With just about every athletic contest, there's a measure of bragging rights at stake.
With this year’s installment of the annual War of the Roses boys’ basketball showcase, however, there's a little more on the line.
The event, which pits teams from the York-Adams League against squads from the Lancaster-Lebanon League, is being held for a good cause.
Both sites (West York and Manheim Central high schools) will collect donations, with the league that wins the most games at each site being able to donate 60 percent of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society in its name.
To add some flair to the event, coaches will don sneakers along with their usual coaching attire, giving it the feel of a “Coaches-vs.-Cancer” event.
“With sports in general, there’s always bragging rights involved,” West York athletic director Frank Hawkins said. “It’s always nice to have those rivalries across the river, but it’s also nice to see who can venture out and raise the most money knowing that it’s going for more than just basketball. That’s it’s going to those who are fighting a true battle.”
Both leagues will donate to the American Cancer Society this year, but Hawkins says that in future years the leagues will be able to donate to a charitable organization of their choice.
Ackerman was driving force: The event was created by former West York boys’ basketball coach, and Lancaster native, Bill Ackerman. Hawkins says Ackerman was instrumental in contacting the various coaches and getting things together. Its organization has since been handled by current Bulldogs head coach Garrett Bull.
Playing in events such as the War of the Roses also serves as a chance to remind the athletes about the value of making an impact beyond the win-loss column.
“I think so many coaches around our area do a great job reminding athletes that it’s important to give back,” Central York head coach Kevin Schieler said. “It’s not just basketball, it’s so many other sports as well. I definitely think that is a valuable part to the weekend.”
The competition: Besides the philanthropic benefits, local teams can also get an early sense of where they stand on the District 3 level as the season winds toward the playoffs.
West York has six games on its slate, with the first starting at noon. Five contests are set for Manheim Central starting at 1:30 p.m.
Some of the contests have the potential to play a pivotal part in the district tournament aspirations of the participants. A win against a higher-seeded club will no doubt improve the victor's standing, and some have a chance to really cash in by defeating teams from higher classifications.
Central vs. Hempfield: One match-up that leaps out immediately is slated for 4:30 p.m. at West York when Central York (5-3) takes on undefeated Hempfield (9-0).
The Black Knights currently sit atop the District 3 Class 6-A power ratings, while the Panthers are ninth.
“In terms of our opponent, Hempfield is having a great year coming off a deep postseason run last year. It’s definitely a nice measuring stick against the rest of District 3,” Schieler said. “We always appreciate getting some quality games outside of our league. We have some good teams in our league, too, but we also appreciate getting some good competition outside of it. So, we’re excited to play a good team.
“In the past four years, most times we have run into a common opponent at some point in the district tournament. When only 12 teams make the 6-A tournament, sooner or later you’re going to run into teams you’ve seen before, so you definitely hold on to these games."
Other high-profile games: Another high-profile contest will take place at 6 p.m. at Manheim Central when Lampeter-Strasburg and Dover clash. The Pioneers enter at 7-1 and are third in the 5-A rankings. The Eagles are 8-1 and sit ninth in 5-A.
Most of the games will pit teams from the same district classification against one another. However, there are two games that stand out as opportunities for Y-A teams to gain some serious ratings points.
The first is the 6 p.m. match-up at West York, when York Catholic faces off with Lancaster Catholic. The Irish sit fifth in the 3-A ranks at 5-3, while the Crusaders are the top team in 4-A at 8-1.
At 4:30 p.m. at Manheim Central, Kennard-Dale goes up against Garden Spot. The Rams are 6-3 and are third in 4-A. The Spartans are 5-4 and 14th in 5-A.
Other games: Other games on the docket at Manheim Central include a 1:30 game between Ephrata (7-3, 13th in 5-A) and York Suburban (0-8, 37th in 5-A); a 3 p.m. contest that pits Elizabethtown (4-5, 18th in 5-A) vs. Susquehannock (2-7, 30th in 5-A); and a 7:30 p.m. game with Manheim Central (4-2, 12th in 5-A) taking on Gettysburg (4-5, 21st in 5-A).
The rest of the West York slate will see a noon game between Red Lion (3-4, 19th in 6-A) vs. Manheim Township (6-2, 5th in 6-A); a 1:30 p.m. start for Eastern York (6-3, sixth in 4-A) vs. Conestoga Valley (5-5, 13th in 6-A); a 3 p.m. game pitting Dallastown (3-5, 18th in 6-A) vs. Warwick (2-7, 21st in 6-A); and a 7:30 p.m. finale with host West York (3-6, 27th in 5-A) squaring off with Penn Manor (4-6, 15th in 6-A).
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.