York High head coach Clovis Gallon Sr. talks Bearcats basketball after his team's 23-point win over Littlestown in the Y-A League tournament semis. JACOB CALVIN MEYER, 717-505-5406/@jcalvinmeyer
To some, the York-Adams League boys’ basketball semifinal between Littlestown and York High on Wednesday night was a match-up between arguably the two top players in the league: Logan Collins and Clovis Gallon Jr.
Entering the game, Littlestown’s Collins was second in the league, averaging 22.8 points per game, while York High’s Gallon Jr. was fifth at 20.3.
Despite the intriguing head-to-head match-up, York High head coach Clovis Gallon Sr. said he wouldn’t have been surprised, before the contest, if he was told that Collins would outscore Gallon Jr. 29-8 and his Bearcats would still win by 23 points.
“Absolutely,” he said. “No doubt about it.”
York High’s balanced nine-man rotation continued to dominate offensively and defensively. The Bearcats won their third straight game by 22-plus points in a 74-51 victory over Littlestown to advance to the league championship game on Friday.
“It definitely gives us confidence when you know you can be that balanced,” Gallon Sr. said. “When your leading scorer and second-leading scorer can be in single digits, you have two or three other guys who are in double figures and you win by 20 points, that does give you confidence.”
Balanced squad: All nine of York High’s regular players scored four or more points, with Dayvon Cortez and Cameron Gallon, two players who don’t rank in the team’s top five in minutes played, as the only two Bearcats (19-3) in double figures with 17 and 11 points, respectively.
“I just got confidence last game and it rolled over to this game,” said Cortez, who also scored 17 points in the Bearcats’ win over Dover in the league quarterfinals. “We’re an unselfish team. We love passing the ball. Everyone knows their role.”
York High’s other double-digit average scorer, Marquise McClean (15.8 points per game), scored four points but dished out a few assists when the Thunderbolts (22-2) went to a press defense. Edward Minter and Seth Bernstein, who are mostly known for their high-energy styles, scored nine and eight points, respectively. Branden Mutunga, who is playing in only his fourth varsity game as a sophomore, scored six points, and guards Jaevon Woodyard and Tobee Stokes chipped in with four points apiece.
“I definitely do think we are (peaking),” Gallon Sr. said. “All those guys are just playing their roles. They are making us more balanced and stronger as the playoffs continue on.”
Game recap: In the quarterfinals against Dover last Saturday, the Bearcats scored 48 points in the first half to lead by 13 at halftime. At Red Lion High School on Wednesday night, York High came out firing again, leading 41-21 at halftime.
Cameron Gallon, a junior who recently entered the starting lineup, scored all 11 of his points in the first half to lead the Bearcats.
“Cameron is in the starting lineup now and contributing because he makes the right basketball play,” Gallon Sr. said about his son, who is one year younger than Gallon Jr. “We have a lot of guys who can put the ball in the hole. The open guy gets to take the shot. We want to make sure we’re unselfish. If you’re not, and it looks like you’re pressing to score, you come sit down.”
In Littlestown’s win over West York last Saturday, the Bolts outscored the Bulldogs 26-8 in the third quarter en route to their quarterfinal win. The Thunderbolts didn’t have the same fortune Wednesday. York High held them to 11 and 19 points, respectively, in the final two quarters. Collins, who made 11 of 12 free throws and made four 3-pointers on the night, scored 19 of his points in the second half.
“We knew we were going to win this game on defense” Cortez said. “We forced a lot of turnovers with our press. We picked up the pace. They couldn’t keep up with us.”
Championship game: The Bearcats will attempt to win their first Y-A League tournament crown since 2015 at 7 p.m. Friday against New Oxford at York College.
York High and New Oxford, which defeated Central York earlier in the evening at Red Lion, 43-41, split their season series, with the Bearcats winning about two weeks ago to effectively win the Division I crown over the Colonials.
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.