It’s just past the midway point of the winter sports season. At this point, we’ve gotten a sense of which teams are the strongest and which ones have some work to do. But what’s intriguing about this time of the year is that it features plenty of division rematches and chances for local teams to redeem themselves for previous losses.
This Friday is full of rematches, with five taking place that feature Hanover-area teams. Interestingly, all five of the first matchups took place on Dec. 8. Here’s a look at three of the most intriguing ones. All of them start at 7:30 p.m.
Central York (13-2, 8-0 YAIAA Division I) at Spring Grove (10-1, 6-1 YAIAA Division I)
Last Time: Central York won 53-50
This is by far the biggest rematch of the night. Central York and Spring Grove are the top two teams in Division I and were separated by just one basket last time. In that meeting, the Panthers jumped out to a 20-5 before the Rockets answered with 21 second-quarter points to take two-point lead into halftime. They weren’t able to hold on though, as the Panthers used eight late free throws to hold them off.
Arguably the biggest difference between the two teams last time was Central York’s superior depth. While Spring Grove got 39 combined points from stars Eli Brooks and Darin Gordon, Central York had four players (Jared Wagner, Nathan Markey, Onterio Betts, Courtney Batts) score in double-digits. Although the Rockets have been more balanced at times this season, much of their offense still goes through Brooks. The Panthers (like every team in the YAIAA) will try to do everything they can to slow down the 6-foot-1 guard, who has been torching teams on a nightly basis. Expect this one to be another close contest.
Gettysburg (9-5, 4-5 YAIAA Division II) at York Suburban (6-9, 4-5 YAIAA Division II)
Last Time: Gettysburg won 76-70
If you just glanced at both team's overall records, you'd probably think this matchup would be a fairly easy win for Gettysburg. And while the Warriors might still be the favorites, it's impossible to know which version of the team will show up on Friday.
After looking like a contender in Division II early on, Gettysburg has slipped in its past two games, getting blown out, 59-33, by Eastern York last Friday and getting upset, 51-45, by Susquehannock on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Trojans will enter Friday feeling confident coming off back-to-back wins over division opponents in Kennard-Dale and Dover.
Although the Warriors won by six on Dec. 8, they led by 19 points at half before letting the Trojans make it a game in the second half. Having just blown a nine-point halftime lead to Susquhannock, the Warriors can't continue to become complacent late in games. York Suburban will need to find a way to limit Marquise Camel and Max Lampe, each of whom scored 26 points last time.
Hanover (11-3, 7-1 YAIAA Division III) at Biglerville (8-8, 3-6 YAIAA Division III)
Last time: Hanover won 67-59 in OT
One of the top teams in Division III, Hanover has been far more consistent than Biglerville this season, but struggled with the Canners when the two teams met last. The Nighthawks trailed by three at halftime and needed to rally late to tie the game, 51-51, at the end of regulation before winning in overtime.
While the Canners are 6-2 in their last eight games, they're coming off an 80-47 loss to division-leading York Catholic on Tuesday. York Catholic may be more dangerous than Hanover, but the Canners will still need to be ready to play if they want to pull off an upset. A loss would be extremely disappointing for the Nighthawks, who are 2-2 in their last four.
Other Rematches: William Penn (8-6, 5-2 YAIAA Division I) at South Western (1-11, 0-8 YAIAA Division I) , Delone Catholic (6-8, 6-3 YAIAA Division III) at Bermudian Springs (2-12, 2-7 YAIAA Division III)
Both of these games were blowouts last time. Williams Penn won, 84-50, over South Western and Delone Catholic won , 58-36, over Bermudian Springs.