Putting a bow on the hoops season
With Gettysburg's state playoff loss to Philly powerhouse Neumann-Goretti on Friday, basketball season in the Hanover-Adams has officially wrapped up on the girls and boys side. It was a memorable season with plenty of story lines, however, so let's take a look back and give a few final thoughts before moving onto spring sports.
First up, the aforementioned Warriors of Gettysburg.
How fun was it to see Coach Bair's squad catch fire at the end of the season and reach the state playoffs for the first time in more than 30 years? The Warriors looked average before Christmas, then finished the regular season with 11 wins in the final 14 games.
"We smell chocolate!" chants rained down on the Warriors after their district win over Boiling Springs earned Gettysburg a tr
ip to the Giant Center for the first time in team history.
It was a special moment and well-deserved. The Warriors routinely ran out five guys who could shoot and handle the ball. They were a nightmare matchup for several teams down the stretch. Can the postseason run generate some buzz around the program moving forward?
Heartbreak for Hanover
As a reporter, you're objective. It doesn't matter who wins or loses. But even as a reporter, you had to feel for the Nighthawks boys team. To be knocked out of the district tourney by a 10-seed while three starters were forced to watch from the bench after fouling out? What a tough ending to swallow for the Nighthawk faithful. If Hanover played Columbia 10 times, the Hawks would probably win that game eight times.
Then to be denied a chance at states by Camp Hill in a game in which they led by double digits and where Dylan Krieger broke the school's all-time scoring record in his final quarter in a Hanover uniform was heartbreaking to see.
It's sad that three months of success and a 20-plus win season will be remembered by some by the losses at the end. But props to Nighthawk Nation. That student section showed up at home and on the road all season and were louder than any other student section.
How will the Nighthawks bounce back next season? They'll have to replace their all-time leading scorer - Krieger, their leading rebounder from this season - Jacob Rhodes, and their best defender - Cam Bosserman. Luckily for the Coach Myers and his staff, he'll get back his steady backcourt duo of Kyle Krout, who torched defenders in the postseason, and Will McQueen.
Spring Grove isn't exactly a traditional basketball powerhouse, but the boys team showed the YAIAA that it's no longer a cupcake on the schedule.
Two years removed from a two-win season, the Rockets reached the district playoffs for the first time in nearly 20 years and earned an opening round victory over Red Lion, who they defeated three times this season, before falling to the one-seed Cedar Crest in the quarterfinals.
James Brooks has built a program in Spring Grove that can maintain success for years to come, especially while his son, Eli, who is only a sophomore, continues to light up the scoreboard. The Rockets played small ball, but what they lacked in size, they made up for in confidence and shooting touch.
Brooks and junior Darin Gordon showed up night in and night out, but there always seemed to be a role player who stepped up each night.
Keep an eye on the Rockets next season.
Williams' inaugural season
The Squires were a young team. They lost their top two leading scorers before the season even started. Their head coach Lawrence Williams was in his first year at Delone and in his first year as a head coach.
What could've happened was a rebuilding year focused on developing young talent for next season in McSherrystown.
What actually happened was one of the more exciting story lines in the area. The young Squires rallied around their young coach and together, they pulled off a 12-12 season. Delone even snuck into the AA district playoffs where they knocked off rival York Catholic.
They were fun to watch, too. They left their shooting hand in the air if they drained a 3-pointer. They chest bumped with Williams on the sideline after big plays. They scored in bunches. They were scrappy and they got better as the season progressed.
The Squires should be back even better next season.
Other boys hoops notes:
-Despite a slow start, Bermudian Springs finished with a 12-10 record. The Eagles were the only team other than Hanover in Division III to finish above .500. Personally, I jumped off the Bermudian bandwagon after two early-season losses to Kennard-Dale, but they proved me wrong with a solid season. Credit the system. Credit the coaching staff. Credit the players still there who produced after the Eagles lost 80 percent of its scoring from a year ago.
-Fairfield's boys team increased their win total for the third-straight season by finishing 9-13.
-Littlestown boys hoops avoided the 0-for and managed to get a tally in the win column late in the season.
On the girls' side...
Tracy, Issac reach 1,000 career points milestone
During a three-week span in January, the Hanover-Adams area saw two standouts - Rebecca Issac (Biglerville) and Soukaina Tracy (Hanover) eclipse 1,000 career points.
Both were impressive for different reasons:
Issac, who averaged 16.7 points this season, was the first Lady Canners player to do so in 16 years. She helped carry the Canners to a district playoff appearance, where they fell to Camp Hill in the quarterfinals.
Tracy, who averaged 19.9 points, is only a junior and reached the milestone just a year and a week after tearing her ACL. She became the third girl in Hanover High School history to reach 1,000 points.
Tough ending for Comly, Squirettes
The Delone girls ran through the regular season, finished 21-7 overall and tied for first place in Division III. The Squirettes erased a double-digit deficit against York Suburban to earn their first league-playoff win in four years and followed that up with an upset win on the road over Dallastown to book a trip to the league title game.
That was the good news.
The bad news?
After erasing a double-digit deficit for the second time in a week, Delone lost a heartbreaker to undefeated West York in the league title game. Then they were upset by Camp Hill in double-overtime in districts while several starters, who had fouled out, were forced to watch helplessly from the bench. To add insult to injury, Trinity denied Delone a trip to states three days later by defeating the Squirettes in the consolation game.
New Oxford makes some noise
There was a logjam of good teams at the top of Division I and the Lady Colonials proved they were among the best, finishing with a 17-7 record.
New Oxford held off a late Harrisburg rally to pick up a win in the AAAA district tourney. The Colonials would eventually fall to one-seed Cumberland Valley, but it was already an impressive season for coach Mike Sanders' squad.
The Lady Colonials held opponents to 38 points per game and started the season 6-0. Sophomore Kaelyn Long led the team in scoring (10.9 points), free throws made (99) and free throws attempted (147). She should be a force in the division for years to come.