Prior to the start of this season, West York's boys' basketball players each received a team T-shirt with the motto "Success is a process" on it.
So far, the Bulldogs' "process" this season has involved quite a few nail-biting moments.
Of West York's seven games this season, four have gone into overtime. (One required two extra sessions.) All three of the Bulldogs' losses have come in overtime, to Hempfield, Red Lion and South Western.
On Thursday, West York narrowly avoided another such contest, when it held off a Manheim Township rally to win, 73-71, and take home its own holiday tournament title. The previous night, the Bulldogs (4-3) had beaten Eastern York in overtime, 72-69.
Certainly, there is a benefit to playing so many close games, so early in the season. Coaches find out a lot about their players. The players find out a lot about themselves.
Sure enough, West York coach Bill Ackerman had plenty of praise for his group after Thursday's win.
"What I’ve learned, and I learned this a couple weeks ago, is that I really like this group," Ackerman said. "I don’t care about the wins and losses. I know that sounds like a cliché, but with this group, they come to practice every single day. They don't always execute the way we want them to, but what team does? The fact that they want to execute -- that want in them, wanting to do well -- I haven’t seen that in a long time. And I’ve had some pretty good teams around here."
The Bulldogs do indeed have a solid core, which includes senior guard Luke Cable (20.4 ppg this season) and senior forwards Kaden Hepler and Ryan Lucas. Hepler scored 21 points against Manheim Township, while Lucas added 11 points and nine assists.
"I’m not going to compare them to any of the other teams because that’s not fair to them," Ackerman said. "But this is a unique group. They’re really fun to coach.
"We’re not successful yet, but the process is pretty fun so far. Nerve-wracking, but fun."