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With the York-Adams League boys’ basketball tournament starting this weekend, York High is the favorite to take home the crown.

The Bearcats won the Division I title and have been ranked among the top-10 teams in the state in Class 5-A for most of the season.

The hottest team heading into the tournament, however, could be Central York. The Panthers won nine of their last 10 games, with the only loss coming by six points to York High, to finish second in Division I.

“We have been playing better as the season has progressed, which is what we are always hoping for,” head coach Kevin Schieler said. “We had some guys early on who are now getting comfortable in some new roles.”

The Panthers aren’t just hot, but they’ll be rested, too. While many area teams played games this week because of postponements, Central York has been able to practice and heal up for the postseason.

“It’s excellent this time of year to have a full week of practice,” Schieler said. “We get a chance to get some guys rest who have been injured or banged up. When you have several games in a week, it’s hard to fix some things because you’re doing a lot of prep for the next game.”

Schieler said this isn’t his most talented team. The Panthers only have one player scoring in double digits (Braden Richard, 11.9 points per game). But that doesn’t mean the Panthers don’t have a chance to make a postseason run, Schieler said.

“Our guys are gamers right now,” he said. “Sometimes, as coaches, we don’t like what we do in practice, but every time the official tosses the ball up in the air, our guys go out and play hard.”

Schieler said this year’s tournament is “unpredictable.”

“This is one of the most unpredictable years across the board,” he said. “I am eager to see these Division II and Division III teams compete against these other teams. York High is the favorite, but with the (Marquise) McClean injury, you just don’t know what will happen.”

Following are preview capsules on the four Y-A boys' basketball quarterfinals.

Central York (16-5, D-I No. 2 seed) vs. York Tech (14-8, D-III No. 2 seed): The Panthers play York Tech Saturday night in the first round at Red Lion High School. The winner will play the winner of the Eastern-New Oxford game in the semifinals on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Red Lion.

Schieler said his squad will have to stop a senior-laden Spartans squad that is led by Terence Romey, who is scoring 22.1 points per game.

“Romey is a very good basketball player,” Schieler said. “I’ve seen them a little this year. He’s quick and he shoots the ball well. He’s their spark plug, their motor. They have a good group of seniors. Three of their seniors have been four-year players. They have really good chemistry.”

York High (17-3, D-I No. 1 seed) vs. Dover (13-9, D-II No. 3 seed): York High head coach Clovis Gallon Sr. said before the season that his team had four goals: win the division title, win the league championship, win the District 3 crown and win the state tournament. The first goal was accomplished earlier this week, when the Bearcats claimed their first outright D-I title since 2015.

Saturday, the Bearcats will start chasing their second goal in the quarterfinals against a Dover team that could be a playoff dark horse. The Eagles have won six of their last eight games and are at full strength with the return of top player Keith Davis about a month ago. Elijah Sutton is leading the team at 23.9 points per game, and Davis has scored 20.2 in his nine contests. Tip at Central York is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The winner will play the winner of the Littlestown-West York game.

York will be without McClean, the team's second leading scorer, who has a hip injury.

Littlestown (21-1, D-III No. 1 seed) vs. West York (18-4, D-II No. 2 seed): Littlestown is coming off an impressive season en route to the D-III title, with the one loss coming to York Tech in January. The Thunderbolts' first-round game on Saturday vs. West York, however, could be their toughest contest thus far.

Two of West York's losses came to D-II champion Eastern York. Littlestown is led by Logan Collins (22.7 points per game), and West York’s top player is Alex McClellan (17.6 points per game). Tip at Central York is 6 p.m. The winner will play either York High or Dover in the semis.

Eastern York (19-3, D-II No. 1 seed) vs. New Oxford (16-5, D-I No. 3 seed): Eastern York has won nine straight heading into the tournament. The D-II champs are led by Trevor Seitz (15.8 points per game) and Demonte Martin (15.0 points per game).

The Golden Knights will face off with a New Oxford team that was 90 seconds away from a second win over York High and a D-I title last Saturday. Tip at Red Lion is 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The winner will play Central or York Tech in the semifinals.

The league championship game at York College is 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15.

Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at jmeyer@yorkdispatch.com

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