Pivotal week ahead in York-Adams boys' basketball

Steve Heiser
  • Spring Grove and Northeastern are tied for first in York-Adams Division I boys' basketball.
  • Both teams have two division games remaining this week.
  • The York-Adams Division II race may be decided Friday when Dover and Eastern York meet.

This could be one fun week in York-Adams League boys' basketball.

That's especially true in the Division I race, which looks like it will go right down to the wire.

Antonio Rizzuto led Northeastern with 21 points on Monday against Exeter.

Spring Grove (14-4 overall) and Northeastern (18-2 overall) are locked for first place in D-I at 10-2.

Just 10 days ago, the Bobcats looked like they were cruising to the division crown. They were rarely even challenged en route to a 17-0 start, including opening 9-0 in the division. They held a seemingly insurmountable two-game lead over the Rockets.

Two losses in three games by the Bobcats, however, completely changed the complexion of the division race. First Northeastern lost to Central York on Jan. 21, 68-64, then it dropped a 77-67 decision on Jan. 27 to the Rockets.

Now we suddenly have a sizzling division battle.

Both Spring Grove and Northeastern, however, face some serious D-I challenges over the next few days.

That's especially true for the Rockets.

Rockets to face Wildcats, Panthers: Tuesday, Spring Grove travels to Dallastown (13-6), which sits in fourth in the division at 7-5. The Rockets beat the Wildcats in their first meeting at Spring Grove, 70-59.

Dallastown, however, is dangerous, especially at home. You also have to wonder if Spring Grove may have a letdown after their highly emotional triumph Friday over Northeastern.

If Spring Grove survives that contest, another major challenge looms Friday against Central York in Papertown in the division finale for both teams. The Panthers (13-7 overall) are third in D-I at 8-4 and gave the Rockets an very tough battle earlier in the season before falling, 63-60.

The Wildcats and Panthers will have some added incentive this week. They are both battling for their playoff lives.

Central is currently No. 8 in the District 3 Class 6-A power ratings and Dallastown is No. 11. Only 12 teams make the district 6-A field, so neither's district spot is completely secure.

In addition, only three teams will make the York-Adams League playoffs from Division I, so either Central or Dallastown will miss the league tournament.

So there's plenty of incentive for the Rockets, Panthers and Wildcats.

Bobcats to face Bearcats, Colonials: Northeastern, meanwhile, would appear to have an easier road this week, but appearances can be deceiving.

Tuesday, Northeastern plays host to York High. The Bearcats (7-12, 5-7) are a traditional power, but are suffering through a down season in Clovis Gallon's first year as head coach.

The Bearcats, however, are still very capable of pulling off the upset. Early in the year, they handed Spring Grove one of its two division losses, 72-64. And this past Saturday night, York High threw a major scare into another longtime power, Chester, before falling, 69-65. Chester (13-4) is ranked No. 6 in the state in Class 5-A in the latest City of Basketball Love state poll. Northeastern is No. 10 in that same poll, while Spring Grove is listed as a team to watch.

Tuesday's contest should be a high-scoring affair. Northeastern leads the York-Adams League in scoring at 70.9 points per game, while York High is third at 66.5.

York High will sit out the postseason for the first time in a very long time, so Tuesday's contest may serve as the Bearcats' last, best chance to make some real noise this season.

Stephen Wisler, right, and the Eastern York Golden Knights are still hoping to get a share of the York-Adams Division II boys' basketball crown. John A. Pavoncello

Friday, Northeastern plays host to New Oxford (10-9, 5-7). Like the Bearcats, the Colonials are no pushover. Like Central York and Dallastown, New Oxford will look to improve its district positioning.

New Oxford is No. 14 in the latest District 3 Class 5-A power ratings and only 16 teams will make the playoffs. Motivation shouldn't be a problem for New Oxford.

In addition, less than a week ago, New Oxford surprised Dallastown, 56-54, so the Colonials can't be overlooked.

Division II: The D-II race may not be as compelling as D-I, but it is not without intrigue.

Dover (13-6 overall) leads the division at 9-2, while Eastern York (14-5 overall) is 7-3.

Dover has a bye Tuesday, while Eastern travels to West York (7-11, 5-5). If the Golden Knights can win that game, a showdown for the D-II title looms Friday at Dover.

Getting past the Bulldogs likely won't be a walkover for Eastern, which has struggled since a season-ending injury to leading scorer Jared Achterberg. After a 10-1 start, the Knights have gone 4-4 without their star.

If Eastern wins both games this week, however, it can still claim a share of the D-II title with the Eagles.

Division III: The D-III race is already decided.

York Catholic is 18-1 overall and 12-0 in the division, three games ahead of Littlestown (12-6) and Delone Catholic (10-9), which are tied at 9-3.

State rankings: Speaking of York Catholic, the Irish are No. 5 in Class 3-A in the latest City of Basketball Love state rankings.

The highest-ranked local team in those rankings is York Country Day (13-3), which is No. 4 in Class 1-A.

The only other York County team to earn a top-10 ranking is Northeastern at No. 10 in 5-A, as noted previously.

District ratings: Here's a quick rundown of where York-Adams teams stand in the latest District 3 power ratings. Only teams with a realistic shot of making the field are listed:

Class 6-A (12 make playoffs): Dallastown, No. 8; Central York, No. 11.

Class 5-A: (16 make playoffs): Northeastern, No. 1; Spring Grove, No. 5; Dover, No. 13; New Oxford, No. 14.

Class 4-A: (10 make playoffs): Eastern York, No. 5; Littlestown, No. 6; Biglerville, No. 9; Kennard-Dale, No. 12.

Class 3-A: (Six make playoffs): York Catholic, No. 2; Delone Catholic, No. 6; Hanover, No. 9.

Class 2-A: (Four makes playoffs): Fairfield, No. 4.

Class 1-A: (10 make playoffs): York Country Day, No. 1.

Rizzuto gets D-I attention: Northeastern junior standout Antonio Rizzuto is garnering attention from some NCAA Division I schools.

Rizzuto, according to multiple reports, has already landed scholarship offers from Albany, Stony Brook and High Point.

The 6-foot, 2-inch Rizzuto is fourth in the York-Adams League in scoring at 19.4 points per game.

Two former York Catholic standouts, Jon Iati and Jacob Iati, played at Albany. Jacob Iati started his college career at High Point. Jon Iati is a current assistant at Albany.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.