Watch the top high school basketball plays around the YAIAA from Jan. 14-20. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
The Eastern York boys' basketball team responded to Jon Reichard's return to the sidelines with a resounding win.
In a big YAIAA Division II game, the Golden Knights took down Kennard-Dale, 51-42, on Tuesday at Eastern York High School.
Reichard's return was the primary storyline entering the evening. The Golden Knights' head coach said he was away from the team for three games and two practices last week, but commented no further on his absence.
Eastern York athletic director Don Knaub and Supt. Darla Pianowski could not be reached for comment. When asked at Tuesday's game if Reichard had been suspended from the team, assistant principal Randy Seely declined comment.
Regardless, Reichard's return was a victorious one, as the Knights overcame the absence of a number of key players to move to 13-4 on the season and 7-2 in YAIAA Division II.
Kennard-Dale dropped to 8-10 on the season and 5-4 in YAIAA Division II play.
While senior forward Jared Achterberg went down two weeks ago for Eastern York with a torn ACL, Reichard confirmed that Ryan Harmer was out with concussion problems and migraine headaches. When asked if Seth Bernstein was out due to the flu, Reichard responded, "That's what I'm hearing. Don't know."
"I can't say it loud enough: I'm extremely proud standing here with a grin ear-to-ear because I know what these kids are capable of if we just give them some time," Reichard said following his team's win. "I'm very, very happy for them."
It was a gut-check performance from the Golden Knights when considering three starters were out of the lineup.
While Dom Particelli led the way with 14 points and Evan Springer scored eight, a number of others stepped up. Particelli said 10 players got into the game, and the team had crisp offensive ball movement from the opening tip.
"We were just happy to have our coach back," Particelli said. "Real excited for that."
Sophomore Stephen Wisler scored 13 points and freshman Trevor Seitz added eight. Bryce Henise drilled a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to give Eastern a 43-36 lead, and Reichard also pointed to contributions from freshman Kaleb Corwell and sophomore Demonte Martin.
"That's what I was working on prior," Reichard said of practice time leading up to his absence. "It takes a while and people need to be patient because we are so young. ... We were trying to get guys to get their feet wet. ... Some of these kids grew up tonight."
The Golden Knights also held Kennard-Dale junior standout Adam Freese to 11 points, with just three coming in the first half. In turn, Eastern York took a 25-20 lead at intermission
"He had to work hard for that 11, I'll tell you that much," Reichard said.
Kennard-Dale, on the other hand, is one of the YAIAA's surprise stories under head coach Jake Roupe. Ironically, Roupe is a teacher at Eastern York, so Tuesday's game was a homecoming of sorts for the first-year head coach.
The Rams still had a competitive showing despite starting four juniors and a sophomore. Jordan Day and Donnell Williams also scored 11 points apiece for the Rams, with nine of Day's points in the first half.
"Walking with the guys in the halls, seeing them every day, there's been a lot of talk between me and them," Roupe said of him and the Eastern York players during school hours. "The game meant a lot, regardless of where I teach. It was a big division game...We came in and played hard. We just weren't the better team tonight."