Sophomores Riley, Parker emerge for Biglerville
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For as long as he can remember, Biglerville coach Steve Elsier has had high hopes for Canner sophomores Drew Riley and Gavin Parker.
And in their second season as varsity players, they haven't disappointed their coach.
Both are averaging in double digits this season and have helped the Canners to a 12-9 record with one game remaining in the regular season. It's the Canners' highest win total in Elsier's eight years at the helm.
"Gavin and Drew have both grown so much since the start of the season. They're basically juniors now," Elsier said. "Drew's presence inside, I think, bothers teams a lot. He's got good touch around the basket, he protects the rim well on defense and he works hard to get better."
The duo has been playing together since they were in second grade and have been friends even longer.
Standing 6-foot-7, Riley had a huge impact in the Canners' 68-51 victory against Hanover on Friday night as the team continues its pursuit of a District 3 3A playoff berth. They entered the game holding the 10th and final spot.
Riley connected on 10-of-13 from the field and scored 23 points to go with 12 boards and five blocks, while Parker also popped a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
It marked the Canners' first win against the Nighthawks since 2007, when current Hanover coach Nathan Myers was still Biglerville's coach.
"I spent nine years here at Biglerville, three of them as head coach," Myers said. "I have a lot of good memories and relationships from my time here."
Myers credited senior Noah Ayers with being a driving factor in Biglerville's success this season. Ayers, who averaged 18.1 points per game a year ago and has scored 1,291 points in his career, has shifted more to a play-making role this year, rather than being the primary scorer, had 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists on Friday.
"The Ayers kid is super tough," Myers said. "He sets up a lot of stuff for them."
Elsier also had high praise for the senior.
"Noah's leadership has been big for us," Elsier said. "We have other guys that can score and he doesn't feel the pressure to carry the load like he has in past seasons."
Cody Shaffer, who checks in at a team-high 15.5 points per game, was held without a field goal in Friday's game, but he converted 8-of-10 from the foul line.
"It's nice to have Cody and Noah," Riley said. "They're a lot more experienced than Gavin and I, and they're very good free-throw shooters. That's big for us when we're trying to close out games late."
Friday's result was a stark contrast from the teams' first meeting. Then, Hanover earned a 69-44 victory after trailing by a point at halftime. Riley scored a season-low four points in that matchup.
"This was a big win for us," Parker said. "We lost to them the first time, in what was probably our worst game of the season, so we wanted to get revenge tonight."
With Shaffer, Parker, Ayers and Riley all averaging at least 10 points per game, the Canners are one of three YAIAA squads that can boast four players posting double digit averages. The others are YAIAA I champion Northeastern and YAIAA II champion Dover.
The loss ends Hanover's season at 11-11.
"I'm proud of the kids," Myers said. "They fought hard all year and had a good season given the lack of experience we had coming into the year."
Playing in his final scholastic game, Nighthawks senior Hunter Martz scored 21 points, while classmate Cole Gebhart had 10 points and 10 boards.