Although the 11-11 record from 2018-2019 wasn’t the result the Dallastown Wildcats expected to have, coach Mike Grassel hopes his talented boys' basketball team learned a crucial lesson along the way.
Led by Kobe Green and his 15.5 points per game, the Wildcats had the talent to compete with York-Adams League Division I heavyweights a season ago, but didn’t always bring the right effort on the court.
“It’s mentality really,” Green said. “We play (hard) when we want to play, but we take off and then we get ourselves in a hole.”
The Wildcats say they’ve got the talent to compete for a division and league title in 2019-2020, but Grassel knows it will require a mental approach that doesn’t waver despite different levels of competition. At times a season ago, Grassel admitted his team would lose concentration against teams they didn’t believe could beat them.
This season, Grassel says the Wildcats learned their lesson through the losses.
“The biggest thing is the mentality that we need to do it night in and night out,” Grassel said. “We play up to competition at times when we respect a team. We need to come with that mentality night in and night out and can’t look at who we’re playing and we’ll be all right.”
Experienced team: Part of why Grassel feels so confident in the team is the returning key players. In addition to Green, a D-I first-team all-star last year, the Wildcats return honorable mention all-star senior guard Nike McGlynn and senior guard Roman Owens.
Grassel added that it won’t be hard to motivate his guys to bring the intensity required to reach their goals this season. Whether or not they want to look back on their high school careers and wonder what could have been is up to them every time they step on the court this year.
“It’s their last go 'round,” Grassel said of his team, which went 8-6 in D-I play last season. “If they want to live with no regrets, then they’re going to bring it every night. I can’t do that for them, that’s something they have to do themselves.”
Here's a look around the Y-A boys' basketball league for 2019-2020:
Division I: After winning Y-A D-I and the league tournament titles last season, York High (12-2, 24-5) needs to replace its top two scorers and all three team captains. Clovis Gallon Jr. (18.3 points) and Marquise McClean (15 points) led the Bearcats and will be difficult to replace this season.
Seniors Branden Mutunga and Cameron Gallon are the top returning scorers for York High at five points per game each.
New Oxford (11-3, 19-8) fell short of its goals last season with a loss in the league title game, but is ready to complete its mission this year. The Colonials’ top scorer, Abdul Janneh and his 15.7 points per game, returns. Janneh is a candidate for D-I Player of the Year as the leader of a New Oxford team that looks poised to compete for the division and league title this season.
Another potential player-of-the-year candidate is junior Davante Dennis of Red Lion (4-10, 10-12). The 6-6 forward led the Lions in scoring at 17.5 points per game last season and will need to take another step forward for Red Lion to compete in D-I.
Northeastern (15-12, 7-7) returns its top scorer as well this season in senior Nate Wilson. At 13.8 points per game last year, Wilson will look to end his high school career with an even stronger campaign before he heads to Ohio State University to play volleyball.
As the fourth-highest scoring team in the league, Central York (11-3, 18-8) will look for players to step up and replace its top scorer from a year ago. Braden Richard and his 11.3 points are no longer around for the Panthers. Senior Evan Eisenhart will need to increase his average of 10.6 points while the Panthers expect a big season from 6-foot, 5-inch senior Gabe Guidinger. His father, Jay Guidinger, spent two seasons in the NBA in the early 1990s.
South Western (1-13, 3-18) lost its top scorer to graduation in Derek Huff at 12.9 points per game. The Mustangs will lean on a team-based scoring attack as they attempt to climb from the bottom of the team scoring standings from a season ago.
Without leading scorer Madison Moore, Spring Grove (2-12, 2-20) will look to a player returning from injury to pick up his 12 points per game. Senior Cole McKowen, coming off a hand injury from a season ago, will lead the Rockets’ offense as they try to increase their scoring numbers from 41 points per game last year.
Division II: In addition to the graduation of the league’s top scorer in Elijah Sutton (22.8 points per game), Dover (8-4, 13-12) needs to replace two more seniors who scored in double digits — Keith Davis (19.3 points) and Victor Dorm (13.6). The Eagles will need a number of young players to step up to replace almost all of their scoring from last season. The Eagles will also have a new coach in Joe Falci, who is replacing longtime Dover coach Brian Schmoyer, who resigned after last season.
Despite the loss of Demonte Martin and his 14.1 points per game, Eastern York (11-1, 19-6) still has the talent to repeat as the D-II champion. The Golden Knights’ return their top scorer in senior Trevor Seitz (15.8 points per game) and fellow seniors Kaleb Corwell and Dustin Cunningham as they try to replicate the third-highest points per game in the league from last season at 63.7.
West York (9-3, 18-7) will miss the 17.3 points per game from Alex McClellan last season. Senior Jared Shearer will attempt to increase his 11.6 points-per-game average in addition to senior Gabe Mummert’s 10.9 points per game from a season ago.
Gettysburg (7-5, 13-12) returns both of its top scorers from a season ago. Junior Quadir Copeland and senior Charles Warren both averaged 12.1 points per game last year and the Warriors are expecting both to have big seasons, as well as senior Zach Ketterman, who is a three-sport standout.
After a disappointing season, Kennard-Dale (3-9, 7-15) looks to its standout scorer to lead a turnaround this year. Junior guard Carter Day returns to lead the Rams’ offense after he averaged 21.2 points per game a season ago.
York Suburban (8-13, 3-9) returns junior forward Aidan Hughley after a stellar sophomore season. The 6-5 forward was a first-team D-II all-star who averaged 14.9 points per game a season ago and will look to take another step forward this campaign.
Susquehannock (1-11, 6-16) will be without the 10.9 points per game that Will Ogude averaged last season but returns a talented young scorer. Sophomore guard Jalen Franklin posted 19.8 points per game a season ago and will take on a bigger role this year.
Division III: Littlestown (13-1, 23-4) will be without Logan Collins and his 22 points per game after the standout scorer’s career ended and he became a member of the York College squad. One of the players who will be asked to replace some of Collins’ scoring is junior Jayden Weishaar. The 6-foot guard averaged 15.3 points a season ago. The Thunderbolts are looking to repeat as the D-III champion.
York Tech (11-3, 14-9) will have a difficult time replacing the tremendous production from Terrence Romey from a season ago when he averaged 21.6 points per game. In addition to Romey, the Spartans will be missing the 13.2 points that Jahkwan Batty averaged last campaign during the duo’s senior seasons.
Biglerville (9-5, 13-10) will also be without its dominant duo from a season ago. Drew Riley (18) and Gavin Parker (17.3) led the Canners in points per game and will be difficult to replace this season for Biglerville.
Delone Catholic (8-6, 10-13) will be without senior Evan Brady and his 20 points per game. The Squires will need production from their younger players to stay near the middle of the league at 55.7 points as a team last year. Brandon Staub, the former head coach at Biglerville, takes over as the Delone head coach. He was also formerly an assistant on the Delone girls' team under Gerry Eckenrode.
York Catholic (5-9, 5-17) lost its top scorer to graduation in Eric Phelps. The 6-3 guard scored 11.6 points per game a season ago. Replacing that production will be a challenge for the Fighting Irish.
Bermudian Springs (5-9, 6-15) will look to junior Jaylen Martinez to take on a bigger role this season. Martinez averaged 12.6 points per game last season and will attempt to take a step forward this year.
Hanover (4-10, 5-17) will try to compete without the help of its top player a year ago. Kwame Myers led the Nighthawks with 12.3 points per game last season.
Fairfield (1-13, 4-16) will try to increase its 45.1 team points per game from a season ago while trying to slow down teams from scoring to decrease its scoring differential of minus-14.
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.