VIDEO: York High forward Marquise McClean discusses his 21-point performance and the Bearcats' fast start after their blowout win over Central York. York Dispatch
With one week remaining in the York-Adams League regular season, the York High boys’ basketball team is right where head coach Clovis Gallon Sr. expected it — in control of its own fate.
“We feel fantastic,” Gallon Sr. said. “To be 15-3 and winding down our season with three games to go where we control our own destiny … we feel good. Our first goal was to win our division and we are in position to do that.”
The Bearcats (15-3, 10-2) have played a difficult nonleague schedule — on top of a competitive Division I slate — that includes games against solid programs such as Overbrook, Executive Education Academy Charter, Bayard Rustin and Harrisburg. After starting the season 10-0 and as the No. 1 team in Class 5-A according to multiple polls, the Bearcats haven’t played as sharply in recent weeks.
York High is 5-3 in its last eight games, which include road losses to New Oxford and Dallastown and a double-overtime victory against Red Lion. They are now ranked No. 10 in the latest state 5-A poll released by Michael Bullock of the (Sunbury) Daily Item.
“The road is arduous,” Gallon Sr. said. “No one said it was going to be easy. We built our schedule to prepare us for the postseason.”
McClean’s injury: While Gallon Sr. is confident about his team’s chances in the final week of the regular season and the postseason, he admits the loss of Marquise McClean to injury will not be easy to overcome.
McClean, the Bearcats’ second-leading scorer at 16.2 points per game, fractured his hip in the loss to Harrisburg. The 6-foot, 3-inch forward was a steady presence down low for York High.
“We are a little dejected about losing Marquise,” Gallon Sr. said. “What we lose in his strength and power on the floor, though, we pick up in speed and quickness.”
The timetable for McClean, who does not need surgery on the hip, is still unknown, though Gallon Sr. said the “bare minimum” for a possible return is three to four weeks.
“We are optimistic in getting him for (the) playoff run,” Gallon Sr. said. “He is going to do his physical therapy and then rest. We want him to be cautious and follow the doctor’s directions.”
The adjustment with McClean injured is to move Clovis Gallon Jr., the team’s leading scorer at 20.9 points per game, to a stretch-four position and bring another guard into the main lineup. In York High’s 71-57 victory against Northeastern last Friday, that guard was Cameron Gallon, who Gallon Sr. said played well defensively and made the Bearcats quicker.
Point guard Jaevon Woodyard, who is scoring 10 points per game, could be the player to pick up some of the scoring load with McClean out. The 5-10 senior scored 20 points against Northeastern.
“He came up big down the stretch,” said Gallon Sr. “He made some big plays on offense and defense.”
Remaining schedule: York High ends its regular season this week at South Western on Tuesday, followed by home games against William Allen and New Oxford on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
The Bearcats, who recently finished a 10-game stretch in 18 days, had their home game against Chester on Saturday postponed for “safety and security concerns,” according to an announcement posted on the School District of York City website.
That happened after some social media tension escalated to a fight after the York High at Harrisburg game last Wednesday. Harrisburg police had to use pepper spray.
Due to the crowded week and other scheduling complications, Gallon Sr. said Sunday that the game against Chester has now been canceled.
Division I outlook: Both York High and New Oxford win the D-I title by winning out. If the Bearcats defeat South Western on Tuesday and New Oxford on Friday, York High will claim its first Division I title since 2015.
The Colonials (15-4, 10-2), meanwhile, will clinch a D-I title with a victory over Northeastern on Tuesday and York High on Friday.
New Oxford handed York High its first defeat a month ago when the Bearcats were still ranked by two polls as the No. 1 5-A team in the state. The host Colonials made 8 of their first 9 3-pointers to take a 20-plus point lead in the first half. They made 25 free throws in the triumph.
While unlikely, Central York (14-5, 9-3) can share the D-I title with help if it defeats Spring Grove on Tuesday and Dallastown on Friday. An 11-3 Panthers team can share the crown with York High-New Oxford winner if that same team loses on Tuesday.
Division II outlook: Following Eastern York’s 59-56 victory over West York last week, the Golden Knights claimed at least a share of the D-II title.
Eastern (16-3, 10-1) wins the outright D-II crown with a victory Tuesday over Dover or a Bulldogs (15-3, 8-2) loss to Kennard-Dale or Dover. Despite losing both its games to Eastern this season, West York can share the division championship with the Golden Knights if Eastern loses to Dover and the Bulldogs win their last two games.
Division III outlook: Littlestown, which has already clinched a share of the D-III title, lost its first game of the season last Friday against York Tech.
The Thunderbolts (18-1, 11-1) have already clinched a share of the D-III championship, but there’s still an outside chance for York Tech (12-6, 9-3) to share the crown with them. If Littlestown loses its remaining two D-III games against Biglerville and York Catholic, and the Spartans defeat York Catholic and Fairfield, the two squads would share the title.
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.