VIDEO: York High forward Marquise McClean discusses his 21-point performance and the Bearcats' fast start after their blowout win over Central York. JACOB CALVIN MEYER, 717-505-5406/@jcalvinmeyer
Consistency is more of a question mark in high school sports than it is at higher levels.
Teenagers are unpredictable in life and school, and sports are no different. A good basketball player can look like a next-level player on Tuesday and then play like a junior varsity sub on Friday.
York High’s Marquise McClean, however, is less susceptible to inconsistency because of his style of play. In the Bearcats’ 74-49 home win over Central York on Tuesday night, the 6-foot, 2-inch, 220-pound forward didn’t take any bad shots and was nearly perfect from the field, scoring 21 points on 10 of 12 shooting.
“In high school basketball, when you have a kid like that, it’s tough,” York High head coach Clovis Gallon Sr. said. “It puts a lot of pressure on defenses. … He has great feet. He has great intellect. He’s just a quality player around the basket and he can play inside and outside. When we feel like we have an advantage, we feed him the ball and tell him to be very aggressive.”
McClean, who plays the stretch four position for York High, said body control is the key to his success against taller players in the paint.
“I usually go up against guys bigger than me, and I think if I can get them with a quick step that I can get them off balance and spin back the other way or jab one way and score easier,” he said. “I’m a lot stronger than people think.”
McClean gets going: The senior scored back-to-back buckets in the second quarter that he said catapulted him to the 21-point performance.
“I felt good, and my teammates kept coming to me,” McLean said. “They believed in me and my coach believed in me, and that boosted my confidence.
Central York head coach Kevin Schieler said defending McClean is difficult because of his footwork down low.
“Marquise uses his body very well, and he’s got great footwork,” Schieler said. “He has athleticism, but he has such good footwork fundamentals, too, that make him hard to defend, and we found that out tonight.”
Bearcats jump out to early lead: Six different York High players scored in the first quarter to give the Bearcats an 20-12 lead after eight minutes.
Clovis Gallon Jr. and Jaevon Woodyard both hit 3 pointers in the quarter. Gallon Jr. scored 14 points on an off night shooting (4 of 11), while Woodyard, a senior point guard, scored 16 points on 7 of 12 shooting.
Cortez contributes off bench: The Bearcats (5-0 overall, 3-0 in York-Adams Division I) were sluggish in the second quarter until Dayvon Cortez came off the bench and scored on all three of his attempts to score a period-high seven points. The Bearcats led 35-23 at halftime.
Gallon Sr. said Cortez is a first-year transfer from West York, where he led the Bulldogs in scoring a season ago. Cortez is one of the first two players off the bench for the Bearcats, and Gallon Sr. said he expects the senior guard to play a significant role for the Bearcats this season.
“I told him before practice yesterday, ‘Listen, I know you might be frustrated with your playing time or your level of contribution. But I’m telling you, you’re going to be a vital part of what we’re doing. Trust me, trust the process, continue to learn, and you’re going to be a critical part of what we do,’” Gallon Sr. said. “I had a feeling that today, he was going to give us a big lift off the bench, and he did that.”
Minter’s second-half dunks: York High extended its lead in the second half, when McClean, Woodyard and Gallon Jr. combined for 26 of the Bearcats’ 39 points.
The two most memorable buckets, however, were dunks from 5-10 guard Edward Minter, who threw one down on breakaways in both the third and fourth quarters. The senior guard scored eight points.
“He’s always been that high-energy guy,” Gallon Sr. said. “He always has live legs and a live body. He plays one way — downhill and with a motor that’s ridiculous. He’s a relentless defender, and he’s cat quick. His athleticism is uncanny.”
Still undefeated: The Bearcats, ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 5-A, are undefeated and winning by an average of 30.7 points per game. Gallon Sr., however, said December victories aren’t his squad’s goal.
“You don’t want to peak so soon,” Gallon Sr. said. “I’ve got to make sure I keep these guys humble. These guys are mature enough to know they haven’t won anything. Nothing on those banners that will have the year 2019 on it hasn’t happened yet. They haven’t really accomplished anything.”
Central banged up: The loss to York High was the first for Central (3-2, 1-2) since Gallon Sr. took over the Bearcats in 2016-17, though it has a slight asterisk on it, considering several key players for the Panthers — Saahir Cornelius, Cade Pribula and Beau Pribula — are all healing from injuries suffered during football season.
Cornelius has a broken thumb, Beau Pribula has a broken index finger and Cade Pribula had surgery to repair his left labrum.
“Saahir and Beau both get reevaluated around the new year, so we’ll see how they’re doing then. Cade’s going to be a little bit longer,” Schieler said.
Central's leaders: Point guard Larry Hunt was the only Central player to score in double figures. He scored 10 points and made both of his 3-point attempts.
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