West York boys' basketball grabs road win over Susquehannock

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

GLEN ROCK — After a terrific season last year that culminated in a York-Adams League championship, a lengthy District 3 Class 5A run and a berth into the PIAA draw, the West York boys’ basketball team entered the 2022-23 campaign looking to repeat or even exceed last season’s standard.

Despite the loss to graduation of a handful of key seniors, who included standouts like A.J. Williams, Jaden Walker, Ja’Vair Powell and others, the Bulldogs felt good about their chances with a handful of talented players returning from last year’s squad.

One of those players, junior point guard Mark Walker, was expected to be the team’s primary ball handler this season. But the dynamic and gifted Walker, who is Jaden’s cousin, suffered a knee injury during football season, putting his availability in limbo for the season.

Having to move some players and responsibilities around, West York coach Garrett Bull has had to tinker around to find the right mix just a few weeks into the season. The Bulldogs were just 2-2 overall entering Friday's showdown against an undefeated Susquehannock side.

Without Walker, who could possibly return sometime in mid- to late January or February, Bull challenged his three seniors — guards Braedyn Detz and David McGladrie and forward Jovan DeShields — to be more assertive against the Warriors. That trio responded Friday. Led by a team-best 15 points from DeShields, the Bulldogs left Glen Rock with a satisfying 52-42 triumph.

West York's David McGladrie (23) against Susquehannock during their boys basketball game in Glen Rock on Friday, Oct. 16, 2022.

“I challenged my guys after Tuesday’s game (a 54-40 victory over York Suburban) because I didn’t think we were fully ready to play,” Bull said. “So I asked them to be mentally focused and ready for the game, and I think my three senior captains were locked in from the tip.”

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West York (3-2, 2-0 Division II) jumped out to an early lead, which the Bulldogs maintained through the rest of the first half. DeShields scored seven in the half while McGladrie and Grady Hoffman registered five points each over the first two quarters.

The Warriors, however, came out of the break quickly with a 7-2 run to go up 24-22 about midway through the stanza. Josh Franklin had a pair of buckets during that spurt, as did teammate Chase Robert.

“They came out and made some plays to start the third quarter,” Bull said of Susquehannock. “They took the lead on us, and that’s when it was just a point of seeing how we were going to respond.”

Susquehannock against West York during their boys basketball game in Glen Rock on Friday, Oct. 16, 2022.

After back-to-back buckets put the Bulldogs on top, the Warriors (4-1, 1-1) regained the lead again on a 3-pointer by Abass Ndiaye. Detz, who finished with 14 points, put his team back on top with an unusual 3-pointer off an inbounds play in which the ball bounced off the rim and hit the top of the backboard before falling through.

Susquehannock evened it up on the ensuing possession, but McGladrie put the Bulldogs ahead for good with a free throw before DeShields extended the advantage on a lay-in moments later. Detz followed with another 3-pointer to push the advantage to four (35-31).

“I like that we didn’t panic when we lost the lead,” Bull said. “We just stayed the course and made some plays to get the lead back.”

The fourth quarter was a struggle offensively for the Warriors, as foul trouble and a growing deficit forced the Susquehannock offense to speed up and take some lesser percentage shots.

Franklin, who scored eight of his game-high 19 points in the fourth, was the only Warrior to reach double figures Friday.

While Bull and his team walked away with the victory, the West York coach knows the Susquehannock boys will be a force in Division II all season long.

“Susquehannock is a solid team,” Bull said. “They have a lot of our their guys back from last year except Jalen (Franklin), but they still have Josh and he’s a really good basketball player. We certainly had our hands full.”