When winter weather chases them inside, former Eastern York basketball players organize pickup games in East Prospect at a place they call "The Hall."
"It's the smallest little court in the world," said current Golden Knights' standout Dalton Reichard, who joins in on the Sunday games. "There's no 3-point line."
The facility may not be state of the art, but The Hall, and another community facility, Voni Grimes Gym in York, provided Reichard with venues to improve his skills while playing with and against older players.
"You have guys who can light it up and leap," Reichard said. "There are 6-5 guys, and I'm the smallest guy in there (Reichard is 5-11). At Voni Grimes, playing on a team with guys 40-plus (in age), I learned when to move and how to play basketball."
Reichard made an early impact in high school basketball, starting two years ago on a talented Eastern team that won the York-Adams title and finished second in the District 3 Class AAA Tournament.
The other four starters were all seniors.
Andrew Nicholas and Austin Tillotson, who both earned NCAA Division I college basketball scholarships, were the stars on that team.
"Andrew and Austin taught me how to be a better player and person," Reichard said. "They would get on your case, but they would also tell you when you did well."
The senior began the season as Eastern's only proven scorer, having averaged 14.5 points a game last year. He boosted his average to 17 a contest this year.
The numbers, though, that matter most to Reichard and his teammates are 10 and 2. Eastern is 10-2 and in first place in Division III of the York-Adams League, one-half game ahead of Bermudian Springs, 9-2. The teams are scheduled to meet next Tuesday on the final night of the regular season.
Having one of the league's leading scorers on the team has certainly helped the Golden Knights vault to the top after a disappointing 7-15 season last year. However, the turnaround has been a team effort.
"We've had a lot of kids step up this year," said Eastern head coach Jon Reichard (Dalton's father). "We play about 10 guys, and everyone's contributing. A couple of nights, we didn't do what we needed to do, but I'm ecstatic to be where we are right now."
Broguen Nicholas, a freshman, is the team's second-leading scorer at 11.6 points a game. Cody Bollinger (6.3), Grum Kebede (6.1) and Christian Buser (5.6) are next on the scoring list.
Travis Solomon, who averages 4.4 a game, does a lot of things that don't appear in a box score.
"Travis plays the other team's best player every night," Coach Reichard said. "He leads us in steals, and he rebounds well."
Eastern will need to continue getting contributions from many players. The remaining three games are against York Suburban, Lancaster Catholic and Bermudian Springs.
"We want to win the section (division) title," Dalton Reichard said. "That would be such a big thing coming back from 7-15."
Reichard is planning to play college basketball, but he doesn't know where yet.
"I'm hoping to jump to Division II (an NCAA Division II college)," he said.
When his high school career closes, however, he'll almost certainly prepare for his next career by playing on the outdoor courts in his home area and inside Voni Grimes Gym when summer league play begins.
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin email@example.com.