Rival York-Adams boys' basketball coaches help keep all-star tradition alive

  • An all-star basketball showcase was held at West York High School on Sunday.
  • There were two boys' games pitting Y-A stars vs. Lancaster-Lebanon stars.
  • There was also an all-star girls' game just featuring players from the Y-A League.
Keith Davis of Dover dives the paint during the York-Adams vs Lancaster-Lebanon all-star senior basketball, Sunday, March 31, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Thanks to two rival boys’ basketball coaches from the York-Adams League, the annual senior all-star contests this year remained alive and well.

After the organizer for what was the Y-A senior all-star game sought help to put together this year’s game, Eastern York coach Justin Seitz and West York coach Garrett Bull put their heads together to make things work.

A phone call to some coaches in the Lancaster-Lebanon League quickly turned into talks of reviving the end-of-season battle between the Susquehanna River neighbors and rivals.

“In the past, we had a York-only all-star game,” Bull said. “And since we don’t have a York-Adams coaches association for basketball, Mike Mummert of the Lions Club has been helping organize it for a while. But Mike didn’t really want to be the primary organizer for it and Justin and I were like, ‘we want to keep it going.’”

Event comes together in hurry: In the span of just a few short weeks, the details of the contest and the format were ironed out between Seitz, Bull and Hempfield coach Danny Walck. Two games pitting Y-A boys' stars vs. L-L boys' stars would take place immediately after the Y-A girls’ all-star game Sunday afternoon at West York.

“We used to have the War of the Roses back in the day and I remember that I played in it when I was in school (at Red Lion),” Bull said. “I know that it was really cool and ultimately a little more competitive than the York-vs.-York game.”

Instead of playing only one game, it was decided that the leagues would participate in two games, with the best seniors from primarily Class 2-A, 3-A and 4-A schools in the first game and players from primarily 5-A and 6-A schools in the second contest.

“We thought that maybe it was too late to do it, but we knew that the worst case is that we would just have another York-vs.-York (game),” Bull said. “And at first we were going to play it at Eastern, since that is closer for the Lancaster teams, but there were some gym conflicts, so we decided to just play it here after the girls' (Y-A senior all-star) game.”

Ironically it wasn’t the first time that Bull and Seitz, whose Golden Knights won the Division II title over rivals Dover and West York this season, helped solve a problem this year. Without a coaches association, Bull and Seitz felt that there hasn’t been the desired amount of emphasis on recognizing the players by the coaches.

Determining the rosters: Both were aware that the coaches in other sports vote on divisional all-star teams and so they decided to try it with basketball this year as well. The result of that helped Bull and Seitz coordinate player nominations and voting for the senior all-star teams, which were limited to 12 roster spots per team.

With nearly 40 total senior players nominated to participate by the Y-A coaches, it was necessary to have a round of voting to determine the two 12-player teams.

In the end, Bull couldn’t have been any happier with how things turned out.

“We only figured out the official date, time, place and rosters about 10 days ago,” he said. “So it kind of felt like, for a lot of it, that we were just doing this by the seam of our pants. And it was great. It was a lot of fun and I know the kids enjoyed it. We’d really like to try to do this again next year.”

Keith Davis enjoys event: Don’t just take Bull’s word for it. Dover senior Keith Davis couldn’t stop smiling, even after the L-L team earned a 154-134 triumph in the high-scoring, big-school game.

“This was extremely fun,” Davis said. “We all needed this. It was always pretty serious during the season, but today we got to play and hang out with some of our friends that we were competing against the whole (year).”

Davis, who missed much of the season with a hand injury, started his season off with his second career dunk in a contest played at West York against the Bulldogs. It was only fitting that the Eagle standout was able to wrap things up just like he started.

With the outcome no longer in question, York High senior Marquise McClean lobbed a pass off the backboard for Davis, who finished with a one-handed dunk before the final buzzer sounded.

“Even after I came back, I still played with a broken hand for most of the season and I really couldn’t shoot 3s,” he said. “But my hand actually works now and I was able to get a couple of them (dunks).”

The Y-A was able to earn a split of the festivities by winning the small-school game against the L-L, 121-109.

Looking to future: As for the future of the event, Bull hopes that the coaches can get together next year to mimic the way the L-L does things. They held a league-only all-star event last week in addition to the two games Sunday.

York High coach Clovis Gallon Sr. coached the 5-A and 6-A team, while Littlestown’s Johnathan Forster coached the 2-A, 3-A and 4-A team. Gallon was chosen primarily because his Bearcats won the Division I title, while Forster was picked after leading the Thunderbolts to the Division III title.

Zumbrum leads North to girls' win: In the all-Y-A girls' senior all-star game, the North squad grabbed a 63-51 win over the South. Delone's Bradi Zumbrum was the only player in double figures with 11 points. She led the North to victory.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.