York High boys' basketball earns division win over Northeastern in makeup game
The Bearcats prevailed in a York-Adams Division I contest originally scheduled for last Friday.
It was but a week ago when the York High boys’ basketball team felt it allowed a winnable game against Central York to get away.
Typically, teams that suffer that type of disappointment would like the chance to get back on the court as soon as possible to get the sour taste of defeat out of their collective mouths. The Bearcats thought they were going to have that opportunity last Friday against York-Adams League Division I rival Northeastern, but that contest was postponed due to the possibility of inclement weather.
Rather then wait until after the new year to make up that contest, both teams elected to play Tuesday evening.
That was a good thing for the York High boys.
The Bearcats raced out to a quick 13-3 advantage in the first period, survived a second-quarter surge by the Bobcats and took control after the intermission en route to a 66-51 triumph.
York High improved to 3-1 in the division and 4-2 overall while Northeastern dropped to 1-2 in the league and 4-6 overall.
“We were excited to get back on the floor,” Bearcats coach Clovis Gallon said. “After you have a tough loss like that, against a good team (Central York) like that where we felt we let it get away, we just wanted to come back out and get another win as soon as possible.”
The speed of the York High defense set the tone early, as the Bearcats' trapping 2-2-1 press gave the Northeastern offense some fits. That’s an area Gallon has been working on with his team during practices to improve on, and Tuesday’s contest showed it’s paying off.
“Our focus all year is, ‘How can we improve defensively?’” Gallon said. “In every single game, we need to have guys that are locked in defensively. Obviously offense sells tickets and fans come out to see guys put the ball in the hoop, shoot 3s and dunk the basketball, but in order to win championships, you have to be able to lock it down and play some good defense.”
Defensive plays helped spur on a pair of dunks in transition for Juelz Tucker. Those dunks gave the York High fans that made their way out two days after the holiday a reason to stand up and cheer for their squad.
While points are points however they are scored, the manner in which they are scored can provide a jolt of energy. That’s exactly what Gallon has been looking for from Tucker, who is the team’s first man of the bench nowadays.
“We made an adjustment with Juelz after the first two or three games when he was a starter,” Gallon said. “We just didn’t have much offense coming off the bench and some other things happened and I was like, ‘You know what …let’s start the big kid.’”
The ‘big kid’ is Monford White, a 6-foot-4 junior who now pairs inside with Omarion Newson, a 6-foot-5 senior. White’s size allows the athletic Newson to play more aggressively on defense. It also gives the Bearcats a chance to change things up with Tucker comes on the floor. At 5-11, Tucker is certainly smaller, but he makes up for that with his speed and ability to jump.
“We like bringing JuJu off the bench,” Gallon said. “He still plays starter-like minutes because, when he’s on the floor, it’s hard to take him off.”
Tucker (11 points) finished as one of four York High player to reach double figures in scoring Tuesday. Daveyon Lydner led the Bearcats with 17 points, while David Warde (12) and Jacere Vega (10) also reached double digits.
Chase Kloster led the Bobcats with 14 points, the only Northeastern player to reach double-figures. Kloster also turned a little kerfuffle into a tense situation when he has assessed a technical foul for shoving a York High player seconds after he was fouled. Fortunately, cooler heads kept things from escalating.
“Obviously playing in Division I, it’s a gauntlet,” Gallon said. “You have two teams that know each other very well and sometimes things will get emotionally charged, but the referees did a good job of stepping in and managing that situation. I’m glad we just remained calm and everybody just dialed it down.”
The Bearcats won’t have any time off the enjoy Tuesday’s victory. That’s because Gallon and his squad will head to Lancaster on Wednesday and Thursday to play in the Hagelgans & Veronis Holiday Tournament.
York High will play the defending District 3 Class 5A champions from Lampeter-Strasburg at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The other two teams in the field are Harrisburg and tournament host J.P. McCaskey.