MIDDLETOWN — Jordan Ray admits that he heard the rumblings last year about his York Country Day boys' basketball team.
Things like 'Oh, they're just a fluke' or 'they brought in a team.'
Just rumors, as Ray called them.
None of that mattered, however, when the Greyhounds rolled into the Giant Center in Hershey last year and won the program's first-ever District 3 title.
While this year is not about redemption, it's still about proving the skeptics wrong.
Ray would like nothing more than to do it one more time.
YCD's talented senior will get the chance to do just that at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Hershey. Ray poured in a game-high 32 points to lead the Greyhounds to a dominating 83-41 victory over Mount Calvary in a District 3 Class 1-A semifinal at Middletown High School Monday evening.
YCD (18-4), the No. 1 seed in the draw, will face second-seeded Lancaster County Christian (20-4) in the title game.
"There was a lot of chatter," Ray said. "And there's a lot of chatter when you do well. And I took that to heart. We're going back to the Giant Center. We're going back and we're going to try to get this thing again."
For Ray, not repeating as district champ would be a massive letdown. So he did what he always seems to do when the going gets tough this year — he led by example.
"That's what I was thinking out there on the court tonight," Ray said. "I can't let anyone just deny me or the team or the fans from going to Hershey again. We worked so hard throughout this season against tougher competition for moments like this. And for us to shine like that tonight was amazing."
YCD didn't get off to quite the start it envisioned against the No. 4 seeded Chargers (17-9), who led 4-1 midway through the first period. So Ray took it upon himself to make sure his team got on the roll it has been known for over the past two years.
The YCD forward sank the first of his three 3-pointers in the first period with just more than four minutes left to even the score. By the time the quarter was over, the Greyhounds had built a 17-8 advantage.
"Jordan got us rolling at the 3-point line," YCD coach Chris Charleston said. "But we have a bunch of kids that can make a 3-point shot and get us going at any time."
DeAireus Brown chipped in 16 points for YCD, while Jalen Gorham added 15 more and D.J. Hamilton finished with 10.
Now the Greyhounds will turn their attention toward repeating as district champs. To do so ,they have to get past an LCC team that could give Charleston and his team some trouble.
"Lancaster County Christian is well-coached," Charleston said. "They do a lot of nice things. They're fundamentally sound, so we're going to have to make sure that we tighten some things up, especially on the defensive end, because they do such a nice job on the perimeter."
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org