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Fond memories of old West York gym

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
505-5403/@yaiaascores

The West York boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will move into their brand new gymnasium starting this week.

Bill Ackerman

The boys will christen their new digs when they play host to York-Adams Division II rival Gettysburg in a 7:30 p.m. Monday clash. The girls will get their honors Tuesday when they play host to Northeastern in another Division II clash.

While the excitement of playing in a new facility is highly anticipated, the great memories from playing in the old gym will never be forgotten. Along with York Suburban, West York’s old gym was one of the last ones around that had a dedicated student section behind the far basket. Other gyms that shared that aspect, such as Spring Grove and Eastern York, have been replaced over the past decade.

The advantage that a dedicated student section presents to the home side, however, was not fully taken advantage of until boys’ coach Bill Ackerman took over the program in 1998.

“When I got there one of the first things I did was switch the team benches,” Ackerman said. “In the past, West York used to shoot into the big student section in the second half. And I was like ‘that’s crazy!.' We could use that to our advantage, so that was the first thing we changed.”

That aspect made playing in the ‘Dog Pound a tough chore for opponents. But those unique factors will no longer exist in the new arena, which is seemingly a blend of Red Lion and Dallastown’s gymnasiums. There will, however, be a smaller student section behind the one basket, much like the one at Red Lion’s gym.

“We wanted some kind of student section,” Ackerman said, who believes his teams have only lost a dozen or so games at home during his 18-year tenure. “But there is just no way, with how these new gyms are designed, to get that size of a student section in there. So the small one that we will have is kind of homage to the ‘Dog Pound.”

The new gym is expected to seat around 1,700, while the old West York gym seats around 800-900.

Ackerman has a lot of memories of coaching at West York. Surprisingly, however, it’s a handful of losses that his teams suffered that stick out the most.

“I remember playing a game against Reading back in 2008,” he said. “They came in undefeated and we had them the whole game and they made a late run at the end. But we had the ball with a tied score but turned the ball over and they won on a buzzer-beating dunk. It was just a great game.”

Another key memory for Ackerman is one that really didn’t revolve around basketball at all. Shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer back in 2013, the fans and West York community supported their coach with a surprise that brought the coach to tears.

“The day I was diagnosed we played a game and I don’t remember anything about it,” he said, his voice breaking at times. “But then two games later, it was a home game and the West York community got some T-shirts made and really showed a lot of support for me through my fight with cancer. And I get emotional even now thinking about that gym. To many people it’s just a building, but to me and a lot of other guys, it means a whole lot more. And I’m going to miss it.”

Girls’ basketball coach Darrell Wildasin doesn’t really have the same sort of attachment to the old gym as Ackerman. In fact, he’s looking forward to the new gym for a different personal reason.

“Hopefully I can get a room that I can call an office,” he said laughing. “Instead of a closet that I have now. I meet with my assistants at halftime and I have booster club people coming into the meeting for storage stuff. It’s a little bit ridiculous, but it is what it is.”

Manlove closing in on 100 career victories: Dallastown girls’ basketball coach Mary Manlove recently picked up her 99th career victory Saturday when her Wildcats defeated Reading. In her seventh season at the helm at Dallastown, Manlove has led her program to a 99-66 overall mark.

The veteran coach, however, may have to wait a bit to get to win No. 100. Her team, which is 4-15 this year, has upcoming games against Division III co-leader York Catholic (17-4) on Monday and Division I contender York High (12-8) on Tuesday.

Her best chance appears to be Wednesday when the Wildcats face Northeastern (5-15).

Milestones: Biglerville’s Noah Ayers recently went over the 1,000-point mark for his career Friday against rival Bermudian Springs. The junior sharpshooter became just the seventh boy in Canner history to reach the mark.

York High’s Montrel Morgan set a new school record for points in a career Saturday in a loss to Capitol Christian. Morgan, who played two years at New Hope Academy before transferring to York, scored 19 points to bring his career total to 1,456. The previous mark was held by Morgan’s cousin, Kelvin Parker, who finished his career with 1,451 points.

Big nights: York Catholic sophomore Kate Bauhof has been a leading scorer for the Irish since she first stepped onto the floor a year ago. But Bauhof smashed her previous career-high in points when she went off for 40 in a victory against rival Delone Catholic Friday night.

Her previous best was a 32-point performance in a victory over West York earlier this season. She has 646 points for her career.

Fairfield’s Abby Herring dropped in a career-high 29 points in her team’s 49-44 loss to Littlestown Friday. The Green Knight standout leads her team with a 13.1 points per game average.

York-Adams area District 3 basketball playoff rankings: There are 14 York-Adams area teams currently in the top six in the power rankings in their respective classes as of Sunday 5 p.m. The list is as follows:

Boys’ Class A: No. 1 — York County Day (15-0).

Boys’ Class AA: No. 2 — York Catholic (16-4), No. 5 – Hanover (13-6).

Boys’ Class AAA: No. 5 — Eastern York (17-4).

Boys’ Class AAAA: No. 1 — Central York (17-2), No. 3 – Northeastern (18-1), No. 5 – Spring Grove (18-2).

Girls’ Class A: No. 4 — Christian School of York (14-5).

Girls’ Class AA: No. 4 — York Catholic (17-4), No. 5 Delone Catholic (15-5).

Girls’ Class AAA: No. 4 — Susquehannock (19-2), No. 6 – York Suburban (17-3).

Girls’ Class AAAA: No. 1 — Red Lion (20-1), No. 5 – Central York (18-2).

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.