York Country Day working toward postseason success
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Last year, the York Country Day boys' basketball team didn't suffer its first loss until the second round of the PIAA Class A tournament.
With a roster full of returning players from last year's District 3 Class A championship squad, this season's Greyhounds have already dropped three games.
But that doesn't necessarily mean they are regressing. Two of Country Day's losses came to bigger Class 2A schools (Columbia and Church Farm), and one came to District 4 Class A St. John Neumann Regional Academy.
"We bumped up our schedule. The three losses are to really good teams," head coach Corey Stiles said. "It's unfortunate that you lose those games, but those are three tough teams."
That tougher opening schedule is all in hopes of furthering the Greyhounds' postseason success.
"We talked about how every team on our schedule is going to give us their best game," Stiles said. "We just have to approach every game like it's a championship game. That's something that we stressed last year, and we are stressing again this year."
Last year, the Greyhounds finished the season at a program best, 23-1, won districts for the first time and saw their season come to a close with a loss in the second round of the state tournament to Phil-Mont Christian.
Country Day lost just one player to graduation from last year's team. They are led by the trio of Jordan Ray, DeAireus Brown and D.J. Hamilton.
"They have been doing really well. Jalen Gorham has been a big help. Those four guys have given us a huge boost," Stiles said.
For all the talent the Greyhounds feature and for as much as the team has played together, Stiles has still seen some room for improvement.
"We've had our times (of playing in rhythm). Sometimes it's been good, sometimes it's been bad," Stiles said. "We're still trying to learn how to play the right way with each other and play team basketball."
"We will be a great team once we start caring more about each other than ourselves, and once we start doing that we will start being a great team. Sometimes you see us and you think that team really plays together and sometimes you look at them and you think there are just five individuals out there."
The Greyhounds are currently 9-3 and ranked first in the District 3 Class 1A power rankings with about a month to go in the regular season.
Last year, Country Day took the top seed into the district tournament, but Stiles said that's not necessarily the goal this time around.
"Our goal is to make districts. If you get seeded one, two , three or four, it doesn't really bother us. It doesn't matter where we get seeded as long as we get to districts," Stiles said.
Even as the team has the bullseye on them this year as the reigning district champions, Stiles hasn't altered his approach.
"The way we approach regular season games is the same way we approach district and state playoff games," Stiles said. "There is a little bit more pressure in the postseason, because it's one-and-done and you have to win.
"If we approach every game like it's a championship game then when you get to the semis or a championship game, you are already used to it. We look at every game we play as a championship game. That will help us down the stretch. We don't change the way we practice or play."