Basketball season is finally here, as YAIAA teams open the season this Friday.
Here are ten must-see boys' basketball games in the York-Adams league for the upcoming season:
Dec. 4-5: Tip Off Weekend — The annual spread of four-team, two-day tournaments on the first weekend gives fans a first glimpse of what the season could hold. How much improved are key players from last season? Who are some surprise players no one saw coming? It's about finally getting out of preseason practices and getting on the big stage for the first time.
This season in particular offers a few intriguing matchups. At the York Suburban tournament, the Trojans take on Dallastown and West York faces Red Land — both interesting games. Reading, South Philadelphia and Williamsport all visit William Penn for the Bearcats' tourney and the Central York slate features Delone Catholic against Eastern York, then Penn Manor against the Panthers. What a way to start the season off right.
Dec. 8: Dover at Eastern York — Right out of the gate, we get an intriguing Division II battle. Last year, this game pitted high-scoring guards Ryan Beck (22.3 points) and Broguen Nicholas (20.4). The two teams split the series with each team winning at home and both games being decided by single digits. Beck is gone, but big man Najah Fink (11.1 points) is back manning the paint for Dover. Can Eastern handle his presence and can anyone slow down Nicholas?
Dec. 18: Northeastern at York Suburban — This one might have fallen under the 'also mentioned' category until this week when Northeastern students sparred with Trojan players on Twitter. There were a few jabs thrown each way, and one player promised to drop 30 points on the other. Not many high school games have that kind of trash talk three weeks in advance so this one should be entertaining at least. The two teams don't meet in Northeastern's gym until Jan. 22, but this Dec. 18 matchup could provide some fireworks. Keep an eye on the Chey Carter (15.4 points) vs. Kobi Nwandu (14 points) battle.
Dec. 23: Northeastern at William Penn — This one was circled almost right away when the schedule came out. What a great cross-divisional matchup between arguably the top two teams in the league, and we don't even have to wait until the league playoffs to see them square off? That's a solid Christmas gift from the schedule makers. These are two high-energy, fast-paced teams that have big expectations after stellar 2014-15 seasons. Expect a big crowd and a great game.
Dec. 28: McCaskey Christmas Tournament — Out of all of the holiday tournaments, this might be the most loaded field. Two of York's best teams — West York and William Penn — will square off with one of Philly's best — Lower Merion — and one of Lancaster's best — McCaskey. The Bearcats take on Lower Merion at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Bulldogs vs. McCaskey at 8 p.m. Grab some hot chocolate, hit the road to Lancaster, and watch some solid hoops action.
Jan. 5: Spring Grove at Red Lion — The Lions will be hungry for a little revenge after the Rockets beat them three times last season. The upstart Rockets won both regular season games by a combined 13 points, including a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in Spring Grove. Then the Rockets won at Red Lion in the postseason, giving Eli Brooks and his squad their first postseason victory in decades. Can Jason Rebuck and company turn the tables this season?
Jan. 8: Northeastern at West York — This will be the first head-to-head meeting of the season for two teams heavily favored to be at the top of Division II. Fans seems to be split on which team will actually win the division, but everyone seems to think it'll come down to the wire, making these matchups that much more important. These two squads split two games last season with Northeastern blowing the Bulldogs out at home, 77-35, then West York exacting a little revenge, 63-58, in their gym. The Bobcats will be in the midst of playing four of six on the road, and they have a rivalry game with Central York the next day.
Jan. 20: Delone Catholic at Hanover — Two schools separated by less than three miles that have a genuine distaste for each other. Last year, the two student sections spent the entire game chanting at each other. This will be the second of two meetings, but if last year's frenzied atmosphere is any indication, this should be a fun series. Hanover was the more dominant team last season, but had three key starters graduate, including the program's all-time leading scorer, Dylan Krieger. Delone is a team on the rise, and this could be the Squires year to knock Hanover out of the top spot in Division III.
Jan. 23: Mid Penn/YAIAA Boys' Basketball Showcase, at Gettysburg — Last year was the first time the two leagues participated in this showcase, and it was a highly entertaining day of hoops action. The Mid Penn took a 4-3 win behind narrow victories from Camp Hill and Bishop McDevitt. The matchups are a little different this season, but there are some good ones: Bermudian Springs vs. Camp Hill, Central York vs. Bishop McDevitt, Gettysburg vs. Waynesboro, New Oxford vs. Boiling Springs, South Western vs. Mechanicsburg, Spring Grove vs. Red Land and West York vs. Chambersburg. Can the YAIAA knock off the Mid Penn?
Jan. 29: Central York at William Penn — Easily one of, if not the, best basketball rivalries in the league, this game was certainly making this list. The Panthers and Bearcats squared off four times last season (William Penn 3-1), including twice in the postseason. Many of the players are very familiar with each other, the fan bases are familiar with each other, and they've seen each other often enough on the court to know what's coming. It's always a competitive game and an energetic atmosphere. Both teams will be plugging some new pieces in, but both have high expectations once again. And who knows? Maybe the division title will be on the line.
Bonus: Spring Grove at Delone Catholic, Jan. 30 — Just for kicks, this is a fun cross-divisional game for the last day of the regular season. That Eli Brooks-Darin Gordon vs. Tavian Dorsey-Bryce Mondorff battle will be fun to watch.
Other games to keep an eye on: Dallastown at Spring Grove, Dec. 11. West York at Dover, Dec. 15. Central York at Cedar Crest, Dec. 19. William Penn at Chester, Dec. 19. Eastern York at York Suburban, Dec. 22. Central York at Northeastern, Jan. 9. West York at Central York, Jan. 25.