York Buccaneers focus on winning basketball games and a community following

Former York High star Kelvin Parker, seen here in a file photo, had 29 points on Saturday for the York Buccaneers in a win vs. Hub City.

The York Buccaneers are certainly a lot of things.

Talented? No doubt.

Exciting? You bet.

Successful? Absolutely.

Midway through their fifth season in the American Basketball Association, the Bucs and owner Tyrell Bowie believe they have things headed in the right direction.

Saturday night at Voni B. Grimes Gym, the Bucs cruised to their sixth victory of the season over the Hub City (Hagerstown) Hogs, 123-109. That triumph could be crucial in York's drive toward a possible ABA playoff berth this spring. The Bucs now stand at 6-3.

“We’ve made the playoffs every year except one,” Bowie said. “And that’s what we’re fighting for now. We want to be in playoff contention.”

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While the playoffs are every team’s goal in the ABA, Bowie has bigger goals in mind with organization. As the only semi-pro hoops team in York, Bowie is hoping to create and grow a community following that fills the gym on game nights.

The Bucs certainly have a lot to offer local fans. The ABA game is typically fast-paced, so fan boredom is seldom a worry.

Former York College standout Jason Bady, seen here in file photo, is one of the many recognizable local faces on the York Buccaneers roster.

Lots of local faces: Recognizable local faces are also a hallmark of both the team and league. The Bucs feature plenty of York-area talent, including former York High star Kelvin Parker, who scored a team-high 29 points on Saturday, to go with four assists and eight rebounds.

Former York College standout Jason Bady, former York Suburban player Darian Doleman, Penn State York grad Anthony Bennett and others also fill out the roster.

Bennett, who is a first-year player in the league as well as a current assistant coach for the Penn State York men’s basketball team, had nothing but good things to say about his experience so far.

A new season means new opportunities for York Buccaneers as the team and league evolves

“The league’s been great,” Bennett said. “There’s a lot of good talent that we’re playing against in this league. A lot of pros in this league. And it’s way faster than the college game.”

That statement was echoed by another first-year player in Tyler Martin. A high school grad of (Lancaster) McCaskey, Martin earned some local stripes when he played four years at Penn State York while winning three Penn State University Athletic Conference titles with the local Lions.

“This is a bunch of strong, athletic, fast and quick guys,” Martin said. “These are guys that can get up and down the court. Most of us are in our mid-20s but there are some older guys here too. We played a team in Philly and they were older, probably in their 30s, but they were all real strong, physical guys.”

Trying to build a fan base: Bowie is hoping his team catches on locally to build a sizable fan base. Right now the team plays at Grimes, where the seating capacity is about 300. Saturday’s contest was near capacity, which is a good sign for Bowie and the team.

“This is a fun league to watch,” Bowie said. “It’s a fun league and I really appreciate everyone that came out. We’re looking forward to keep building.”

Notes: The regular-season schedule for the Bucs features 15 league games. Of the first nine played so far, however, only two of those contests were home games.

Bowie expects at least two more home tilts with a possible third one added after a scheduling discrepancy.

“The weather kind of got us one week,” Bowie said. “And then we had a team that canceled on us, but we’re hoping to reschedule that one soon.”

The next officially scheduled home game for the Bucs is Saturday, Feb. 29, against the Lehigh Valley Hunters. Bowie is hoping to have one of those other games rescheduled for early to mid-February.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.