Both teams enter the season as YAIAA tournament contenders
Opening night went smoothly for the New Oxford girls' basketball team, to say the least.
Taking on Bermudian Springs at home in the second game of Friday's tip-off tournament, the Colonials torched the Eagles, 71-14. New Oxford led by 25 after the first quarter, didn't allow a point in the third and got points from nine players. Needless to say, it wasn't much of a challenge.
Saturday, however, could be very different. The host Colonials will play York Suburban in the tournament championship game at 7:30 p.m. The Trojans opened the season with a 45-33 win against Gettysburg on Friday directly before New Oxford's game against Bermudian.
It should be an intriguing matchup and could be a preview of a league playoff game. Both teams bring back plenty of talent from last year and seem poised to challenge for division titles.
For the Trojans, it's a chance to prove they can beat an elite YAIAA Division I team. For the Colonials, it's an opportunity to prove they deserved the preseason hype.
"(The Colonials) are an excellent team, well-coached, and I anticipate them having a great season," York Suburban coach Jess Barley said. "Either way, as long as we're able to gain something from a tough game early on, then it's beneficial. We want tough games. We want to be tested."
Added New Oxford coach James Kunkle: "We better come out ready to play because I know they're going to hustle and come right at us and try to make a statement. We just need to stay in our comfort zone and hopefully we'll be fine."
The two teams met twice last season, with the Trojans winning the first game by three points and the Colonials taking the second by 14. York Suburban has three starters back from that team, while New Oxford has returned its entire lineup.
While neither team is focusing on what happened last year, New Oxford junior guard Presley Berryhill said her team feels prepared for Saturday thanks to the teams' familiarity with each other.
"They're a tough team, it's going to be a good competition," said Berryhill, who scored 11 points against Bermudian Springs. "We're a huge target but we just can't let that get to our heads. You're always going to have nerves but in my eyes that's a good thing."
Saturday's game will also be a good showdown between some of the league's best front court players. York Suburban's top two scorers are forward Ali Reinecker (16 points Friday) and center Parker Faircloth-Henise (eight points) while New Oxford has two athletic forwards in Kaelyn Long (16 points) and Haley Luckabaugh (10 points).
The Trojans will look to get more out of their bench after receiving all of their points from the starting lineup on Friday. Barley said the team suffered from opening-night jitters against Gettysburg — the Trojans scored just 16 points in the first half — but will hopefully get off to a fast start against New Oxford.
"We missed a lot of foul shots in the first half and a ton of chances near the basket," Barley said. "This group's been here before so they're very poised."