The latest recruits to the Lock Haven women’s basketball program play on the same AAU team.
The way they ended up committing to the central Pennsylvania university, however, took very different routes.
Kennard-Dale High School senior Chandler Swanson and York High senior Sabria Royal both play for coach Kevin Glover’s AAU club at Spooky Nook in Lancaster County.
After Royal spent a weekend last month at Lock Haven on a recruiting trip, she decided to join the Bald Eagles program.
Swanson, meanwhile, made her decision at the beginning of the year. It really wasn’t all too difficult. The K-D standout already had an affinity for the school’s program for social work.
“I plan to be a social worker when I get older,” Swanson said. “And I really liked their social worker program, so I always had it stuck in my mind that I wanted to go there.”
Royal, on the other hand, thought she was going to head to a much bigger program at the start. After a while, she set her sights a bit lower, with her top choices being Shippensburg and Millersville.
“I really was looking to go to a (NCAA) Division I school,” Royal said. “But then I realized that it doesn’t really matter. I don’t really care about whether it’s Division I or Division II. I just want to go to college to play the sport that I really love playing.”
A weekend trip and recruiting camp helped move the Division II Bald Eagles to the top of Royal's list.
“I spent a weekend up there and they literally let me inside the dorm,” said Royal, who averaged 12.8 points per game last season for York High after transferring from Dallastown earlier in her high school career. “And I’ve never heard of that before, but that made it really easy to connect to some of the girls that are there.”
Royal and Swanson also saw their high school teams experience very different levels of success last season. York High went 1-21, while K-D finished at 23-5, winning York-Adams Division II, finishing third in District 3 Class 4-A and winning a 4-A state playoff game.
Lock Haven has lots of area players: Swanson and Royal will not be the only York-area girls on the Lock Haven team. Right now LHU showcases a pair of former area standouts in senior Jordyn Kloster (Northeastern) and junior Bink Redman (York High). There are four others on the roster from District 3 schools, including a pair from McCaskey, one from Red Land and another from Central Dauphin. Redman started last year and averaged 8.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
Both Swanson and Royal felt good about the coaching staff, led by head coach Jennifer Smith and assistant coach Zack Smith.
“It was really different from other camps that I’ve been to and seen videos of,” Royal said. “And I met the coaches and just decided right then that I wanted to be here.”
Swanson really liked that both coaches weren’t trying to sell her a bunch of goods like used-car salesmen.
“Yeah, I just really liked that they were honest and upfront about everything,” said Swanson, who averaged 6.3 points per game last season for a talented K-D outfit. “I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about how kids are promised so much and then it never happens.”
Both recruits also bonded well with the team during their recruiting trips.
“It felt like I was on the team for years, but I was only there for a day,” Royal said.
“My biggest thing was just how much of a family that it felt like there,” Swanson said. “I only knew Bink and when Rayah Fink played up there, but as soon as I was up there, every girl on the team was talking with me and asking how I was and I just felt automatically welcomed there.”
Renewing rivalries: Swanson and Royal both are looking to renew some rivalries with former opponents next year. LHU is in the same league (the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) as Indiana Univerity of Pennsylvania, which is the home of former Y-A standouts Teirra Preston and Rajah Fink. IUP lost in the Division II Final Four last season while compiling a 31-4 record overall.
In addition, former Central York standout Emma Saxton excels for Bloomsburg.
Lock Haven finished 15-14 overall a season ago and 9-11 in the PSAC.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.