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Snow forces local hoops teams to alter PIAA preparation

Patrick Strohecker
505-5402/@P_Strohecker
  • The Spring Grove boys' basketball team will go through a shoot-around before leaving for its game Thursday.
  • The Central York girls will try to get into the school gym Wednesday for another practice.
  • The Susquehannock girls are familiar with second-round foe New Oxford, so preperation isn't as vital.

As winter storm Stella barreled through Pennsylvania on Tuesday, it put a freeze on the PIAA basketball playoffs.

With the snowstorm postponing all state basketball games until Thursday, local teams, such as the Susquehannock girls, are having to alter their preparation plans to deal with the extra time off before their second-round contest. Amanda J. Cain photo

The second round of the state tournament was supposed to take place Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but all of those games were postponed until Thursday. It also forced this weekend's quarterfinal round to be condensed into just Saturday, instead of Friday and Saturday.

As for the swimming championships, what is usually a Wednesday through Saturday event, is now Thursday through Sunday, with diving not taking place until the following weekend.

However, it's the basketball teams that are most drastically affected by the late-season snowstorm. They have now been forced to sit on their games for an extra 24 or 48 hours. That might seem ideal for some extra preparation, but with schools closed, teams are in a holding pattern.

"We tried to make sure that we got in everything (Monday) that we needed to get in," Susquehannock girls' coach Dave Schreiner said. "And we went a little bit longer than normal just because, (Tuesday), I knew we weren't going to have a chance to practice and I'm really doubting that (Wednesday) we're going to be able to practice unless there's special arrangements made."

PIAA makes state schedule changes because of snowstorm

There are eight York-Adams area teams still remaining in the state playoffs, and four of them were expecting to play on Tuesday night. So, for the most part, their preparation wasn't impacted a great deal because any practice and scouting they would've done would have been wrapped up by Monday night anyway.

One of those teams was the Spring Grove boys. The Rockets' staff rarely does much scouting on the other team, a method that head coach James Brooks has always stood by. With his Rockets now given an extra 48 hours to think about District 11 champion East Stroudsburg North, Brooks still kept things operating as normal. He will, however, take advantage of Spring Grove's half day of school on Thursday to put any final touches on a game plan.

"Thursday we'll go in before we leave now because the guys have a half day," Brooks said. "So, we'll go in an hour before we leave and do a little walk-through, a little shoot-around, so the guys get some actual time on the court."

Spring Grove head coach James Brooks (right) has a 69-37 record in four seasons as the Rockets' head coach, including one Y-A League tournament title and two state appearances.  John A. Pavoncello photo

The Central York girls were in the same boat as Spring Grove. The Panthers were expecting to play Tuesday, but now must wait until Thursday. The Panthers, knowing that the forecasters were predicting a big snow, got back on the court Saturday to begin preparation for Cardinal O'Hara and then finished things up on Monday.

Head coach Scott Wisner has already been in contact with athletic director Marty Trimmer about getting the school's gym opened on Wednesday, even if the school is closed, to make sure the team doesn't lose its edge.

"You worry about your sharpness when you're not in the gym for a day, or maybe two. That's the biggest concern for us now playing Thursday," Wisner said. "I know our athletic director is going to try to get us back in (Wednesday), depending with school and everything, but I think that is our biggest concern right now."

Schreiner and the Warriors might be in the best shape of any of the local teams, along with the New Oxford girls. Those two teams face each other on Thursday night at West York High School. Having already played once, Schreiner already has an idea of what to expect out of the Colonials, so there wasn't as much new preparation needed.

"Not only did we have game film from when we played them, but we had other recent game film from when they played in the districts," Schreiner said. "We had a chance to watch them play against some teams recently, so that helped a little bit deciding what we wanted to do."

Eight area basketball teams aim for more PIAA success

While all teams are trying to cope with the change in schedule and being stuck inside, the one thing all the coaches agreed on was that they tried to keep things the same when they had the chance.

The last thing they wanted to do was alter their practice regimen at this time of year because of the snow.

It was the one thing they could control, if nothing else.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com