After two admittedly down seasons, the York High boys’ basketball team is aiming to redefine the program during the 2017-18 campaign.
The tradition-rich Bearcats are trying to re-establish themselves as one of the premier teams in the York-Adams League.
They took another step toward doing so with Tuesday’s 64-63 overtime victory at Dallastown High School.
With his efforts in the extra session, York’s Jaser Drayden might be rewriting another definition — what it means to be a “sixth man.”
Few players who fulfill the role of first man off the bench are tasked with taking the crucial shots down the stretch of tight games, such as Tuesday night’s. That’s exactly what Drayden did, however, with his efforts in the extra session ultimately leading the Bearcats (5-1 overall, 3-0 in Y-A Division I) to victory.
It was his pull-up jumper with 3.5 seconds left that provided the game’s final margin.
“He plays with high energy. He’s always had that potential since his sophomore year,” York High head coach Clovis Gallon said of Drayden. “He’s capable of making plays like that and we trust him. As a matter of fact, the last play was drawn up for him. We didn’t want the ball in Kyree's (Generett) hands, he’s the second option, and Clovis (Gallon Jr.) and Marquis (McLean) are the third and fourth options. We wanted the ball in Jaser’s hands.”
Overtime: When the extra session began, it looked as if it was going to be Dallastown’s night, with Braden Caldwell leading the way, as he had done throughout most of the evening. But Drayden was more than willing to engage him in a back-and-forth battle.
Caldwell knocked down a deep 3-pointer to start the extra session, but Drayden responded quickly with a Bearcats bucket to make the game 57-56 in favor of the hosts.
Caldwell responded after a Ben Ward steal by taking Ward’s pass the distance, crossing over behind his back at the top the arc to lose a defender before a nifty up-and-under in the lane put Dallastown ahead by three.
Drayden answered right back by nailing a 3-pointer on the other end to even to score at 59-59. After a Dallastown basket by Will Barton, a pair of Drayden free throws saw the score tied again at 61-61.
The Wildcats (2-3, 0-2) traded a basket of their own for a Bearcats free throw and found themselves ahead at 63-62 with 10.4 seconds left.
Drayden took the inbound out of a timeout, split a pair of Wildcat defenders and then got past the reach of Caldwell at half court. With the defense sagging, seemingly anticipating a Drayden drive to the basket, Drayden pulled up from the right elbow and nailed his jumper to put the Bearcats ahead for good with 3.5 ticks left.
“Knowing that my team is with me and they’re going to be behind me at all times. They’re not going to give up on me,” Drayden cited as his source of confidence in clutch moments such as Tuesday night’s. “You’ve got to be confident about your shot, confident all the way.”
Caldwell got the ball at half court on the inbound, but lost possession while trying to drive and create a shot attempt, and the final buzzer went off.
Leading scorers: Drayden finished with 17 points for the Bearcats and Gallon Jr. recorded a team-high 20. Generett finished with 11 points.
Caldwell led all scorers with a game-high 31 points.Barton was the only other Dallastown player to finish in double digits, scoring 14 points.
Tuesday’s test vs. Dallastown was the first of two big divisional match-ups for the Bearcats. York now turns its attention to a Friday trip to Central York to take on the Panthers.
There will be no rest for a weary Dallastown side that is back at it Wednesday against Northeastern before traveling to New Oxford on Friday.
“We needed every ounce of energy that we possibly had to win this game,” York High coach Clovis Gallon said. “Dallastown is a hard place to play. …The guys never wavered, they competed to the end and we won a hard-fought game.”
Eastern York 59, York Suburban 49: At Suburban, the Golden Knights used a 31-9 second-half surge to erase a 40-28 halftime deficit. Trevor Seitz (20), Stephen Wisler (18) and Demonte Martin (10) each reach double digits for the winners. Nate Banks led Suburban with 13 points, while Carter Kowaleski added 10.
York Tech 61, Hanover 58: At Hanover, the Spartans used an 18-11 fourth-quarter edge to grab the win. Jahkwan Batty led Tech with 21 points, while Terance Romey added 14.
West York 62, Susquehannock 46: At West York, Andrew LaManna (20) and Alex McClellan (18) combined for 38 points for the winners. Jackson Murphy scored 11 points for Susquehannock, while Hunter Sentz added 10.
Red Lion 60, South Western 50: At Red Lion, Jamel Foster had a 23-point night to pace the Lions. Tyler Burchett added 15. Chase Topper scored 25 in a losing effort.
York Catholic 69, Bermudian Springs 30: At York Springs, Isaiah Pineda (17), D'Andre Davis (14) and Torrey Thomas (13) each hit double figures for the Irish in the easy win.
Dover 67, Gettysburg 55: At Dover, Keith Davis poured in 28 points and Victor Dorm pumped in 17 to lead Dover. Elijah Sutton added 13. Davis had four 3-pointers, while Sutton and Dorm each had three. Dover used a 25-13 fourth-quarter edge to break away from a 42-42 tie.
New Oxford 54, Spring Grove 48: At Spring Grove, Deriq Brown had 18 points to lead New Oxford. Grant Sterner had 14 points for the Rockets.
West Shore Christian 67, Christian School of York 43: At York, Pantelec had 14 points for CYS in a losing effort.
Arlington Baptist 66, Red Lion Christian 44: At Arlington, Caden Frey and Robert Englestad each had 13 points in a losing cause.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.