York Country Day boys win state playoff opener
York Country Day senior Jordan Ray dedicated his District 3 Class 1A championship to former York player Nagus Griggs, who died under tragic circumstances less than a year after winning a District 3 title.
When it mattered most, York Country Day had an easier option than Jenkintown.
The Greyhounds could drive the lane, almost at will, in a state tournament Class 1A first-round matchup Friday at West York High School.
Looking to pad its lead or hold off the most recent flurry from Jenkintown, York Country Day slashed toward the hoop to cash in for a 67-58 victory. York Country Day advances to play the winner of Notre Dame ES/Millville on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. It marks the second straight year the Greyhounds have reached the second round of the state tournament.
"A lot of senior leadership on this team, guys who have been here before," York Country Day coach Chris Charleston said.
The Greyhounds made it simple in the fourth quarter: Just drive to the rim. Of its first 12 fourth-quarter points, 10 came in the paint. Included in the mix was an emphatic dunk by DeAireus Brown with about 90 seconds to play.
Brown finished with a team-high 21 points, Jordan Ray added 15 and Jalen Gorham 14.
"We talked about it before the game ... in the second half we wanted to get to the rim more because they can't cover us off the bounce," Charleston said about his team's weapons off the dribble drive.
Jenkintown, meanwhile, needed to rely on Jameson Kolb to pick up turnovers and score in transition if it hoped to score in the paint. And while Kolb had success (game-high 25 points), it didn't happen with as much regularity as the Greyhounds' route to the rim.
The outcome rarely seemed in doubt. Despite Jenkintown keeping the game close at times, the Greyhounds never trailed.
"They don't panic when we get in situations that are tight," Charleston said of his senior-heavy unit.
York Country Day survived a series of Jenkintown challenges in the third quarter. Jenkintown closed within three points in the opening 75 seconds, but then the Greyhounds looked to put the game away, going on a 10-2 run.
After D.J. Hamilton knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:45, though, York Country Day opted to pull DeAireus Brown when he picked up his third foul.
Without having Brown on the floor, the Greyhounds struggled to score.
Brown returned to the court, and once again the Greyhounds took control of the action with Jordan Ray knocking down a big 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 10 once again with 1:03 left in the third. For his part, Brown rewarded coach Chris Charleston for his faith in the senior: Brown finished the game with three fouls.
"He's a smart basketball player, we rely heavily on 'D,'" Charleston said. "We understand as a coach he has three fouls, but it's a win-or-go-home game."
York Country Day jumped out to an early lead despite missing its first four shots of the game.
The Greyhounds held a 14-6 first-quarter lead in the opening quarter, but that cushion disappeared in the second quarter.
Jenkintown went on a 9-3 run to pull within one point, but Brown dunk to help push the halftime lead back to five points.
"We share the basketball and it makes it so much easier to withstand runs," Charleston said. "We really don't get frustrated. ... We will just keep attacking you."