BASKETBALL

York-Adams League basketball preview: Players to watch in 2022-23

Only one of last season's seven Players of the Year is back, but there's talent throughout the league.

Thomas Kendziora
York Dispatch

Editor's note: A prior version of this story included Northeastern's Karron Mallory among players returning this season. Mallory, a member of the 2023 class, has played four high school seasons and is out of eligibility. This error was fixed after The York Dispatch's Tuesday print deadline.

York-Adams League basketball is back this weekend to tip off the 2022-23 season, and every team has reason for optimism. That’s always the case this time of year, but it seems especially warranted for the upcoming campaign.

The boys’ side of the league features a slew of teams who were inexperienced last year but return several core pieces. Several girls’ teams are coming off deep postseason runs but will need new faces to step in for departed standouts. 

Of the seven stars who earned Player of the Year honors in their respective divisions last season, six have moved on. All three girls’ honorees are now playing in college — Dallastown’s D’Shantae Edwards at Bethune-Cookman, Gettysburg’s Anne Bair at Manhattan College and Delone Catholic’s Giana Hoddinott at Mount St. Mary’s — while Red Lion’s Evan Watt is playing Division I soccer at La Salle.

Susquehannock’s Jalen Franklin wrapped up his high school career by averaging 22.7 points per game and broke the Warriors’ career scoring record, which had stood for 48 years. Northeastern's Karron Mallory, a member of the 2023 class, played his fourth high school season last year and is out of eligibility.

But York Catholic’s Luke Forjan is back for his senior campaign with sights set on dominating Division III again.

York Catholic's Luke Forjan, left, takes the ball to the basket while Troy's Lance Heasley defends during PIAA boys' first round basketball action at York Catholic High School in York City, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. York Catholic would win the game 70-43. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Forjan earned Division III first-team nods in his freshman and sophomore seasons, then notched 22.6 points per contest as a junior in a Player of the Year campaign. The 5-foot-11 guard became the 15th York Catholic male player to reach 1,000 career points last season but the first member of his family to do so. That’s no small feat considering his sister Rachel scored 997 for the girls’ team, his father Jim won two state titles with the Irish and the gym is named after his grandfather James.

Forjan will team up with his twin brother John and classmate Brady Walker to lead the Fighting Irish this season. John Forjan was a second team all-county selection last year, while Walker was an honorable mention. York Catholic went 18-9 (13-1 in D-III) and reached the district semifinals.

Here are other returning all-stars and players to watch.

DIVISION I

Boys: Central York’s Greg Guidinger averaged 18.9 points in 13 games last season and returns as the Panthers’ 6-foot-7 centerpiece; the Panthers also have all-county honorable mention Ben Natal. Dallastown brings back first team all-star guard D.J. Smith and honorable mention Conner Barto. York High returns first-team guard Jacere Vega and a pair of honorable mentions in Daveyon Lydner and Juelz Tucker.

Northeastern's Chase Kloster and Spring Grove’s Ethan Glass return after second team all-county selections in 2021-22. Red Lion, last season’s division winner, is the only squad that doesn’t bring back an all-county selection after losing Watt, Sammy Vaught and Masen Urey to graduation.

Girls: All five selections to last year’s D-I first team are back, headlined by the Central York tandem of Bella Chimienti and Mackenzie Wright-Rawls. York High returns first-teamer Zykira McGee and second-teamer Ciarra Gibbs. Spring Grove’s Leah Kale and Red Lion’s Bhrooke Axe will also look to repeat as all-county honorees and perhaps contend for Player of the Year.

Central York's Bella Chimienti tries to save a loose ball in front of Dallastown's Olivia Stein during action at Dallastown Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. Dallastown would win 46-36, clinching the York-Adams Division I championship.  Bill Kalina photo

Reigning division champ Dallastown has a deep roster but lacks obvious star power with Edwards, Olivia Stein and Trishelle Guy all graduated. Wildcats head coach Jay Rexroth labeled Central York as the division favorite at winter media days earlier this month; Panthers coach Scott Wisner met this news with a chuckle and said, “Of course he did. No surprise at all.” He knows as well as anyone that Dallastown won’t simply go away.

DIVISION II

Boys: West York won division and league titles last year but lost first team all-stars Jaden Walker and A.J. Williams to graduation. The Bulldogs, however, do return second-teamer David McGladrie, honorable mention Braedyn Detz and 6-foot-6 big man Jovan DeShields.

Eastern York, after runner-up finishes in D-II and the Y-A tournament, brings back 6-foot-4 Austin Bausman and 6-foot-6 Carter Wamsley to form one of the league’s biggest front lines. Bausman and York Suburban’s Avant Sweeney are the only returning first team all-stars; Wamsley was a second-team selection last season.

Kennard-Dale brings back second-teamer Koy Swanson and honorable mentions Zach Orwig and Levi Sharnetzka. Susquehannock’s Joshua Franklin made the second team last season and will be more heavily featured after his brother Jalen’s graduation.

Girls: The division certainly looks different with District 3 Class 5A champion Gettysburg leaving the league and Northeastern dropping down from Division I. Eastern York will be younger after going 12-0 in division play last year, while West York looks to build on a run to the state quarterfinals and New Oxford hopes to join the party at the top.

New Oxford’s Ella Billman and York Suburban’s Janay Rissmiller are the two returning first-team selections from last year. The Colonials also return second-teamer Timberley Linebaugh, who joined Eastern York’s Arianna Seitz and West York’s Faith Walker on the all-star squad.

West York's Faith Walker, right, works to get around Mechanicsburg's Cassie Eager during PIAA Class 5-A girl's basketball quarterfinal action at Central Dauphin East High School in Harrisburg, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. Mechanicsburg would win the game 45-33. Dawn J. Sagert photo

DIVISION III

Boys: York Catholic finished one game clear of Littlestown a season ago, and those two teams have as much returning talent as any in the league. The Irish have the Forjan brothers and Walker, while the Thunderbolts bring back three first-teamers in Jake Bosley, Zyan Herr and Christopher Meakin. 

Delone Catholic should be right in the mix with first-teamer Camdyn Keller, second-teamer Bryson Kopp and honorable mention Gage Zimmerman. The only other returning all-stars in the division are honorable mentions Tyson Carpenter (Bermudian Springs) and Ethan Shimmel (York Tech).

Girls: It’s a different story from nearly every other York-Adams division, as the Player of the Year and all five first-team selections last season were seniors. Biglerville’s Brylee Rodgers and Littlestown’s Celi Portillo are the only returners among second-team honorees. Division winner Delone Catholic lost its top six players, five of whom are now playing in college.

But Squirettes head coach Gerry Eckenrode is high on the junior trio of Brielle Baughman, Ella Hughes and Kaitlyn Schwarz entering the 2022-23 season. York Catholic brings back all-star honorable mentions Meredith Smith and Paige O’Brien. And let’s not forget Bermudian Springs, which turned a second-place finish in the division into a York-Adams League tournament championship and retains several talented guards.

Everything tips off Friday, and there’s no telling how it all unfolds over the next three months. But there’s plenty of returning talent around the league worth being excited for.