Another high school basketball season begins Friday night with most of the York-Adams teams involved in traditional tip-off tournaments.
The division races and the pursuit of berths in the league and district tournaments (boys and girls) are again story lines to follow in the new season.
The York High boys' team lost its three leading scorers from last year's 27-4 championship team, but the Bearcats have graduated talented players in the past and still ended up celebrating a title. Under Coach Troy Sowers, York has recorded 134 victories over the past five seasons, an average of nearly 27 wins per season, capturing one District 3-AAAA title, three York-Adams crowns and five Division I titles in the process.
The Bearcats will have stiff competition as they seek to add to their championship hardware. There will be plenty of serious challengers, including two teams in their own division (York-Adams Division I). Dallastown returns five of its first six players and Red Lion had just one senior on last year's team.
On the girls' side, Dover returns almost all of the players from the 2012-13 team that won 27 games and made a stirring run to the state Class AAAA quarterfinals. Alayah Hall, who has 1,098 career points, is among the returning players.
The Eagles should be very good again and in the mix for division and league titles. However, predicting which team will emerge on top in the York-Adams Girls' Tournament is extremely difficult. In the past five seasons, there have been four different champions. Red Lion won the title twice (2010 and 2012) while Dallastown (2013), York Catholic (2011) and West York (2009) each triumphed one time.
During the same five-season stretch, just two teams, York High and Eastern York, have grabbed the boys' tournament title. The Bearcats were the winners in 2009, 2012 and 2013, and the Golden Knights won in 2010 and 2011.
In addition to the league races, there's the annual York Catholic story line, namely the Fighting Irish's bid to continue their run of District 3-AA girls' championships. York Catholic has won a record eight straight district crowns, and during that streak, the Fighting Irish have earned three state championships.
West York boys' coach Bill Ackerman's quest to join the 300-victory club is another story line for the new season. Ackerman needs just six victories to become the fourth active York-Adams coach to win at least 300 games.
Don Dimoff of the Red Lion girls' team is the leader among active coaches with 421 victories. Gerry Eckenrode of the Delone Catholic girls has 416 victories and York County native Marty Hasenfuss has 326 victories. Hasenfuss, who's currently at Central Dauphin East, formerly coached boys' teams at Eastern, Central Dauphin and Central York. Marty's father, Joe, who coached at York Suburban and Lebanon Catholic, is second on the victories list with 549. The late Jim Dooley, who died just a little more than a month ago at 69, is the all-time victories leader among York-Adams coaches with 702. Dooley, who spent his final 10 seasons coaching at Delone Catholic, also coached at Gettysburg, Cumberland Valley and Shippensburg high schools.