BASKETBALL

York-Adams League big picture: Winter sports already beginning division play

Thomas Kendziora
York Dispatch

The York-Adams League winter sports season may have started just a week and a half ago, but teams have already reached a pivotal part of the 2022-23 calendar. Division battles commence this week in both basketball and wrestling while other sports continue to ramp up.

Unlike in football and other sports in which league and non-league games are distinctly separated on the schedule, these condensed winter campaigns will continue to go back and forth in the coming two months. The tip-off basketball tournaments won’t have been gone for long before holiday tournaments commence, and regional wrestling events remain scattered across the calendar. 

But the simplicity of division standings, and the local rivalries that reside within, make these matchups all the more appealing. After a busy weekend with teams scattered around the region, here’s a big-picture look at what’s happening locally this coming week.

York High's Omarion Newson (12) against Mastery Charter's Shymir Clay (21) during their boys basketball game in York on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022.

NEIGHBORHOOD HOOPS

Basketball teams all around the association entered this season with optimism, as nearly every division on both the boys’ and girls’ sides appeared open for the taking. While the first two weekends have provided suggestions regarding contenders and pretenders, those division races are about to begin in earnest.

Delone Catholic and Biglerville start things off with a boys’ game Monday evening, but the rest of the league opens division play Tuesday, and everyone wants desperately to start 1-0.

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Boys: Plenty of eyes will be on the trio of Division I matchups. Two-time defending D-I champion Red Lion takes its still-inexperienced roster to Central York, which could present a challenging matchup with its size and athleticism. Dallastown visits York High and South Western visits Spring Grove; all four teams left last season wondering what could have been and have high hopes for their returning talent. Northeastern travels to New Oxford in the lone cross-divisional matchup.

The first night of D-II action actually features a rematch, as Susquehannock and Kennard-Dale met in the finals of the Southern Border Shootout on Saturday. The Warriors won that game on the road and will hope to do it again. West York hosts York Suburban and Eastern York visits Dover on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s D-III games are York Tech at Bermudian Springs, York Catholic at Fairfield and Littlestown at Hanover. After York Catholic and Littlestown separated themselves from the pack in 2021-22, everyone else is eager to begin their pursuit.

Dallastown's Praise Matthews gets past the South Western defense during action at Dallastown Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Dallastown took the win 39-30. Bill Kalina photo

Girls: Dallastown, much like Red Lion’s boys, is still adapting to its new roster as it begins its D-I title defense at York High, where a promising Bearcats team awaits. Central York is a dominant 4-0 but has a road test against Red Lion. South Western has shown promise in a 2-1 start and hosts Spring Grove. Northeastern and New Oxford is also a crossover matchup on the girls’ side, although it’s the Colonials in D-I and on the road.

Susquehannock, after beating Kennard-Dale 34-31 in a narrow tournament final Saturday, will host the Rams for the second time in four days. West York, off to a 1-3 start against strong competition, visits a York Suburban team coming off a tournament title at Middletown. Eastern York will look to build on its strong start when it visits Dover.

York Catholic hosts Fairfield in a D-III battle of early unbeatens, while division juggernaut Delone Catholic hosts Biglerville on Tuesday. Hanover is at Littlestown and Bermudian Springs visits York Tech, who will play plenty of teams in this division without technically being a member.

Spring Grove's Teague Conover, top, and Central York's Jason Eckert battle in their 189-pound match at Spring Grove Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. Conover won with a pin. Spring Grove went on to win the match 40-28. Bill Kalina photo

PINNING IT DOWN

Different teams have taken different approaches to the opening weekends of this season. Some have competed in tournaments for individuals in their respective weight classes, where standings are determined by adding up finishes. Others have focused on dual meets, where each individual match contributes more directly to a team scoreboard.

The common ground, of course, is that both settings can provide the kind of competition necessary to help prepare wrestlers for the matches that mean a little extra. And division duals certainly fit that description.

In a potentially wide open Division I, Spring Grove visits Central York on Wednesday and a pair of matchups follow on Thursday. Reigning division winner Dallastown takes the short trip to Red Lion, which outplaced the young Wildcats at the Solanco Mule Classic two weekends ago. South Western visits New Oxford on Thursday as well.

Division II figures to look way different with powerhouse Gettysburg leaving the league. Perhaps York Suburban, which hosts Kennard-Dale on Thursday, can vault from second to first. West York visits Susquehannock that same evening with both teams hopeful in their own right. Dover visits Eastern York on Thursday as well. 

Reigning D-III champion Biglerville hosts Littlestown in a noteworthy Adams County showdown on Thursday. Bermudian Springs follows a Wednesday crossover dual with Northeastern by visiting Delone Catholic. York Tech, after going 2-0 last weekend, opens its division slate at Fairfield. Hanover will join the dual meet action next week.

Tournament return: First, the Nighthawks will host the Snacktown Duals on Saturday against Kennard-Dale, Littlestown and Delone Catholic. The weekend tournament slate also includes several teams competing at Carlisle and Donegal. 

Dallastown and Spring Grove will be among 46 teams competing in the Panther Classic at Mount Aloysius College. Central York will be part of a 29-team field at the King of the Mountain tournament at Central Mountain High School, which has become one of the most prestigious high school events in the state.

MORE WINTER SPORTS

The only local head-to-head matchup of the swimming season thus far came Thursday, when South Western and Susquehannock split boys’ and girls’ meets last Thursday. This week, though, will see an uptick in such contests. Perhaps most notable is Dallastown at York Suburban (both girls’ teams won division titles last year) on Tuesday.

League matchups are also on the way in bowling. New Oxford visits Dallastown and Spring Grove battles Central York on Monday; Kennard-Dale is at Spring Grove on Tuesday; Central York is at Dallastown on Thursday; and New Oxford battles York Tech on Friday.