Northeastern High School boys' basketball team won their first game in YAIAA Division I play Tuesday night at Red Lion. After playing for years in Division II, the Bobcats moved up to Division I this season and will play against the biggest schools. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
No other team in the York-Adams league has the issues Northeastern will need to overcome this season.
First off, there's the issue of players lost to graduation. Just looking at the stat sheet, graduated players accounted for more than 40 points per game and almost 20 rebounds a game from last season's 21-win team.
Then there is the whole issue of switching divisions, moving up from YAIAA Division II to the big-school Division I.
"It's a complete 180," Northeastern coach Jon Eyster said.
The Bobcats ran through Division II last season, playing as one of the smaller quad-A schools in a triple-A league schedule. Not accustomed to banging with bigger schools, Northeastern jumped into the District 3 tournament with less-than-stellar results — losing in the first round.
But before anyone feels sorry for the Bobcats, more than a few league coaches expect Northeastern to be the team to beat this season.
Northeastern won its first YAIAA Division I game Tuesday night, sprinting away with a 60-31 victory against Red Lion. Leading by just five points at halftime, Northeastern went on a 35-11 run to close the game.
It used its speed to score in transition. Antonio Rizzuto threw down a pair of dunks and just missed an acrobatic putback.
Still, the Bobcats' head man wants to see daily improvement.
The Bobcats don't appear to have any issue scoring, but they will need to do some serious work in the paint to win the rebounding and defensive battles.
"I don't know anybody we will be bigger than," Eyster said.
"If our guys that play below the rim are boxing out, we'll be OK. ... Then our high flyers can go and get the ball."
One of those players who will need to play against the bigger men in the post is Nate Eyster.
"I'm going to have to use my body," Nate Eyster said.
To contend for a title, the Bobcats will need to keep winning those positioning games in the post, and out-hustle opponents.