York County basketball duo starts run at $1 million prize at The Basketball Tournament

ROB ROSE
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Charlie Parker and his Sideline Cancer team are familiar with entering The Basketball Tournament with an underdog mentality.

This year, however, Sideline Cancer is one of the top dogs.

The Kennard-Dale High School graduate's squad made a run to the championship game in the winner-take-all $1 million tournament in 2020 as the No. 22 seed in a 24-team event, but that's not the case this year.

Sideline Cancer began its run Sunday as the No. 1 seed in the West Virginia region and nearly saw its tournament end with an upset loss.

Kennard-Dale High and Millersville University graduate Charlie Parker coaches during The Basketball Tournament. Parker led Sideline Cancer to the event's championship game as the No. 22 seed.

No. 16 seed Founding Fathers had two chances to close out Sideline Cancer, but the team featuring two York County basketball stars came through with the win in its first game.

"That's what they did to us yesterday, they came out with a mission to be a 16 seed that takes down the one seed, that takes down the team that made it to the championship game last year," Parker said on Monday. "We struggled with that a little bit. I think there were a lot of nerves and there were expectations from the standpoint of, as a No. 1 seed we should win this game easy, but every game is going to be a fight in this tournament."

Sideline Cancer won its first game vs. Founding Fathers, 80-77, but less than 24 hours after that victory, the team got a chance to prove why it is ranked so high this year.

Parker's team beat the No. 9 seed in the West Virginia bracket, the Fort Wayne Champs, 92-71, on Monday, and looked much more like the team that reached the championship game in 2020.

The Sideline Cancer roster was in flux the entire week before its first game, but Parker wouldn't make any excuses for his team headed into its second game in two days.

"It's kind of more of like a gut check," Parker said before Monday's game. "We got to come with it today to get this win and after we do that, I think we can kind of relax for 24 hours and kind of regroup."

Four McGlynn

McGlynn also an assistant: In addition to Parker, Dallastown High graduate Four McGlynn is also a member of Sideline Cancer. McGlynn is an assistant coach this year after he joined the team as a player for the 2020 tournament.

Sideline Cancer gets its name from the foundation created to raise awareness for the disease that claimed the life of a man close to general manager Billy Clapper. Greg Griffith died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 50 in 2011. Griffith's son, Jordan, is also an assistant coach for the team.

This year's team includes guards Marcus Keene and Maurice Creek, who led the squad to a runner-up finish in 2020. Pittsburgh forward Jamel Artis is also on the team, along with former Penn State guard Trey Lewis.

Up next: Up next for Sideline Cancer is a team looking to replicate the run Parker and McGlynn went on last season.

The No. 12 seed Bucketneers defeated the No. 4 and No. 5 teams in the West Virginia bracket in the first two rounds and are looking to knock off the top seed now. Sideline Cancer and the Bucketneers will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN3, with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line.

Motivated by the loss last season, Parker continues to prepare his team for every possibility to make sure the team uses the tournament to raise money and awareness for its cause, but also leave with the ultimate prize this year.

"It still eats me, it's been eaten me all year what we did in the last few minutes of that game last year and losing a championship game," Parker said. "We're here to win and it's a great platform, but you have to perform and you gotta play hard and with effort and leave it out on the floor."

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.