Takeaways from opening week of hoops

It's too early to make any rash judgments on the new basketball season, but here are some talking points that could mean something more as the season progresses.

Patrick Strohecker

The opening weekend of the area high school basketball season is a special time.

It's jam-packed with games, with most York-Adams League teams taking part in tip-off tournaments. Most teams get right into the swing of things with two games.

It's a great way to jump right into the winter sports schedule and get a nice taste of what could be in store for the upcoming season. While making any snap judgments about teams based off of the opening weekend is misguided, it's still not too early to examine what went down on the hardwood and get an idea about what it could potentially mean over the course of the entire season.

So, here are five takeaways from the opening weekend of the boys' and girls' basketball seasons.

1. York High gets battle-tested early: It's hardly a secret that the Bearcats' schedule is, arguably, the area's toughest non-league slate, year in and year out.

There was no easing into the season for Head Coach Troy Sowers and his York High boys. They opened play in the Bearcat Basketball Tip-Off Classic over the weekend.

Northeasetern's Donovian Maxfield makes a diving attempt to keep the ball in bounds as the Bobcats face West York last season. Northeastern and the Bulldogs look to be the favorites to win the York-Adams League Division II title this year and both won their season-opening tournaments over the weekend.

The Bearcats were joined in the four-team event by Williamsport, Reading and South Philadelphia. After narrowly escaping Williamsport in its first game on Friday night, winning 81-75 in overtime, York High couldn't keep up with Reading in the championship game on Saturday night.

The Bearcats spotted the Knights an 11-0 lead in the title game and could never make up the deficit, losing 76-57. While that game might raise some eyebrows about York High, don't let it change your opinion on the team. Reading is one heck of a team, and typically these early-season non-league games only set up Sowers' bunch to be that much better come Y-A League Division I play and postseason competition. It wouldn't be a shock if we look back on this game in two months and view it as a learning moment for the Bearcats.

2. Camel and Gettysburg live up to preseason hype: It's easy to lose sight of how much potential the Gettysburg Warriors have this year because they're overshadowed in the Y-A League Division II landscape by West York and Northeastern.

However, all snap judgments aside, this weekend could've been a nice indicator that Division II could very well be a three-team race.

To start, Gettysburg possesses one of the best pure scorers in the league in Marquise Camel, who will be one of the senior leaders burdened with the responsibility of trying to replace multiple graduated players from last year's state tournament team. Well, by the end of the first night of the season, he showed that he might have the ability to make that happen, nailing a huge four-point play with two seconds to play a 57-55 win over Shippensburg. It capped off a 14-point opener for him.

Then, a night later, players other than Camel stepped up to help Gettysburg win the GWABC Tip-Off tournament, blowing out Cedar Cliff, 52-33. Camel only had six points in that contest, but Max Lampe went for 20, while Connor Weikert contributed 10. The two nights showed that on any given night, someone from the Warriors can lead the charge offensively, and that this isn't a team to look past in Division II.

3. West York and Northeastern get off to fast starts: Speaking of Division II, the Bulldogs and Bobcats both kicked off their seasons with tip-off tournament wins.

The two rivals will be nip and tuck all year long when it comes to gaining an edge in the Y-A League Division II race, and they showed that even when they aren't facing each other, one team will always be trying to one-up the other.

West York won the York Suburban Tip-Off Tournament by defeating Red Land in its first game and then dispatching Dallastown on Saturday. The Bulldogs crushed the Patriots by 17 in their opener and then got a tremendous offensive effort by Darian McCauley in the championship game against Dallastown. McCauley went for 32, including 15 in the opening quarter, to claim the title.

Meanwhile, in Manchester, Northeastern defended its home court, knocking off Northern York in the opener and then rolling past Red Lion in the championship game to capture the Bobcat Tip-Off Classic. In the championship game, the Bobcats showed both their offensive firepower and stingy defense . After the two teams were tied 3-3 (yes, that is correct) through one quarter, Northeastern erupted for 61 points over the next three. All of that came while not sacrificing any defense, holding the Lions to just 37 points.

Expect this "anything you can do, I can do better" mentality all year long with West York and the Bobcats.

4. Quest for No. 11 begins well for York Catholic girls: Rarely do you get a time in sports where one team has dominated an entire class and region for a full decade.

Well, the Fighting Irish girls' team has, and now they're looking to continue their run into a second decade. When you've won 10 straight District 3-AA titles, where exactly do you start for an 11th? The first game isn't a bad start.

York Catholic kicked off its quest for an 11th consecutive District 3-AA medal with an emphatic 73-59 win over perennial power Trinity on Saturday. One of the few teams in the league not to play in a tournament this weekend, the Fighting Irish made their one game count. Kate Bauhof dropped 31 points to lead all scorers in the game, while Emily Laslo and Jania Wright chipped in with 15 and 12, respectively. Overall, eight different York Catholic players scored in the game. If the opener was an indication of anything, it's that the Fighting Irish may have the depth to make it 11 straight district crowns.

5. Central York girls make their mark early: An 18-6 overall record and 9-3 Division I mark are not poor, by any standards. It does mean, however, that there's some room for improvement.

For the Central York girls' team, that's what they're hoping to do after posting those records last year. They're off to a strong start, already claiming some hardware after the opening weekend.

Central York captured the Penn Manor Tip-Off Tournament, defeating Lower Dauphin in the semifinals and then blowing out Kennard-Dale in the title game. The Panthers looked like they had something to prove after narrowly escaping the Falcons by seven on Friday. They took it to the Rams on Saturday afternoon, winning 60-24. Emma Saxton combined to score 33 points in the two wins, earning tournament MVP honors.

The Panthers should have the talent around Saxton to compete for the York-Adams Division I top spot. After the opening weekend, they're certainly riding high with confidence.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com