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Top-seeded Eastern York boys' basketball team eyes District 3 Class 4-A playoff run

JACOB CALVIN MEYER
717-505-5406/@jcalvinmeyer
  • Eastern York is the No. 1 seed in the District 3 Class 4-A tournament.
  • The Golden Knights are 19-4 and won the York-Adams League Division II title.
  • As the top seed, Eastern earned a first-round bye. They will play at home on Thursday in the quarterfinals.
Eastern York's Trevor Seitz, right, sets up a slam dunk by teammate Demonte Martin in a Golden Knights' game vs. York Tech earlier this season. Seitz and Martin both average in double digits for an Eastern team that finished first in Division II in scoring. John A. Pavoncello photo

Justin Seitz doesn’t think his players will be nervous for their first game in the District 3 playoffs.

The Eastern York boys’ basketball head coach believes his team has been “battle tested,” with a tough schedule and a York-Adams League Division II title.

“We feel that, since mid-January, we’ve been playing playoff basketball,” Seitz said.

The Golden Knights (19-4) have lost two games since Christmas, which includes a nine-game winning streak and two key victories over West York that helped them claim the division crown. Eastern’s four losses were against Class 5-A playoff teams — Northern York (No. 4 seed), Gettysburg (No. 14 seed), Lampeter-Strasburg (No. 2 seed) and New Oxford (No. 5 seed).

For its impressive campaign, Eastern was rewarded with the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the District 3 Class 4-A playoffs, which Seitz said brings a little bit of added pressure.

“I definitely think there is some pressure. It’s not necessarily internal, but it obviously puts a target on our back,” he said. “For us, it’s a great accomplishment. It wasn’t a goal. Our goal is to win a district championship. It helps, though, with getting some home games. Every team who makes it to the district playoffs is a quality team. You can throw the records and the seedings out the window.”

Home games: Following its first-round bye, the Golden Knights will play No. 8 seed Susquehanna Township (12-11), which defeated No. 9 seed Schuylkill Valley (13-10) in the first round, on Thursday.

Eastern York head coach Justin Seitz draws up a play in a game earlier this season. John A. Pavoncello photo

Eastern will play that quarterfinal game and the semifinal game on Monday, Feb. 25 — if the Knights win on Thursday — at home. In the semifinals, they could play either No. 4 Littlestown (22-2) or No. 5 Lancaster Catholic (14-9). The Golden Knights are 10-1 at home this season.

“Our community and our student body are great,” Seitz said. “We’ve had tremendous crowds all year. We have players who have played 60-plus games on that court. It is an advantage. I don’t know how much, but It plays into your favor. That’s the reward you get for having a nice season.”

Y-A League tournament: While Eastern enters the district tournament as the top seed, the Golden Knights will be coming off a loss when it steps on the court at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Trevor Seitz's 3 puts Eastern over West York

Eastern lost to New Oxford, the third seed from Division I, in the first round of the York-Adams League playoffs about 10 days ago. New Oxford, which went on to beat Central York in the league semis and lose by four points to York High in the final, held the Golden Knights without a point for a nine-minute stretch in the 54-44 victory.

“There was some disappointment after that loss,” Seitz said. “We felt like we had a good opportunity to make a run in the county (playoffs). We’ve moved past it. We’re focused on what’s ahead.”

Seitz said the loss to the Colonials was the worst the team has shot all season.

“We have to find ways to win games when we don’t shoot it well,” he said. “You have to give credit to New Oxford, but we missed some shots we usually make.”

Trevor Seitz, Demonte Martin lead team: Junior point guard Trevor Seitz and senior forward Demonte Martin both lead an Eastern team that finished first in Division II in points per game and 3-pointers.

Demonte Martin of Eastern York goes up and over York Tech defender Johan Suero for two point, Monday, January 21, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Seitz finished the regular season third in the league with 60 3-pointers. He’s averaging 15.7 points per game — good for 14th best in the league.

“We can use him to spread open the floor,” Justin Seitz said about his son. “He’s a willing passer. He’s averaging 5 1/2 or 6 assists a game. He’s making the right play and trusting his teammates. His ability to pass the ball has really improved his game.”

Martin, meanwhile, is scoring 14.2 points a contest, utilizing his 6-foot, 5-inch football frame to score in the paint and run the floor. Martin was an all-state pass catcher for Eastern and is signed to play with NCAA Division I Robert Morris.

“He’s extremely athletic,” Justin Seitz said. “We want to play at a high tempo. He’s one of the best athletes, not just in York but in the district. He’s built up his body with football, so he can take contact better. He can stretch his game out too and hit the 15-foot jump shot and some 3s, too.”

Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at jmeyer@yorkdispatch.com.