gordon, Spring Grove, 76 (16%)
4. Other, 57 (12%)
5. Darian McCauley, West York, 30 (6.3%)
6. Najah Fink, Dover, 17 (3.6%)
Brandon's take: Wilson is arguably the best player in the league, period, so no argument here. Krieger was the league’s leading scorer after improving his shot and post game. Gordon would probably play on the wing on most teams, but he gets the “big man” title because he’s the biggest guy on the Rockets’ squad. These were my top three as well.
Matt's take: If you can call him a big man, Jahaire Wilson. No one is as dynamic as him. Going into the season, the two big men I'd pick for my team would be Wilson and Charlie Gingrich (who's not listed). I'll stand by that because Gingrich is the YAIAA's best rebounder.
Q: Who would win the MVP award in YAIAA girls hoops?
1. Claudia Mingora, York Suburban, 111 votes (22.6%)
2. Maddie Comly, Delone Catholic, 95 (19.3%)
3. Payton Hauck, Northeastern, 70 (14.2%)
4. Kari Lankford, West York, 55 (11.2%)
5. Other, 44 (8.9%)
6. Jordyn Kloster, Northeastern, 39 (7.9%)
7. Amari Johnson, Dallastown, 34, (6.9%)
8. Kelsey Wisner, Central York, 31 (6.3%)
9. Rebecca Issac, Biglerville, 8 (1.6%)
10. Courtney Dimoff, Red Lion, 5 (1%)
Brandon's take: Mingora is a solid player, but I’d go with Comly. I saw them go head-to-head last week in the playoffs. Comly scored more than Mingora and she took control of the game while Mingora was on the bench with foul trouble. The idea of an MVP is who is the most valuable to their team. So if you take any girl from this list off their team, which one has the highest impact? I’d say Comly. And I also should’ve added Emily Wood from West York to this list. She probably could’ve been top five as well.
Matt's take: I'm going to go away from the obvious and pick Emily Wood, who's not on this list. The way West York is beating teams looks ridiculous on the stats sheet, and Wood is statistically having a better season. I might give the award to Comly because Lankford and Wood hurt each other in this argument by being on the same team. Amari Johnson also should be in the conversation. If Dallastown wins the YAIAA title on Thursday, I would likely switch my vote to Johnson.
Q: Should a shot clock be installed in high school basketball?
1. Yes, 273 votes (63.1%)
2. No, 160 votes (36.9%)
Brandon's take: I say yes. I’ve seen three games this year that could’ve had a different result if there had been a shot clock and a team wasn’t allowed to dribble at half court for two or three minutes. I think it would add excitement, especially to late-game situations, and it would reward defensive play.
Matt's take: I'm indifferent on this subject. I'll vote no because I firmly believe stalling is a fair tactic. It's up to the team on defense to force the issue. Don't like your opponents playing keepaway? Go get the ball and come out of your zone.
A shot clock is only necessary for the final two minutes of halves, particularly the second half when fouling might be the only option.
Would a shot clock make the game more exciting? No doubt. Is it worth the cost? Probably not.
Q: Which YAIAA school has the best atmosphere to watch a basketball game?
1. Northeastern, 132 votes (25.6 %)
2. Hanover, 128 (24.8%)
3. Central York, 67 (13%)
4. William Penn, 59 (11.4%)
5. West York, 52 (10.1%)
6. Other, 49 (9.5%)
7. Red Lion, 29, (5.6%)
Brandon's take: I’ve played in a few of these and been a spectator in each of them. As a player, my favorite was always William Penn. Going in there with the fans so close to you and the band playing during the pregame was a great feeling. Hanover has really improved and they had one of the best student sections in the Hanover-Adams area, which made the games even more enjoyable. My only switch to the top four here would be switch West York and Northeastern, then I’d be okay with West York, Central, William Penn, and Hanover in any order.
Matt's take: The only reason Central York doesn't get this is because of its cavernous feel with the red curtain that comes down behind one hoop to divide the gym. Any gym with stands behind a basket gets a thumbs up from me, which would put Red Lion and West York just ahead of Central. The winner? Red Lion -- despite the horn that makes me feel like I'm in a submarine.
Follow Matt Goul and Brandon Stoneburg on Twitter @mgoul and @b_stoneburg.