It all ended before you could blink last Friday. One night. Three state quarterfinal losses. And suddenly, basketball season in York and Adams Counties was over. Along with it went the careers of a few very celebrated senior players. On one half of the state, Eastern York's Andrew Nicholas and Austin Tillotson played out the final moments of their high school careers in a loss to South Fayette. On the other half, Kady Schrann saw her York Catholic team came up one point short in an out-of-nowhere upset against Mid Valley. This is how it works every year. Teams lose. Seasons end. Tears are shed. After a while, players and programs move on. The high school basketball machine keeps churning forward, and so do we. But perhaps we should pause for a second to peek back, and try to put into perspective a senior class like few that have come through the area in some time. ***** The arguments are out there. High school teams play more games than they ever. The 3-point line has inflated scoring. More players see the court as freshman than they did 10 or 20 years ago. They all have some merit. No matter how you slice it, high school basketball players are scoring more points these days. More players are reaching the magical 1,000-point milestone than ever. Scoring records are broken and re-broken, it seems, every few years. But still, the sheer depth of talent in this class seems extraordinary. Consider: - Dallastown's Four McGlynn (1,852 points), a Vermont signee, who became the YAIAA's all-time leading Class AAAA boys' scorer despite playing in well under 100 games. - York Catholic's Schrann (2,162), a Vanderbilt recruit, who may go down as the best girls' player ever to come out of the area. - The Eastern York tandem of Nicholas and Tillotson, both Monmouth commits, who combined to score 4,367 points in their four years together. Nicholas' YAIAA record 2,504 points should stand for at least a few years, and perhaps many more after that. And those are just the Division I talents. Toss in William Penn's Kelvin Parker, perhaps the best player in the area this season and the Bearcats' all-time leading boys' scorer. Then there are Hanover's Pete Yingst and York Suburban's Kevin Donahue, gifted scorers who carried their teams through stretches of the season. The list goes on and on... It's likely not a coincidence, then, that the YAIAA had its best District 3 tournament showing ever, producing four of the eight champions and seven of the 16 finalists. That sort of across-the-board success is unheard of in these parts. And yet, it will end without a league representative competing for the state's biggest prize. For the first time in nearly a decade, the YAIAA will not send a team to PIAA championship weekend in State College. Even the seemingly unstoppable Fighting Irish girls -- veritable locks for the title game these past few years -- were tripped up by a hot-shooting team from District 2. One more reminder of how fickle this time of the year can be, and how great individual talent doesn't always guarantee ultimate success. ***** Of all those individual records and milestones, none will resonate quite like Nicholas'. Yes, the 6-foot-6 shoots the ball a lot. OK, a whole lot. And at times this season, Nicholas' jump shot seemed to abandon him. But consider all the factors that go into scoring 2,504 points. You have to start all four years. You have to be healthy all four years. You have to be on good teams all four years. (All those extra playoff games add up.) Most importantly, you have to be productive all four years. So while part of Nicholas' record certainly owes to luck and circumstance, a even greater part owes to the sheer consistency of his own play -- that he could sustain that scoring through four years of high school basketball. And yet his career -- like that of many high school basketball players -- ended in frustration. Nicholas was battered throughout Eastern York's loss to South Fayette last Friday in Hollidaysburg. He shot 4-for-15 for 16 points, and sustained a cut on his chin in the second quarter. Nicholas' regular No. 54 was bloodied from the gash, and he finished the game wearing an extra No. 50 top the team had lying around. When it was over, Nicholas was one of the last to leave the Golden Knights locker room, and one of the first to board the team bus, which was idling outside the lobby. Nicholas, of course, will head to Monmouth in the fall. He will move on. So will the rest of the seniors that helped make this class one of the brightest to come through the area in some time. Meanwhile, the high school basketball machine keeps churning forward, and so do we. ***** What are your thoughts? Where does this group of seniors rank in recent history? Weigh in with your own opinions in the comments section.
Reflections on the 2011 basketball class...
Zach Miller, zmiller@GameTimePA.com | 8:31 PM Jul 19, 2016
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