If the opening weekend of the winter sports season is the first course when it comes to satisfying your high school tournament appetite, then the week following Christmas is like going back for seconds.
This upcoming week is chock full of intriguing basketball tournaments, as well as some wrestling invitationals showcasing some of the York-Adams League's top talent.
So, without wasting too much time, here are some of the premier events to load up your holiday plate during the regular season's second helping of tournaments.
Boys' basketball: Kicking things off on Tuesday, Central York will venture east of the Susquehanna River to take part in the Hempfield Tournament.
While the defending York-Adams Division I champion Panthers are off to a relatively slow start to the year (3-3), this is a tournament that can help them gain some momentum heading into the new year, while also playing good competition. Wilson (3-2) and the host Black Knights (2-3) are off to similar starts as Central. The fourth team in the field, however, is a powerful Central Dauphin East outfit, which is unbeaten on the season (7-0). Central will take on Wilson at 6 p.m. in the tournament's first game, followed by Hempfield vs. C.D. East.
York High (2-4) will take part in the McCaskey Tournament, starting on Tuesday. Much like the Bearcats' tip-off tournament, McCaskey always attracts a strong field for its holiday event. York High will look to put its early-season inconsistencies behind it and try to garner a winning streak, beginning with this tournament. The Bearcats will face Delaware Valley Charter (2-2) in the first semifinal game at 6 p.m. Despite the Warriors' average start to the season, much of that is a product of the competition they've faced. Losses to Constitution and Imhotep Charter aren't a reflection of a bad team, so this should be another stiff test for York High. In the other semifinal, the host Red Tornadoes (1-3) will take on Largo High School (Maryland), which sits at 2-1.
On Wednesday, the Robert Griffin Classic at York Tech gets underway with two longtime York County rivals squaring off against each other. In the first semifinal at 6 p.m., Bethlehem Catholic (5-1) will take on Danville (7-0) in a battle of teams off to sterling starts. Following that, the local game will take center stage. York Suburban (0-6), despite all of its woes to begin the season, will face York Catholic (5-1) and its deep roster. Even though both teams seem to be heading in opposite directions this season, a York County clash between two schools separated by less than two miles should bring some excitement.
On Thursday, Dallastown (6-1) will face Manheim Township (4-2) in a non-tournament game. This will be the second time this season the Wildcats will pass on in-season tournaments in favor of non-league games against strong opposition. Both of these teams are off to strong starts to the year, so it'll be a great measuring stick game to see where each stacks up against similarly-talented Class 6-A schools come District 3 tournament time.
Girls' basketball: In one of the few tournaments actually being held in York County next week, the Eastern York girls' team (6-0) will host Spring Grove (1-6), Garden Spot (0-7) and Conrad Weiser (1-4). Two York County teams in one field should generate some interest, but this is all about the up-start Golden Knights. Eastern is undefeated and will face struggling Garden Spot in its opener at 7:30 p.m. In the first semifinal, the Rockets, off to a slow start, will try to grab a rare win against a similarly-struggling Conrad Weiser side. This looks like a tournament that should have the championship trophy ending up in the hands of the surging host team.
Beginning Wednesday, arguably one of the best tournaments of the week — boys or girls — commences. Central York (6-1) will play host to a tournament, featuring two more of York County's best, as well as a strong Cedar Cliff outfit (5-2). All four teams are above .500 on the young season and should turn in two days of entertaining basketball. York Catholic (4-1) will face Susquehannock (6-2) in the opener at 6 p.m., followed by the Panthers taking on Cedar Cliff. This is about as good as it gets for holiday tournaments.
Swimming: There isn't a whole lot of swimming taking place in the days between Christmas and New Year's, but, if there's one event worth watching, it's the Dallastown Invitational on Wednesday.
That event will not only feature the host Wildcats, a York-Adams Division I dynasty in both boys and girls, but it'll also showcase the traditionally strong York Suburban program.
Wrestling: Most of the wrestling tournaments begin on Thursday, which gives the wrestlers time to work off any extra pounds they pack on during the holidays.
Several of the Y-A League's top programs will be action.
Two-time reigning Division II champion Kennard-Dale will compete in the Governor Mifflin Tournament, along with Dover and Dallastown.
In the Conestoga Valley Tournament, Division I programs New Oxford, Central York and Red Lion will all compete and powerhouse Spring Grove will wrestle in the Mount Saint Joseph's Tournament. All events begin Thursday and conclude Friday.
So, take your pick this week. For high school sports fans, there's something to satisfy any appetite. Enjoy the feast.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org