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Central York boys fall in behind leader, captain

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Senior Courtney Batts is an integral part of the Central York boys’ basketball program.

It’s more than just the X's and O's. Panthers head coach Kevin Schieler, who interacts with Batts daily, sees that.

“Courtney has done such a great job growing up as a young man and he’s really trying to pick up on little things that can make him a better leader,” he said after Tuesday's 63-54 victory against William Penn. “That’s helped us get better as the season went on.”

Before the 2016 season, Batts' teammates selected him to be one of Central York’s three captains. After the vote, Schieler said to him, “if you would’ve told me this at the end of your sophomore year, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

But Batts’ leadership shows, especially on the basketball court.

“During practice, we try to pull our guys aside and tell them little things that they need to work on,” Schieler said. “In Courtney’s case, he has done a nice job of improving his jump shot over the years. … He’s very attentive and does his best to try and fix the things we tell him.”

Come game time, Batts and his teammates are mentally ready. That process begins before the final school bell sounds.

“Coach tells us to focus on our priority heading into that (specific game),” the senior said. “We keep that mentality throughout the whole day.”

Batts’ focus and mentality has certainly paid dividends. He’s a threat on the hardwood — able to make just about every shot in the book. Most recently, against William Penn, Batts knocked down two 3-pointers, three jumpers and four free throws.

Looking back further, including the game on Tuesday night, Batts has scored 10 or more points in five of his last six games, averaging 13.6 points per game.

“We try to get each one of our teammates open … drive and kick,” he said. “We do our assignments and look for the open player every time.”

His contribution on and off the court is certainly a reason for the Panthers’ success. After a win against New Oxford Friday, the Panthers are in sole possession of third place with an 8-4 YAIAA Division I record. Overall, the team is 13-7.

Playoffs are right around the corner and the Central York boys are as ready as ever. They sit in the No. 10 spot in the the power rankings for District 3 Class 6A, a bracket where only the top 12 advance to the postseason. When Batts was asked about his expectations moving forward, his answer was, once again, selfless. But this time, short and to the point.

“We are gonna do what we gotta do,” he said with a smile and laugh.