To be honest, Christian School of York girls’ basketball coach Mike Graybill didn’t have extremely high expectations heading into this season.
With six freshmen on a relatively young roster, Graybill figured that his team would be battling for a potential District 3 Class 1-A title next year.
The CSY girls, however, had other ideas.
After a 1-2 start to the season, the Defenders have done nothing but win ever since. Monday evening at home against York Country Day, the CSY girls were pushed, but still claimed win No. 14 in a row with a 40-35 triumph.
“I knew I had a couple of returners, but we had six freshmen,” Graybill said. “So, yeah, I thought this was going to be a rebuilding year.”
The freshmen have played a big role in CSY’s success. That includes 5-foot-7 forward Linda Brown, who formed a quick bond with center Emma Bell to give the Defenders (15-2) a solid one-two punch inside.
“She was actually our leading scorer and our second-leading rebounder,” Graybill said of Brown.
Dealing with key injury: The key word in that sentence for Graybill and his girls was the verb choice — was. A week ago to the day, Brown hurt her knee during a practice on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. While that injury was determined not to be the dreaded ACL tear that Graybill feared, a full diagnosis of the extent of the injury won’t be available until later this week.
“We’ll find out if it’s a partial meniscus tear or something worse,” Graybill said. “She got a steal in practice and went down the court and did a jump-stop and the knee wobbled.”
For Bell, having a partner such as Brown on the court made life easier on her and the rest of the team.
“(Linda) is just a great fellow post player to have,” Bell said. “I know that whenever she’s in there that if I can’t make something, that she probably can.”
Even without Brown on the court — she was actually playing drums for the school’s pep band — the Defenders are still formidable with Bell on the court. The 6-foot-2 junior poured in a game-high 27 points in Monday’s win against YCD.
“The style of our offense has changed just a bit (without Brown), but the girls are still out there showing great hustle and working hard at it,” Graybill said.
Big win over Lebanon Catholic: The CSY girls have just five games left on their regular-season slate, including a rematch against rival Harrisburg Christian this Saturday. The Defenders already own one win against HC, which came just before the Christmas break.
If that win wasn’t the highlight of the CSY season thus far, then it's a close second. That’s because, for the first time in program history, the Defenders knocked off perennial District 3 Class 1-A contender Lebanon Catholic back on Dec. 14.
“We always celebrate after a win,” Bell said with a smile. “But maybe with that one our excitement was a little bit higher.”
With or without Brown in the lineup as the season winds down, this season has been nothing but fun for a 15-year veteran coach such as Graybill.
“For me this is fun,” he said. “All of the girls are working hard, so these games should be their rewards.”
OTHER GIRLS' BASKETBALL
Spring Grove 48, Red Land 42: At Red Land, the surging Rockets held on for the nonleague road victory. Ella Kale led the Rockets with 16 points. Spring Grove (13-4 overall) has won four straight and eight of its last nine. Red Land is 0-17.
Delone Catholic 59, Greencastle 36: At Greencastle, the unbeaten Squirettes earned the nonleague road victory to improve to 20-0. Greencastle is 10-7. Brooke Lawyer (16), Abby Jacoby (12) and Giana Hoddinott (11) combined for 39 of Delone's points.
York Suburban 55, Pequea Valley 51: At Pequea Valley, the Trojans captured the nonleague road win to move to 13-4. PV fell to 13-5. Suburban was led by Alyssa Dougherty (14 points), Alyssa Hocker (14 points) Maddison Perring (10 points), and Kiyanna Dowling (10 points).
Littlestown 48, Columbia 38: At Columbia, Littlestown won the nonleague contest to improve to 9-8. Columbia fell to 6-12. Ky. Green had 20 points for Littlestown, while Molly Watkins and Ava Collins added 11 points apiece.
Susquehanna Twp. 61, York High 38: At Susquehanna Twp., the Bearcats fell to 2-17 with the nonleague loss. The home team improved to 14-5.
Eastern York 82, Columbia 67: At Wrightsville, the Golden Knights won the battle of cross-river nonleague rivals. Trevor Seitz led the Golden Knights with 29 points, eight rebounds and five assists. He hit six 3-pointers. Also for Eastern, Micah Myers knocked in 16 points, including a 6-for-6 night from the charity stripe; Austin Bausman scored 10 points; and Isaiah Saahir grabbed 11 rebounds and scored nine points. Eastern improved to 11-8 overall. Columbia fell to 12-6.
Fairfield 65, York Tech 62: At Spry, Eric Ball led the Green Knights with 26 points, including an 8-for-8 night from the charity stripe. Teammate Nik Nordberg knocked in 12 points. For the Spartans, Darnell Wilkes scored 18 points, while I'mage Greer and Nehemiah Stubbs each scored 13 and Abdias Hernandez scored 10, including three from behind the arc. Fairfield is now 7-11 overall and 3-9 in Y-A D-III. Tech is 5-12 and 3-8.
Delone Catholic 58, Greencastle 56: At McSherrystown, the Squires earned their first nonleague game of the season to improve to 8-11 overall. Greencastle fell to 2-15. Matt Rineman (18), Corbyn Keller (13), Josh Sherdel (13) and Coltyn Keller (10) combined for 54 of Delone's 58 points.
Littlestown 87 Hanover 54: At Littlestown, junior Jayden Weishaar reached the 1,000-point milestone in the win. He needed 21 points coming into the game and ended up scoring exactly 21 points. He reached the milestone with 6:53 left in the fourth quarter. Littlestown improved to 16-3 overall and leads York-Adams Division III at 11-1. Second-place Hanover, playing without injured leading scorer Zyaire Myers, fell to 10-8 and 8-3. Littlestown has now clinched at least a share of the division title. Rachard Holder (14), Brayden Staub (12) and Logan Brown (11) also reached double digits for Littlestown. Andre Caban and Kyle Garman each scored 20 points for Hanover.
York Suburban 83, Red Land 30: At Suburban, the Trojans rolled to the nonleague home win to improve to 14-4 overall. Red Land dropped to 0-18.
York Country Day 64, Christian School of York 32: At York, the YCD boys improved to 7-8. CSY fell to 3-14.
Camp Hill 88, Biglerville 41: At Biglerville, the Canners dropped to 3-15 with the nonleague loss. Camp Hill improved to 12-5.
Newport 49, Biglerville 30: At Newport, the No. 12 seed Canners dropped the District 3 Class 2-A first-round match, ending their team season at 9-11. No. 5 seed Newport improved to 16-2 and will face No. 4 seed Bermudian Springs (17-2) in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Hamburg. Biglerville got pins from Blake Showers (138), Jacob Mead (182), Tony Esquivas (195), Brady Gardner (106) and Levi Haines (126).
Eastern York 42, Hanover 27: At Wrightsville, in a nonleague affair, Eastern improved to 8-9 overall. Hanover fell to 4-6. Eastern got pins from Eugene Courtright (132), Zachary Dice (145), Dillon Mealey (160) and Brock Bolton (170). Hanover's pins came from Michael Corbin (113), Dominic Taylor (120) and Kehgan Wolf (182)
Keystone Kraken 4, Susquehannock 2: At York City Ice Arena, Andrew Baibos and Cody Rodgers scored goals in a losing effort for Susquehannock in a Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Viola Division game. Kyle McCormick and Nicholas Voorstad added assists. Susquehannock's Brady Frey made 22 saves. Susquehannock is 3-12-1. The Kraken is 9-7-1.
Central York 4, Twin Valley 2: At York City Ice Arena, Central got a goal and an assist from Logan Myers and two assists from Matthew Guiddy in a surprising win over a strong Twin Valley outfit. Sean Barba, Finn Boylan and Benjamin Kasper also scored for Central, while Joe Raineri and Gabriel Hue added assists. Conner McCaffrey made 19 saves to get the win in goal. Central is now 9-8 in CPIHL Viola action, while Twin Valley fell to 14-2.
Dallastown 9, Elizabethtown 6: At Klick-Lewis Arena in Annville, the Wildcats earned the CPIHL Viola Division win behind big games from Trae Schanberger (four goals, two assists), Timothy Helmer (goal, three assists), Brock Stitley (goal, three assists), Andrew Navaroli (two goals) and Gavin Wells (two assists). Ethan Eckert had Dallastown's other goal. Dallastown's Alexander Sears made 18 saves. Dallastown improved to 8-9-1. Elizabethtown fell to 6-10-1.
Gettysburg 95, Big Spring 88: Kassidy Oussoren won the 50 freestyle and 100 free to lead the Warriors to the nonleague win.
Gettysburg 118, Big Spring 88: Hannah Brainard (200 free, 500 free) and Morgan Newell (50 free, 100 butterfly) each earned two individual wins to spark the Warriors.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.