Forwards make mark in guard-driven area
Some of the top forwards and centers in Adams County talk about the upcoming season. Matt Allibone
Adams County has its share of talented guards, but there are also some very good big men
Take a look at the basketball teams in Adams County and it’s no secret what position most of the top scorers play.
Basketball has become an increasingly guard-driven game, and that’s certainly true for many local teams. But while guards like Kyle Krout of Hanover and Tavian Dorsey of Delone Catholic are among the top players around, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some excellent forwards in the area as well.
Biglerville head coach Steve Elsier knows this is true. Although the Canners are planning to lean on the scoring of guards Noah Ayers and Cody Shaffer this season, they also boast talented frontcourt players in Nick Bell, Dalton Cox, Conner Greist and Drew Riley.
A year after the Canners went just 7-15, Elsier believes that mix of frontcourt depth and backcourt talent will greatly serve Biglerville this season.
“We’ve had size in the past but we have size and skill now which is the difference,” Elsier said. “As far as size and strength, we do have an advantage. We don’t ask them to score a lot. We ask them to box out, rebound, screen and play help defense. But you can’t teach 6-foot-5.”
That 6-foot-5 frame belongs to Riley, who's just a freshman this season but will be expected to contribute. Elsier has kept an eye on Riley throughout his middle school years and said that he has “good hands and a lot of potential.”
Fortunately for Elsier, the Canners have a mentor for Riley in Bell. A 6-foot-3 senior and returning starter, Bell will be counted on as the team's top rebounder and defensive anchor.
“[Riley] does know a lot, as a freshmen he’s a pretty good player, but he’s still got a lot to learn,” Bell said. “It’s been nice knowing I can help someone develop into a good player.”
New Oxford coach Steve Bair was in a similar position to Elsier last season with talented 6-foot-4 freshman John Wessel. But while Riley will be eased into the Canners lineup, Wessel started right away and was counted on to play every position, including point guard.
Bair is hoping that won’t be the case this season, as the Colonials have a little more experience at guard which will allow Wessel to focus on playing forward. Still, the sophomore will be looked at as one of New Oxford’s go-to guys as the Colonials try improve on last season's 4-18 record.
Along with his height, Wessel brings good ball-handling skills and terrific long-distance shooting to the table, Bair said.
“He does everything,” Bair said. “Last year he played [point guard], this year he’ll be more on the wing, next year he’ll be our center. He’s a coach’s dream because he has a skill set that allows him to do so many different things.”
Like Biglerville, New Oxford has an experienced big man in Devon Duvall who has shown Wessel the ropes. A 6-foot-4 senior, Duvall led the Colonials in scoring last season at 14 points per game and is also the team’s primary rebounder and shot-blocker.
Unlike the Canners and most other local teams, the Colonials aren’t expecting to get a ton of scoring from their guards, meaning it'll be up to Duvall and Wessel to accept the responsibility.
“I don’t think most teams can really match up and guard us two-on-two,” Duvall said. “We have a little more experience at guard than last year. That’ll help in getting the ball to us in the post and stopping teams from being able to double us so much."
Another team that will get major production from the forward position is Delone Catholic, which has standout 6-foot-3 senior Bryce Mondorff returning a year after scoring 15 points per game and helping lead the team to a 12-12 mark.
The Squires are hoping to get scoring throughout the lineup from Dorsey and point guard Logan Alexander, but Mondorff is still the key guy. According to coach Lawrence Williams, what sets Mondorff apart is his ability to handle the ball while still being able to rebound and defend in the paint.
“We’re looking for him to do a lot of things for us, be a leader, be a scorer, be a defender,” Williams said. “We’ll go as he goes. Even if he’s not at his best, his worst is better than a lot of guys' best. He’s definitely a pleasure to have.”
Going into his second year as a starter, Mondorff said he feels much more comfortable now than he did at this time last season and is ready to be a leader.
“[Having experience] has helped immensely,” he said. “Last year as a junior I was scared, I was nervous. But now all the jitters are out and I think we’ll be alright.”