York could claim the title of City of Champions during the last two seasons, with big-school William Penn winning back-to-back district titles and boys’ basketball teams from York charter schools New Hope Academy and then Hilda Goodling Impact Academy winning District 3 Class A championships.
New Hope and Impact Academy have closed their doors, the former just days after winning last season’s district title and forfeiting a trip to the state tournament.
York teams playing outside the YAIAA, however, could still figure in the district tournament and even contend for titles this year.
The Christian School of York’s girls’ team reached the Class A final a year ago, and the Crusaders return eight key players, including all five starters, from their loaded roster from a year ago. Forward Kaitlyn Hess is one of the team leaders and shooting guard Alexis Landis will once again be the 3-point threat. Sophomore Kendis Butler will return to run the point. She earned All-Conference honors as a freshman.
On the boys’ side, York Catholic graduate Corey Stiles is back for his second season at the helm of York Country Day. The Greyhounds won just five games last season, but York Country Day is improving and could push for a district tournament berth with top scorer Jordan Ray (23 points per game) back in the fold.
Other boys’ teams
Christian School of York Crusaders
Coach: Jerome Malerich (3rd season, 8-35)
2014-15 record: 6-16 Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference
Returning starters: Sean Graybill (5-foot-9, Sr., G); Nathan Taylor (5-10, So., F)
Others to watch: Ben Trout (5-9, Sr., G); Josh Freeman (5-8, So., G); Kyle Stump (5-6, Fr., G)
The skinny: The building process continues for the Crusaders, but there are some promising signs. A year after injuries and a lack of depth forced the Crusaders to dress just seven players, the roster size has doubled. The program also has seen significant growth at the junior high level, Malerich said. Still light on experience, the Crusaders welcome back co-captain Trout after recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Look for the team to continue to develop, with the program on the cusp of some positive results in the near future.
Red Lion Christian Swordsmen
Coach: Dave Klinedinst (20th season, 343-195)
2014-15 record: 16-9, reached the regionals in KCEA Class AAA tournament
Returning starters: John Keenan (6-foot-2, Sr., F, 7.9 points); Zach Fahs (5-7, Sr., G, 8.6 points); Tate Pendell (6-0, So., G)
Others to watch: Myles Willard (5-11, So., G/F); Robert Engelstad (6-1, So., F); Phillip Hess (5-11, Sr., F)
The skinny: Red Lion Christian will miss Jake Myers’ scoring touch, but the Swordsmen should have an opportunity to reach the KCEA regionals this season – or even reach the final four of the KCEA state tournament. Fahs and Pendell earned a lot of experience last season, so the backcourt should be solid. Post play and rebounding will need to be filled by some of the newcomers.
York Country Day Greyhounds
Coach: Corey Stiles (second season, 10-22)
2014-15 record: 5-11
Returning starters: Jordan Ray (6-foot-3, Jr., G, 23.0 points); Tom Wymard (6-2, Jr., C, 11.0 points); Lance Gertz (5-7, Jr., G)
Others to watch: DeAireus Brown (6-1, Jr., G); Cameron Sanders (6-4, Sr., F); D.J. Hamilton (5-8, So., G)
The Skinny: The Greyhounds return almost every single player from last year, so the squad should be improved from the aspects of leadership and experience. They also bring in transfer DeAireus Brown, who averaged nearly 10 points per game as a junior at Northeastern last season. The Greyhounds could be looking at their first winning season after the young core has developed while posting back-to-back 5-11 marks. Stiles expects the program, which plays an independent schedule, to make a run at the District 3 Class A tournament.
Other girls’ teams
Christian School of York Crusaders
Coach: Mike Graybill (21st season, 11th at CSY)
2014-15 record: 21-8 Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference
Returning starters: Kaitlyn Hess (5-foot-5, Sr., G/F); Alex Landis (5-10, Sr., G); Bailey Stauffer (5-6, Jr., F); Mekenzie Smith (5-7, So., G/F); Kendis Butler (5-4, So., G)
Others to watch: Nicole Shelton (5-4, Jr., G); Kathryn Larson (5-3, Jr., G); Hannah Martin (So., G/F)
The skinny: Coming off a state tournament appearance and a runner-up finish in the District 3 Class A title game, look for Christian School of York to have another postseason run. All its starters return for a squad that lost to district powerhouse Lebanon Catholic, 40-20, in the district championship.
Red Lion Christian Lady Swordsmen
Coach: Dave Klinedinst (21st season, 403-120)
2014-15 record: 17-10
Returning starters: Liz Baker (5-foot-6, Sr., G, 8.1 points); Tabitha Garner (5-4, Sr., G); Destiny Hollingshead (5-6, So., F, 11.7 points); Allie Damiano (5-1, So., G)
Others to watch: Machaela Kury (5-7, So., F); Jasmine Barthel (5-9, Jr., F)
The skinny: Red Lion Christian returns some of its top scorers, including Hollingshead (316 points scored as a freshman). But the team did lose its rebounding presence to graduation. The team should be quicker than last season, but rebounding and low-post defense could be a concern.
York Country Day Greyhounds
Coach: Chris Charleston (5th season, 65-19)
2014-15 record: 17-5 independent
Returning starters: Kirstyn Evans (5-foot-10, Jr., F); D’Shanna Edwards (5-7, Jr., F); Stephanie Waltersdorff (5-5, Sr., G)
Others to watch: The Greyhounds will need younger players from their junior varsity team to step up and fill some of the holes on the varsity roster this season.
The skinny: A Class AAAA team because of its co-op with York County Tech, it could be a challenging season for the Greyhounds. One of the big losses in the offseason came with the transfer of point guard Madey Zania Redman to William Penn. But coach Chris Charleston returns a three-year starter in Edwards and a four-year starter in Waltersdorff.
“I think it will be interesting to find out because that point guard role is critical,” Charleston said. “I think that’s going to be one of the reasons why we will either do well or take a step or two back. It’s going to be a question of finding someone to fill that leadership role and step into that role.”