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Central York's practice approach puts focus on achieving more in District 3 boys' playoffs

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
  • Central York begins its District 3 playoff run Friday.
  • The Panthers will face Governor Mifflin after earning a first-round bye.
  • Central York's postseason practices began with a high-energy session to regain focus.
Central York boys' basketball coach Kevin Schieler yells out directions to his players during practice on Monday. Schieler's practice plan for the Panthers began his philosophy of starting a new season as the team begins district playoffs.

Kevin Schieler began Monday’s practice by directing the team’s attention to a pair of banners hanging in the school’s gym.

First, the Central York boys' basketball coach pointed to the list of York-Adams League tournament winners. The Panthers became members of that elite group last week and Schieler told his team they will always be remembered for that victory. 

Central York boys win York-Adams basketball title, erasing memory of past disappointments

Quickly, however, he then reminded them of another banner in the gym that honors the teams that won district titles. He let his players know, that while they should be proud of what they accomplished thus far, they have more goals ahead of them that are within their grasp.

“That’s our new focus, that’s our new goal,” Schieler said. “It was a nice transition from one (season) to next and I think it’s going to keep their energy high this week.”

A new season: For the past few seasons, Schieler has treated the Panthers’ regular season, league tournament and district tournament as three separate seasons. Part of the way he marks the start of a new campaign during the year is by taking his team back to the way it practiced in November.

Monday’s practice, the first time the Panthers (20-3) stepped on the court since their victory over New Oxford in the Y-A title game, featured no play calls or defensive schemes. Instead, the Panthers practice included a high-energy weight-room session followed by drills to keep the team’s energy up. There were mandatory high fives, fist bumps and chest bumps during breaks.

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Schieler gave the players Friday off following their title win, and with a day off from school on Monday, a high-energy practice was much needed to get them back on track.

Senior Evan Eisenhart said he liked Schieler’s approach.

“It kind of breaks things up and then you can kind of take things one step at a time,” Eisenhart said. “It was good to just get our bodies back into it first. He doesn’t want to throw too much at us at once to the point where it’s insurmountable.”

Central York's Gabe Guidinger drives with York Suburban's Aiden Hughley defending during semifinal action at Red Lion Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Central went on to win the game 55-50. Bill Kalina photo

Reset button: Fellow senior Gabe Gudinger agreed with Eisenhart on the change in practice format by Schieler. He added that it’s important for the seniors to show why it’s necessary to keep the intensity high in practice so the team is ready to play when it starts the district playoffs Friday in a quarterfinal contest vs. Gov. Mifflin. Central, as the No. 2 seed in the Class 6-A field, enjoyed a first-round district bye.

“It helps reset our focus,” Guidinger said. “We’re starting a whole new season. We gotta come out strong and set the tone again.”

While he is proud of what the team has accomplished, and never wants his players to forget that, for the next few weeks Schieler wants the Panthers’ focus on looking forward and achieving all they set out to do when the year began.

“Yeah we’ve accomplished something, but they have more goals they want to fulfill,” Schieler said. “The way they brought it today showed me they still remember those goals and still know that we hopefully have more to do this year.”

Central York's Evan Eisenhart drives against New Oxford's Brayden Long, left, during basketball at Central Tuesday, January 21, 2020. New Oxford went on to win 69-66. Bill Kalina photo

Riding the momentum: Eisenhart added that the league title was a big goal of the Panthers, but they have their sights set on cutting down more nets this season. As one of the top seeds in the bracket, the Panthers are ready for every team’s best shot on the road to a potential district title game in Hershey.

“I think we’re going into district playoffs with a lot of momentum and a lot of teams are ready to play us,” Eisenhart said. “A lot of teams want to play us because we have a giant target on our back as the No. 2 seed and I know we’re excited about that come Friday, come (next) Tuesday and come the Giant Center.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.