Thursday night will begin a new era for York College basketball.
Some names that Spartans’ fans have become very familiar with over the past four years will be missing. That applies to both the men's and women's programs.
On the men’s side, Dalton Myers, Blayde Reich and Matt Scamuffo have all moved on after stellar careers that produced 1,000-plus points for each. That trio led York to a 24-5 record a season ago as seniors. That just happens to be the best record in Matt Hunter’s seven-year tenure as York’s head coach. Hunter led the Spartans to Capital Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles and a second-round game in the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Myers (17.6 points per game), Reich (16.4 ppg) and Scamuffo (12.7 ppg) were York’s top three scorers last winter. That leaves Hunter with a 47-point hole to fill in his starting lineup. After the season, Myers signed with a Dutch professional team.
On the women’s side, longtime coach Betsy Witman faces a similar challenge after losing her No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 scorers from last year. Namely, they were, respectively, Susquehannock High School graduate Katie Wagner (12.9 ppg), Sam Mocniak (9.7) and Red Lion grad Morgan Kuehne (9.6). Wagner left York with more than 1,000 career points.
That senior trio helped the York women to an 18-9 record last year.
Fortunately for both Hunter and Witman, the cupboard was not left completely bare.
Central grad Wagner top returner for men: Hunter welcomes back 6-foot, 1-inch junior do-everything point guard Jared Wagner, who is a Central York grad. Wagner consistently stuffed the stat sheet last year, averaging 10.6 points, 4.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Hunter also returns another stat-stuffing guard from last year in 6-foot senior Jason Bady, who averaged 10.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
In addition, Spring Grove grad Darin Gordon, a 6-3 junior, could take on an expanded role this season after averaging 4.9 points and 2.9 rebounds last year.
Still, York will have to find an inside presence to replace Myers and Reich, two 6-foot, 7-inch players who combined for 12. 5 rebounds per game last year.
Dallastown grad McGowan set to lead women: Witman, a Hanover grad entering her 22nd season leading Spartans, will be able rely on her leading returning scorer and rebounder from last season — 5-11 senior Katie McGowan. The Dallastown grad averaged 13.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in a breakout season during her first year as a starter.
None of Witman’s other returners, however, averaged more than six points per game.
Among the players who may step into more prominent roles this season are three local graduates: York Suburban grad Molly Day, a 5-10 sophomore, who averaged 4.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game; Dallastown grad Debria Hendricks, a 5-5 senior, who averaged 3.9 points, 2.4 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game; and York Country Day’s Logynn Fuller, a 5-9 senior, who averaged 4.3 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. All three are expected to start this season.
In addition, Witman recruited two York-Adams League players who will be freshmen this season: Briaunna Embrey-Banks, a 6-foot forward from York Suburban, and Alana Bortner, 5-10 guard from Gettysburg.
Both teams open Thursday: Both teams open their seasons at 7 p.m. Thursday. The York men play at home vs. Dickinson, while the women travel to Messiah.
The Dickinson men were 15-11 a season ago and feature 6-2 freshman Garrett Markey, who, like Wagner, graduated from Central York. The Messiah women finished 27-3 last year, including an NCAA Division III Sweet 16 appearance. Like York, Messiah is led by a veteran coach who graduated from Hanover High — Mike Miller.
Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.