Hoops showcase helps fuel postseason hopes
Events like Saturday's War of the Roses basketball showcase at West York High School offer high school basketball junkies a heavy slate of action.
But for the teams involved, it's not just a fun-and-games exhibition. Saturday's showcase pitting six YAIAA boys' teams against six from the Lancaster-Lebanon League also served an important purpose.
"Games like this are great for the kids," Eastern York coach Reichard said after his team beat Warwick, 74-59, in Saturday's opener at West York. The Golden Knights earned their eighth straight victory behind 25 points from Jared Achterberg.
"We can gauge ourselves on what the other counties in the district are doing," Reichard said. "We played Warwick (on Saturday) and they played McCaskey to the buzzer (on Friday) night. So we can gauge where we are at and where we are going. I just told them that in the locker room."
And then there are the ever-important District 3 power rankings, which determine who makes the cut for the district playoffs. The rankings are based on a combination of each team's weighted winning percentage, combined with its opponents' weighted winning percentage.
Warwick is a Class 6A school, so 4A Eastern York benefits slightly more for that win than if the Knights beat a small school — at least as long as Warwick can be competitive.
"Everybody is keeping an eye on the power ratings," Reichard said. "It's just the nature of the beast today. This is the crazy part of it. When you play somebody, you then have to root for them after you play because their winning percentage helps your ranking go up."
The higher the classification of the school, the greater the value of the win. The lower the classification of a school, the more a loss counts against you.
"Our problem has been we are 4A and we've had some trouble getting schools to play us because of our success the past few years," Reichard said. "Sometimes, you have to throw that away. I think Dallastown, Eastern, Red Lion, we should all be playing each other. Those types of local games, everybody comes to the games and everybody is into it. Now, we have to go find people."
Dallastown, meanwhile, falls in the highest classification of 6A. There are only 21 other similar-sized schools in District 3, and just three other 6A schools in the YAIAA: Central York, Red Lion and York County Tech.
"Any 6A game we can get, we will take," said Dallastown coach Mike Grassel, who grew up in Elizabethtown. "We are at a disadvantage in York County when it comes to 6A. (Saturday's win against Penn Manor) was our third game against a (non-league) 6A this year. We played Manheim Township and Central Dauphin. We also played Elizabethtown, but they are a 5A. Not all of (the 6A) schools want to play you, for various reasons. It can handicap you."
To that end, Dallastown's 44-42 win against Penn Manor was important for the Wildcats. In the second game of the day, the Wildcats got two free throws by Donovan Catchings with 16.2 seconds remaining to snag the victory.
Grassel said Dallastown didn't participate in a preseason or a holiday tournament, opting instead to focus on scheduling single games with 6A opponents.
"I want to give our guys the best chance possible to make districts," Grassel said. "We finished just outside (of the rankings cutoff) the past few years and we wanted to make sure that doesn't happen again."
Reichard said one rivalry game Eastern York keeps on the schedule is against Columbia, a Class 3A school just across the Susquehanna River. Columbia is off to a 9-2 start this season. The two teams meet Jan. 22.
"We keep that one because of the rivalry," Reichard said. "We know the gym is going to be full of people screaming and yelling and the kids need to play in that kind of atmosphere.
War of the Roses results
Eastern York 74, Warwick 57: Jared Achterberg poured in 25 points to lead the Golden Knights to their eighth straight win.
Dallastown 44, Penn Manor 42: Donovan Catchings sank two free throws with 16.2 seconds left to deliver the victory.
Hempfield 54, Red Lion 35: Hempfield opened up a 26-15 lead at halftime and cruised to the win.
York Catholic 70, Lancaster Catholic 60: The Fighting Irish used a 21-point second quarter to hand the previously unbeaten Crusaders their first loss. Torrey Thomas came off the bench to score nine of his 12 points in the second quarter, and D'Andre Davis scored a team-high 15 points.
Central York 74, Conestoga Valley 65 (OT): Courtney Batts sank a layup in traffic and went to the line to finish the 3-point play with 18.9 seconds left, to help force overtime. Batts finished with 23 points for the Panthers, who scored 18 points in overtime.
West York vs. Manheim Township, 7:30 p.m.
Manheim Township 72, West York 65 (OT): Tyler Crespo scored a game-high 29 points — including nine in overtime — to help the Blue Streaks overcome West York's dramatic finish to regulation. Trailing by four in the final seconds, West York's Dayvon Cortez went to the line to shoot three free throws with 1.2 seconds left. He sank the first two free throws and purposely missed the third as Kenton Meckley jockeyed across the lane and leaped to tip in the game-tying bucket as the buzzer sounded.
Meckley scored a team-high 25 points.