YAIAA hoops season in review: Part 2
Despite what the title says, I guess this is really more of a look forward than backward. Regardless, between now and next December we'll have plenty to ponder when it comes to York-Adams League basketball. Here are a few places to start...
1. Can the York Catholic girls make it six in a row? The Irish's fifth straight trip to the PIAA Class AA title ended in defeat to an as-advertised Villa Maria side. But there are four big reasons to believe York Catholic can return to the Bryce Jordan Center again -- this is, the Irish return four starters from this year's team, including outstanding junior guard Kady Schrann. Replacing forward Brittany Hicks, a reliable scorer and emotional leader, will be difficult.
2. How will the Eastern York boys follow up this year's 31-1 campaign? It may not be as easy as people think. Departing seniors Luke Barto, Nathan Bollinger, Davin Zimmerman and Mark Bailey were all key contributors this year. Austin Tillotson and Andrew Nicholas can score all they want, but the Golden Knights will need a few heretofore unknowns to step up if another state run is in the cards.
3. Can the William Penn boys reload again? The Bearcats will return just one starter next year. Luckily, that starter happens to be their leading scorer, do-it-all junior Kelvin Parker. Still, coach Troy Sowers will have to break in an all-new group of guards, and several of this year's reserves -- like Zachary Newby and Willie Hicks -- will have to assume more prominent roles.
4. Can somebody step up and challenge the Bearcats in YAIAA Division I? There would seem to be a few candidates. Red Lion and South Western have young-and-improving rosters. Dallastown has Four McGlynn coming back. But the best bet might be Central York, which exceeded expectations in coach Marty Hasenfuss' first year. The Panthers have a young nucleus of players returning led by sophomores Tremaine Bowman, Kyle Wisner and Jalil Ford.
Though they're not in Division I, West York looks well-positioned to make some noise, as well.
5. Can Delone Catholic challenge York Catholic in girls Division IV? Before we crown the Irish again, let's recall that the Squirettes had a late lead on York Catholic in their PIAA semifinal this month. It was almost Delone Catholic boarding a charter to State College. Gerry Eckenrode's team will have plenty of muscle coming back, too, led by all-everything sophomore Sierra Moore.
6. Can the Red Lion girls carry the magic over to next season? One of the best stories to emerge from this postseason was the Lions surprising run to the PIAA Class AAAA semifinals. The Lions went 10-deep this season, and several key cogs from that group will be returning, including Giselle Truiett and Erica Maciejewski. An 11th straight Division I crown looks a good bet.
7. Will the York Catholic boys rebound after missing states three straight seasons? Leading scorer Joe Falci graduates, but four other starters returns, including Gary Laucks and Nick Full. York Catholic showed some signs of turning the corner this season, rebounding from an 2-8 start to finish 12-12. The Irish will have to wrest ownership of Division IV away from Hanover, which also returns a couple key parts from a squad that qualified for the state playoffs.
8. What happens to the West York girls? The Bulldogs were perhaps the best girls team in the YAIAA for much of the season, but will graduate eight players (five of whom started). In other words, should be a lot of new faces next year in Bulldog blue next season. Coach Jon Shultz has quite a challenge on his hands.
9. Which girls team will make a big jump? Besides York Catholic, Delone and Red Lion, the girls' basketball looks pretty wide open next year. Keep an eye on Kennard-Dale. The Rams return their two top post threats (Devon O'Kane and Sara Tarbert) and should get a few others back from injury. They may be the favorites in YAIAA Division II.
10. Can Andrew Nicholas break the YAIAA career scoring record? The Eastern junior finished the season with 1,842 points. The mark to beat is 2, 388, set by Jacob Iati (York Catholic, '07). If Nicholas kept up his average points per game from this season (22.3), it would take him about 24.5 games to break the league record. In other words, Nicholas has a pretty good shot.