Looking back on the 2014-15 basketball season
So much for being rewarded.
The District 3 Class AAAA boys' basketball finalists found themselves matched up in the second round against Roman Catholic and Martin Luther King high schools, arguably the two best programs in the state. Roman Catholic and Martin Luther King were finalists from District 12 and talent-rich Philadelphia.
Depending on your school, you will likely remember this season for something different.
Go to York Catholic? It could be the unfathomable yet nice round number of 10 straight district titles for your girls' team. Or it could be how, for the second straight year, the boys' basketball coach is being ditched for what seems to be opposite reasons.
Was one too soft? The other too much of a yeller?
Goldilocks and the three bears comes to mind. Maybe now York Catholic can find the boys' coach that's just right.
If you're at West York, that's not a problem.
Darrell Wildasin proved to be the right navigator after Jon Shultz resigned after building a strong foundation with its girls' program. Wildasin was the first to admit he inherited a lot of talent before coaching the Bulldogs to 27 straight wins and a YAIAA title.
Those memories, 1,000-point marks for senior guards Kari Lankford and Emily Wood, plus Lankford's run at the school's all-time scoring mark will wind up etched into the memory bank.
There was Hilda Goodling Impact Academy. One season after replacing New Hope at West King Street in York, Impact won a Class A title under coach David Archer. Abruptly, the school withdrew from the state tournament and soon closed its school because of insufficient funds.
Of course, Troy Sowers' team at William Penn will be remembered for turning from Cinderella to two-time district champion. Few pegged an eight-seeded Bearcats squad to hoist gold last year in Hershey. Most did so this year with all five starters, plus junior point guard Montrel Morgan, on board.
Sowers said he will remember this team for being his first to win a District 3 and YAIAA tournament title in the same year. Crazy, considering the Bearcats have 12 district titles in program history — passing York Catholic for most by a York County boys' program.
But you don't have to be from Central York to remember how area communities rallied the last few weeks around Peter Falci. A senior point guard for the Panthers, he missed the last two games of his high school career after being diagnosed with cancer.
What will you remember from the 2014-15 season?
Here's a further look back:
By the numbers
3 — Number of District 3 champions for York County — William Penn and Impact Academy on the boys' side, plus York Catholic on the girls. Of course!
14 — Players who reached 1,000 career points this season in the YAIAA. The list includes: Ryan Beck (1,417), Dylan Krieger (1,408), Jahaire Wilson (1,219), Montrel Morgan (1,172), Sam Saxton (1,107) and Broguen Nicholas (1,095) on the boys' side. For the girls, Kari Lankford (1,377), Chyna Steele (1,273), Rebecca Isaac (1,205), Soukaina Tracy (1,089), Emily Wood (1,087), Hannah Laslo (1,072), Amari Johnson (1,051) and Payton Hauck (1,047) each reached the grand milestone.
Delone Catholic's Maddie Comly (1,648) reached the mark during last year's state tournament as a junior.
Eastern York's Nicholas, William Penn's Morgan, William Penn's Steele and Hanover's Tracy are slated to return next season. Red Lion's Courtney Dimoff and Northeastern's Jordyn Kloster are closing on the milestone for next season.
27 — Longest winning streak, owned by the West York girls. The longest boys' streak went to Northeastern, which started the season 17-0.
Five boys' games that shaped season
HANOVER 65, YORK CATHOLIC 60 >> Dylan Krieger set a new all-time scoring record at Hanover on Jan. 23, helping the Nighthawks rally past their YAIAA Division III rivals and passing Kevin O'Brien's 47-year-old record of 1,195 points. Krieger wound up finishing his career with 1,408 points.
CENTRAL YORK 75, WILLIAM PENN 64 >> The defending league champions kept William Penn from winning the Division I title on their home floor, but this marked the Bearcats' last loss until the state tournament. Sam Saxton's 29 points sparked Central, but the defeat pushed William Penn to a 13-game win streak.
WEST YORK 63, NORTHEASTERN 58 >> The Bobcats entered Jan. 27 undefeated at 17-0. They crushed West York in their previous meeting, but the Bulldogs prevented Northeastern from clinching the Division II title until a few days later. "We went undefeated my third year here," West York coach Bill Ackerman said, "and I can tell you, it gets heavy sometimes."
CENTRAL YORK 56, NORTHEASTERN 55 (OT) >> Teams needed their best effort to best the Bobcats, and Central rallied from a 17-point deficit on Feb. 11 to shock Northeastern in the league tournament semifinals. The Panthers didn't lead until Saxton's go-ahead free throw in the final seconds.
WILLIAM PENN 56, CEDAR CREST 53 >> To reach the Feb. 28 district final in Hershey, the Bearcats went through a regular season that started with a loss to Reading and included a one-point setback to Chester. Those games paid off by season's end, and Kristopher Johnson stepped in front of Cedar Crest's Evan Horn for a game-changing charge in the closing 12 seconds. For the second straight season, William Penn rallied to beat Cedar Crest in the final. "I was sitting at half court in the third quarter and just laughing to myself," junior guard Trey Shifflett said. "We were in the same situation as last year." Just like their 54-52 win in 2014, Johnson wound up the hero down the stretch.
Five memorable girls' games
BISHOP GUILFOYLE 68, DELONE CATHOLIC 66 (OT) >> Before Kyrie Irving scored an NBA-best 57 points last week, Maddie Comly set the mark for YAIAA teams this year with 46 in a Dec. 30 loss. The league's leading scorer at 22.8 points per game, Comly had five games of 30 points or more this season.
YORK CATHOLIC 54, DALLASTOWN 53 >> A back-and-forth matchup came down to the final seconds on Jan. 17 at York Catholic, as the trio of Japriya Carroll, Marissa Ressler and Hannah Laslo rescued the Fighting Irish. Their third straight win at the time, and a victory against a Class AAAA opponent, helped Class AA York Catholic push its way to another district title.
WEST YORK 47, DELONE CATHOLIC 35 >> The Bulldogs won their league championship at York College on Feb. 12, coming full circle after a loss two years earlier to Dallastown in the same game. West York won its 25th straight game behind Emily Wood's 18 points. "Two years ago, it was a really big heartbreaker to get all the way here and then lose," Wood said.
DALLASTOWN 40, RED LION 31 >> The Wildcats not only won the Division I title in the last regular-season league game Feb. 2, they also avenged a previous loss to their rival. Amari Johnson and Katie McGowan each scored 13 points in Dallastown's seventh consecutive win.
YORK CATHOLIC 63, CAMP HILL 57 (OT) >> To win its 10th straight District 3 Class AA title on Feb. 26 in Hershey, York Catholic first had to overcome a 14-2 deficit. Ressler admitted afterward the early score seemed daunting. Coach Kevin Bankos dismissed such a suggestion. "I don't doubt my kids," he said. "I don't doubt our team because I know they're prepared."
Final boys' top five
1. William Penn (26-5), 2. Northeastern (23-6), 3. Central York (20-10), 4. West York (18-8), 5. Spring Grove (15-10).
Final girls' top five
1. West York (29-2), 2. York Catholic (24-5), 3. Delone Catholic (21-7), 4. Dallastown (18-7), 5. Central York (18-6).
Contact Matt Goul at 771-2045.