Coaching change doesn't slow York Country Day's run to district final
York Country Day's Jordan Ray will host a Snapchat Takeover for the District 3 Class 1A boys basketball championship on Thursday.
Even though York Country Day went through a midseason coaching change, the Greyhounds' new head man admits the team's continued success has everything to do with familiarity and consistency.
Chris Charleston took over the Greyhounds boys' basketball team after Christmas break, when York Country Day began investigating an incident in which one of its boys' basketball players sustained an injury at practice. Head coach Corey Stiles, who coached the team to a District 3 championship and state tournament appearance in 2015-16, was placed on paid administrative leave. Charleston, an assistant and former boys' basketball head coach, took over the program.
Even though a change was made, Charleston noted, he knew the players, and they knew him.
Senior Jordan Ray had played for him as a freshman. And Charleston sat courtside as an assistant during the District 3 title game last season.
"Every step of the way, there's been consistency throughout," Charleston said, "with our players and with our coaches."
The Greyhounds (18-4) are back for a second straight title game. They will play Lancaster County Christian (20-4) at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Hershey's Giant Center.
"It feels a lot better this year, even though last year was the first time we won a title," Ray said. "We just want to prove we could do it again, because we heard a lot of people say last year was just a fluke.
"I'm pumped, and we're ready to go."
The title game serves as a rematch of last season's District 3 semifinal game, a showdown York Country Day won, 60-32.
"They are a very disciplined team," Charleston said. "If we get to the final again (in 2017), I thought we were going to have to ply them again."
York Country Day continues to be powered by DeAireus Brown, a returning all-state player who cracked 1,000 career points this season, and Ray, who became the school's all-time leading scorer. D.J. Hamilton runs the point, and the team added a slashing scoring threat in Trinity transfer Jalen Gorham.
The Greyhounds enter the title game as the top seed once again, although they have suffered four more losses than at this time last season, including an opening night loss to Columbia. But according to Stiles before he went on leave, that could be attributed to the program beefing up its schedule in the wake of last season's success.
The Greyhounds have also altered what they emphasize on the floor this year.
Charleston has attempted to push the team to establish its offense inside-out, meaning it wants to power through the paint instead of settling for perimeter shots early on. The 3-pointer is still apart of the Greyhounds' success, but Charleston wants to make sure York Country Day knows it has the ability to knock down high-percentage shots.
It all goes back to last season's District 3 title game. York Country Day struggled in the first half, falling behind Greenwood.
"In my opinion, we needed to get to the rim," Charleston said.
And in the end, it all worked out, a pair of dominating runs to seal the program's first district title.
Charleston has also tried to beef up the team's half-court defense.
"I've been stressing that," he said.
If you go
What: District 3 Class 1A boys' basketball championship game
Who: York Country Day (18-4) vs. Lancaster County Christian (20-4)
When: 4:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Giant Center, Hershey
Live: Follow live updates at GameTimePA.com.