With the high school fall sports season coming to a close locally, it’s time to turn our attention to winter sports and, specifically, basketball.
Practices opened this past weekend throughout the YAIAA. Here’s a few things to keep an eye on, with the 2016-17 season fast approaching:
Northeastern boys’ basketball
The Bobcats always have explosive players on the roster and this year should be no different. Watch out for the athletic backcourt combination of Fred Mulbah and Antonio Rizzuto.
The team also figures to shake up the YAIAA with its move to the Division I ranks. The Bobcats should be able to push teams such as Spring Grove, Central York and William Penn, immediately. Dallastown, Red Lion and South Western should also be on the lookout entering the new year.
"I think that this year we're going to win county's," Mulbah said. "I respect all the teams and everything. But I just think, we're just different."
How far can Brooks carry Rockets?
There’s a Division I player in York County folks, and his name is Eli Brooks.
Brooks recently signed his National Letter of Intent to play college basketball at the University of Michigan. But now, his senior season on the high school hardwood awaits.
The Spring Grove point guard is anything but flashy – he’s understated by nature, and is in control on the court. But don’t overlook his ability – Brooks can pull up from deep, take it to the basket, is a fantastic passer and can hit the big shot.
On paper the Rockets bring back Brooks and an unknown supporting cast. With that being said, new contributors should emerge, and Brooks’ presence alone should make Spring Grove a contender in the YAIAA Division I race and the county championship as well. Last year, Brooks and the Rockets won the county title for the first time since 1971.
The Rockets won their first league title since 1971 behind Eli Brooks' huge fourth quarter. Brandon Stoneburg
Triggs back at York Suburban
Tom Triggs returns to the York Suburban sideline after successfully guiding the Trojans during a previous 13-year tenure at the school.
Triggs stepped down as head boys’ basketball coach at Suburban following the 2012 season. He collected 218 wins during his time there and won a District 3 championship during the 2008-09 season. He spent last year as an assistant at West York High School.
He returns trusty assistant coach Joe Hasenfuss to his coaching staff as well.
“We had some great teams during my tenure,” Triggs wrote in an email to GameTimePA.com. “It was a lot of fun coaching them.”
YAIAA girls' basketball
Who wins Division I?
The New Oxford Colonials bring back a veteran group, are headlined by senior forward Kaelyn Long and guard Haley Luckabaugh, who was a GameTimePA.com second-team all-star last season.
Last year New Oxford went 14-10 along with a 7-5 mark in YAIAA play. The Colonials will look to build off that in 2016 and have the look of a tough team.
Division I is wide open at the top. While the Colonials bring back a quality outfit, Central York also returns a quality roster headlined by Emma Saxton and Nikson Valencik. The Panthers also hope for a healthy return from sharp shooter Sarah Sepic by midseason.
And of course, there's Red Lion, which won YAIAA Division I last season. The Lions certainly figure to challenge once again.
Speaking of which...
Red Lion, Dallastown unknown quantities
New head coaches are both in tow here for the respective programs.
At Red Lion, Bill Novak takes over for Don Domiff. Dimoff made a name for himself not just as a high-quality basketball coach in the area, but also as an animated sideline leader. And while Novak brings experience to the table, he also promises to bring his own style to the table as well.
“He’s not Don, Don’s not him,” said senior Kynslee Shepherd. “But that doesn’t change us. We going to go out and give 110 percent.”
As for on the court, Dimoff’s daughter Courtney also departed — she'll continue her playing career at Millersville University this season. She provided the Lions with scoring punch last year — her two late free throws were the difference in Red Lion's 35-34 win over Central York in last year's YAIAA championship game. With that being said, the Lions do return five seniors to the lineup in 2016-17.
“It’s not about one player,” said Lions’ senior Hannah Wolf upon entering the new year. “It’s a team effort.”
At Dallastown, the program fired Mary Manlove, who had a good tenure with the Wildcats. Manlove compiled a 114-77 career record at the school, and was quickly hired by Palmyra after her dismissal.
Former Dallastown boys' basketball coach Jay Rexroth now takes over the reigns of the girls' program. A year after winning YAIAA Division I, Dallastown finished the 2015-16 season with a 5-17 overall record and 2-10 mark in league play.
Where does York Catholic stand in Division III?
Likely at or near the top once again.
The Irish have qualified for 11 straight District 3 championship games — their streak of 10 consecutive district titles was snapped last year in a 54-40 defeat to Camp Hill in the championship game.
The Irish bring back standout guard Kate Bauhof, one of the league's elite scorers.
Delone Catholic is another team to keep an eye on. The Squirettes return a big team including frontcourt players Catie Apgar (6-foot-2), Brady Zumbrum (6-foot), Jill Novak (6-foot) and Elise Knobloch (5-foot-8). Last year Delone Catholic finished with a 19-8 overall record and tied atop the YAIAA Division III standings with the Irish.