York County could flex its muscles after last season concluded. The YAIAA not only entered the District 3 Class AAAA tournament with the No. 1 seed from Central York, but William Penn went on to win the title in an unexpected run as the eighth seed.
The two also were finalists for last season's YAIAA tournament championship game and enter this season atop our boys' power rankings for the league.
1. William Penn (23-7 last season) -- The Bearcats return all five starters from that district run, including 6-foot-6 junior guard Kristopher Johnson, who knocked down the title-game winner. In addition to Johnson and Jahaire Wilson, now a three-year starter who brings a little bit of everything in the post, William Penn added two transfers: senior guard C.J. Boxley from York Suburban and junior guard Montrel Morgan from New Hope Academy.
2. Central York (24-5) -- First, the Panthers bring back last season's YAIAA Player of the Year for Divisions I and II, Sam Saxton. Then they have 6-5 junior Charlie Gingrich in the post. Add a seasoned point guard in Peter Falci and defensive catalyst in guard Jared Wagner, and Central has the ingredients to continue its stellar showing. The Panthers won their first league championship in 40 years last season when they beat William Penn for the title. Chances are, it won't take that long to happen again under fourth-year coach Kevin Schieler.
3. Northeastern (13-11) -- The Bobcats enjoyed the most productive offseason of any YAIAA team, impressing at Red Lion's summer league and Harrisburg's fall shootout. Coach Jon Eyster brings back most of his roster from what was a young team, including 6-5 Kobi Nwandu, 6-5 post presence Derrick Hoffman and perimeter shooter Donovian Maxfield. Northeastern also added senior guard Mike Coleman from New Hope, which closed in the spring.
4. Red Lion (19-6) -- The Lions have an interesting mix. They graduated 1,000-point scorer Michael Fox, who presented matchup problems with his 6-5 height and shooting ability. They bring back another capable scorer in Stone McCreary with junior forward Jason Rebuck. Guard Austin Huson also received acclaim from league coaches for his defensive tenacity. Then there's the graduation of point guard Evan Miller, who missed the last few games with his right shooting hand in a cast. Then, Red Lion got a taste of what life is like without him, and it could serve the Lions well entering this campaign.
5. West York (24-5) -- The Bulldogs returned to Giant Center for the first time since 2007, only to see their chances at a district title end on a buzzer-beater to Manheim Central. While West York graduated leading scorer Kevin Rice and others, coach Bill Ackerman has made a habit of digging deep into his bench. That means this season's team will have plenty of experience, including junior point guard Josh Bailey and junior rebounding machine Darian McCauley. Their experience gives the Bulldogs a nod in this first set of power rankings over Dover, which returns YAIAA leading scorer Ryan Beck, a Hanover team that made last season's District 3 Class AA final and tantalizing newcomer Gettysburg.
In contention: 6. Dover (10-12), 7. Hanover (19-8), 8. Gettysburg (15-8), 9. Eastern York (12-10), 10. Spring Grove (7-15).
While you're here, check out these two preseason videos of William Penn and Dover.