Parrish Petry doesn't have any magic formula.
He's just taken advantage of the opportunities that are given to him as the Penn State York men's basketball coach. Opportunities that some might see as disadvantages.
So what if most of his players come for two years before transferring elsewhere to complete their majors. Petry just guarantees high school recruits playing time. That's worked for local recruits such as sophomores Evan Ehrhart (Red Lion) and Logan Steckel (Red Lion Christian) and freshmen Judd Gemmill (Dallastown), Jordan Jackson (Red Lion), Chris Robertson (Dallastown) and Jake Snyder (Eastern York).
With the guarantee of seeing action, most everyone on the roster expects to play. No problem. Petry just uses a deep rotation.
"The coach from Penn State Scranton was kidding me last night saying we have a hockey team out here. It's like five guys in, five out," Petry said.
As for the difficulty of developing a practice schedule that fits the lives of student-athletes on a commuter campus? Petry just has short, one-hour practices. Since that doesn't leave much time to install any intricate sets, the Lions instead use a simple, up-tempo pace that emphasizes a ton of scoring on the offensive end and rebounding on the defensive end. It's a system his players are enjoying.
"Our team is basically going up and down. We just keep moving. We don't like to slow anything down," Ehrhart said.
What has resulted for Petry -- a West York grad and former Red Lion coach who is now in his fourth year as head coach of Penn State York -- is a winning formula.
Just last year, the Lions finished 16-7 overall, an improvement from the 11-14 record in 2009-2010 and the 9-13 mark in 2010-2011. And through nine games this season, Petry has his squad sitting at 7-2 overall and 4-0 in Penn State University Athletic Conference competition. The Lions have compiled the mark by averaging 91 points a game while holding opponents to 76 points a game.
They could be a perfect 9-0 if not for a few possessions in the 93-91 loss to Central Penn and 87-86 loss to Manor.
Although 14 conference games, and 16 overall, still remain on the schedule, PSY looks like it has what it takes to win the program's fifth straight PSUAC Southern Division crown. The Lions also sound hungry to get back to the PSUAC Tournament after entering last year's tourney as the No. 2 seed and being upset by Penn State Brandywine in the first round.
"We all talked about that at the beginning of the season, about losing to Brandywine last year," Ehrhart said. "That really upset us because we could've made it far in the playoffs."
Ehrhart, who is seeing time at shooting guard off the bench, is one of nine returning players to the team this year. That group will be relied upon to get PSY back to the PSUAC Final Four at the Bryce Jordan Center for the first time in four years. With four upperclassmen on a roster of 14 players, Petry might finally be able to see that goal become a reality.
"I'm fortunate having two seniors and two juniors this year," Petry said. "Having older guys gives you a better chance to win the league. It's tough to win the league with just freshmen and sophomores."
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.