Senior Tavon Parker is one of York High’s two returning starters. He averaged 12.9 points a game last year for the Bearcats, who won 24 games and the
Senior Tavon Parker is one of York High's two returning starters. He averaged 12.9 points a game last year for the Bearcats, who won 24 games and the York-Adams League tourney. Parker is playing a new position this season, shooting guard. (File photo)

York High basketball standout Tavon Parker received some valuable tips from his big brother, Kelvin -- ones he'll use on and off the court.

"The biggest attribute I learned from my brother is to be humble, be hungry and play a complete game," Tavon Parker said. "My brother made all-state, but he didn't talk trash. He stayed humble. Many times, people just look at who scored the points. But they don't look at who made the pass, who made the steal, who grabbed the rebound."

Kelvin Parker did all those things for the Bearcats. He completed his high school career in 2011 by leading York High to the District 3-AAAA championship.

Parker is currently playing on an NCAA Division I scholarship at Mount St. Mary's.

Senior Derek Wilson is one of York High’s two returning starters. He averaged 10 per game for the Bearcats, who won 24 games and the York-Adams
Senior Derek Wilson is one of York High's two returning starters. He averaged 10 per game for the Bearcats, who won 24 games and the York-Adams League tourney. (File photo)

Tavon, a sophomore on the 2010-11 team, is preparing for his final high school season. He and another senior, Derek Wilson, are York High's two returning starters. Parker averaged 12.9 points a game last year, and Wilson scored 10.0 a game for the Bearcats, who won 24 games and the York-Adams League Tournament. Both measure 6 feet, 2 inches.

"My sophomore year was the only year I had a chance to play with my brother," said Parker, who's visited three colleges, Mount St. Mary's, Bloomsburg and York, but hasn't picked a school yet. "I wouldn't mind having another chance."

Parker is playing a new position this season, shooting guard, but the switch shouldn't present any major problem.

"The two (shooting guard) is my natural position," he said. "Last year, I stepped in and played the one (point guard). The two will give me a chance to be off the ball more and free my teammates up for off-the-ball screens."

York High coach Troy Sowers, who's been coaching for 21 years, said that Parker is the player he'll remember the most.

"We think alike, and he sees things I see," Sowers said. "He texts me all the time. His leadership skills are insane, he leads by example, and in crunch time, he comes through big time."

Troy Sowers returns as York High boys’ basketball coach. Sowers has been coaching for 21 years.
Troy Sowers returns as York High boys' basketball coach. Sowers has been coaching for 21 years. (File photo)

Parker and Wilson, who can play above the rim, form a dynamic one-two combination.

"Derek is even more athletic this year," Sowers said. "He's fine-tuned his jump shot, and he's still way above the rim."

Wilson will have to chance to play with his brother this year. Jahaire Wilson, a 6-3 sophomore, is in the starting lineup.

"I can't wait to see what he can do," Derek Wilson said. "He really didn't like basketball at one time, but all of a sudden, basketball popped up. He grabs a lot of rebounds, hustles down in the paint, and he's a good finisher."

Stephen Dickson and Ramel Stephens are the other starters.

Northeastern s Khalid Nwandu, right, a slick 6-2 guard who recently committed to play for NCAA Division I Mount St. Mary s, will return for the Bobcats
Northeastern s Khalid Nwandu, right, a slick 6-2 guard who recently committed to play for NCAA Division I Mount St. Mary s, will return for the Bobcats after averaging 16.8 points per game last season. (File photo)

"Stephen moved into York City over the summer," Sowers said. "He's a pass-first point guard who plays sticky defense. Ramel is probably the most improved player I've had going from his junior to senior year. He'll play the three (small forward) or the four (power forward)."

When Sowers goes to the bench, he'll be able to go very big with 6-8 Davante Jackson and 6-4 Ohsajid Beard.

"We just want Davante to rebound and make some layups," Sowers said. "He's developed an understanding of the outlet pass. O Beard is 6-4, 200-some pounds, He's a grown man inside."

DaiQuest Casiano is the sixth man.

"He would start on any other team," Sowers said. "Because we run the floor so much, the sixth man is a major part of our team."

Sowers' team, like most of the other York-Adams Division I teams, has to replace a number of key players from last season.

"No one brings an entire team back," he said. "Dallastown and Central (York) lost a lot, but they both had good JV teams. South Western returns two solid players (Parker Bean and Mike Duffy). They understand what you have to do to win a championship. Red Lion is big (tall)."

The faces may change at York High, but the goals remain the same.

"We want to win our division, win counties, win districts and make a state run," Parker said.

DIVISION I

South Western couldn't get past York High a season ago, finishing just one game behind the Bearcats in the Division I regular season and losing to York High in the York-Adams League Tournament title game.

Still, South Western enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in school history, finishing 21-5 under fifth-year head coach Nate Brodbeck, before a disappointing first-round loss to Elizabethtown in the District 3 playoffs.

This year, the Mustangs will attempt to break through for a title behind their two leading scorers from last year -- 6-5 Parker Bean (14.1 ppg) and 6-0 Mike Duffy (10.7 ppg).

South Western will have to find replacements for Mike Felton, Jamahn Lee, Rafe Sanders and Tyler Conaboy, who combined for about 25 ppg last year.

Dallastown took third in Division I a season ago, finishing 14-10 overall. But the Wildcats lost a significant amount of talent from that team, including all five starters. The Wildcats' top returning players are Mitch Small (4.2 ppg) and Ben Doorn (3.5 ppg).

"After losing eight seniors, three of whom are playing basketball at the next level, we will be extremely young and inexperienced," Dallastown coach Michael Grassel said. "We have a talented group of guards who are athletic, can shoot and will get after it on the defensive end."

Grassel, 29, is a first-year varsity head coach taking over for Troy Smeltzer.

Central York tied for fourth in the division last year with Red Lion. The Panthers finished 13-11 overall.

Corey Hartz, who was a standout quarterback on the football team this past fall, is Central's top returning player after averaging 5.7 ppg last season.

The Panthers, however, will have to replace a boatload of production, including Tremaine Bowman (15.1 ppg), Spencer Ortmyer (13.4 ppg) and Jalil Ford (8.4 ppg).

Red Lion finished 12-11 overall a year ago, but the Lions must replace Jordan Jackson (11.0 ppg), Erik Althoff (10.3 ppg) and Austin Kerchner (8.7 ppg), who graduated.

Their top returning player is Mike Fox, a 6-5 forward, who averaged 10.4 ppg as sophomore. Blake Cahill, a 6-6 junior who is the QB on the Red Lion football team, will combine with Fox to provide the Lions with good size.

"I like our team," Red Lion coach Steve Schmehl said. "We only have one returning guy (Fox), but it's a good group of kids who have played together for a while. We only have one senior (6-1 guard Kevin Hutchinson), but we have some size."

Spring Grove will look to bounce back this season after an 0-22 campaign a season ago.

Logan Hagerman, an excellent receiver on Spring Grove's highly successful football team, returns after leading the Rockets in scoring a season ago at 8.0 ppg. Colton Crouthamel, at 6-4, led the team in blocked shots and rebounds in 2011-2012 and averaged 6.0 ppg. And Nick Spangler (5.0 ppg) is back after pacing Spring Grove with 55 3-pointers a season ago.

The Rockets should also get a boost from Matt Kline, who is returning from an ACL injury, and freshman Darin Gordon.

"We have more experience than last year, so I think we will handle adversity in a mature way this season," Spring Grove head coach Ryan Luckman said.

DIVISION II

Dover (19-10 last year) will attempt to repeat as Division II champion, but the Eagles will have to do it without their two leading scorers from a season ago -- Jerell Figueroa (17.2 ppg) and Brandon Smith (12.9 ppg). Connor Snyder also took his 9.0 ppg with him when he graduated.

Josh McMahon, who stands 6-5, will likely lead the way for Dover after averaging 9.9 ppg a season ago.

Brian Schmoyer, who is entering his eighth season as Dover's head coach, may get some added size this season from 6-6, 250-pound freshman Najah Fink.

Northeastern took second in the division last year and finished 17-10 overall.

Khalid Nwandu, a slick 6-2 guard who recently committed to play for NCAA Division I Mount St. Mary's, will return for the Bobcats after averaging 16.8 ppg in 2011-2012. Braheem Riley (4.8 ppg), a 5-11 senior, also returns as a starter.

The Bobcats, however, will sorely miss Elijah Cooper (17.2 ppg) and Chris Nwandu (14.8 ppg) and the production they provided.

Two freshmen are listed on the Northeastern varsity roster and may make an impact -- 5-8 Donovian Maxfield and 6-0 Kobi Nwandu.

West York will look to return to the top of Division II after a pair of mediocre seasons, including a 11-10 mark a year ago and a third-place finish in the division.

Before the last two years, West York had won or shared 11 straight division titles.

Bulldogs' head coach Bill Ackerman has compiled a sterling 284-98 record during his tenure at West York.

Kevin Rice is West York's top returning starter after averaging 7.9 ppg, but he's out until mid-December because of an injury, as is another key newcomer, junior Parker Weekly.

Ackerman also had to wait for several West York players to get finished with football season. The Bulldogs just completed a 13-1 gridiron campaign.

"Although this team is short on experience, there is plenty of potential and youth, which could provide a needed boost once the 'dog days' of January hit," Ackerman said. "With a motivated senior class, and excellent team chemistry, this team could surprise."

New Oxford compiled a 12-10 record a year ago en route to a fourth-place finish in the division, but the Colonials may be hard-pressed to match that record this season. The Colonials' top returning player is 6-2 junior Marc O'Brien, who averaged 3.0 ppg.

New Oxford, however, must replace Andre Marshall (19.3 ppg), Aaron Yealy (12.4 ppg), Nate Barnes (6.9 ppg) and Justin Hoffman (5.5 ppg). That's more than 44 points of scoring.

Grant Leonard takes over a Kennard-Dale program that finished last in the division and went 4-18 overall last year. He's spent the last six years as a coach in the K-D junior high program.

Leonard has three returning starters to work with -- Vince Failla (7.2 ppg), Logan Moore (5.1 ppg) and Brandon Terrell (4.2 ppg) -- and has some high hopes for the season.

"We have some guys this year who have put in a lot of time in this program -- I expect this to be a season where they see some returns on their investment," Leonard said. "We have the potential to surprise people. I expect our kids to improve on last year and send our seniors out with a winning record."

DIVISION III

York Suburban won 23 games and the division title last year, but four of the five leading scorers graduated, including Ted Hinnenkamp, who poured in 20.8 points a game. Evan Eberhardinger (11.2 ppg) is back this year.

Dustin Boeckel takes over as head coach for Tom Triggs, who retired after winning 218 games and a District 3-AAA title.

"Losing a lot from last year, I am concerned with our in-game experience," Boeckel said. "We have a very green group of kids, but they're hard working."

Bermudian Springs' 18-6 record a year ago was the team's best mark since joining the York-Adams League in 2004. Four starters -- Zach Stroup, Silas Murren, Brandon Markle and Dalton Horst -- return as the Eagles seek to soar to the top of the division this season. Stroup scored 8.5 points a game last year, and Neil Murren, who averaged almost 10 a game (9.8), is also back. Bermudian was No. 1 in defense in 2011-12, allowing just 43.4 points a game.

Tyler Brooks (8.5 ppg, 80 percent at the foul line) is Susquehannock's lone returning starter. Dan Ferraro (2.5 ppg), Tim Frey (3.3) and Justin McLee (3.4) are other returning varsity players.

"We are young and inexperienced and will need great leadership from our three returning senior contributors in order to battle for position within our division," Warriors' head coach John Zerfing said.

Eastern York will be able to count on Dalton Reichard, who delivered 14.4 points a game last year as a junior. Travis Solomon (4.0 ppg), Travis Knaub (4.0 ppg) and Christian Buser (3.0 ppg) are other returning players for the Golden Knights.

"Returning only one proven scorer and starter, the season becomes a big question mark," head coach Jon Reichard said. "The junior class is very talented and athletic, but lacks varsity experience and needs to contribute immediately."

Littlestown (4-17 overall) finished in the Division III cellar a year ago. The Thunderbolts will try to improve on that mark this season.

Littlestown's top scorer, Jake Thompson (10.2 ppg), graduated.

DIVISION IV

Three-sport standout Brett Smith leads a Delone Catholic team that has to be considered the favorite to capture the division title.

Smith, a senior point guard, averaged 15.7 points a game last year when the Squires won their first District 3 title (Class AA) in 27 years.

Veteran head coach Jim Dooley can count on Andrew Austin (6.3 ppg) and Tanner Orndorff (4.8 ppg), and look for 6-1 sophomore Devon Moore to make an impact. Moore's sister, Sierra Moore, is the York-Adams Girls' League all-time leading scorer with 2,595 points, and is currently playing at Duke.

York Catholic's offense took a major hit with the graduation of Michael Sperring and Mark Burnside. The 6-5 Sperring and 6-6 Burnside combined for 24.8 points a game. The Fighting Irish will count on three veterans: James Dougherty (6.6 ppg), Joseph Rost (5.4 ppg) and Aaron O'Brien (3.3 ppg). Head coach Joe Keesey said that Erich Hartman, a 6-4 junior, jumps well and is a good athlete.

"We can play good defense, but we need to cut our turnovers," Keesey said.

Graduation wiped out four of Hanover's five starters, including Jordan Banks who racked up 18.6 points a game. Nick Trish (8.8 ppg) is the sole returning starter for head coach Nathan Myers.

"We hope to work hard and improve each time we are in the gym," Myers said. "How quickly this group can gain varsity experience is a key to our success."

York Tech is also looking to fill a scoring vacuum created by the departure, via graduation, of four of the team's top scorers.

Eric Williams (4.4 ppg), Ryan Ford (3.8 ppg) and Londell McGhee (3.6 ppg) are the leading scorers back this season.

"The team is showing promise early," Spartans' coach Terry Wallace said. "Time will tell. We want to be competitive."

Biglerville and Fairfield will try to rebuild after finishing 3-19 and 2-20, respectively, a season ago.

Biglerville lost its top scorer, Casey Ayers (11.2 ppg).

-- Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdis patch.com.