SATURDAY'S BOYS' BASKETBALL: York Suburban captures Y-A D-II title after OT win vs. K-D
When Mitch Kemp was hired this summer, he knew his first season was going to be a challenge.
The new York Suburban boys’ basketball coach had experience winning titles for the Trojans as a player, but getting this talented group of players on the same page during a pandemic was going to be difficult.
So, when the final buzzer sounded on Saturday and York Suburban’s Senior Night also became a York-Adams League Division II title celebration, Kemp realized the difficulties on and off the court this year were worth it.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Kemp said after the Trojans' 53-49 overtime victory over Kennard-Dale. “It’s a great feeling as a coach because they have put in the work, they make the sacrifices, they buy into what I’m trying to do and the credit really belongs to the kids. We had a goal, we set out and did that.”
The Rams made the Trojans (12-3 overall, 11-0 in Y-A D-II) work for the win though. K-D was dominant on defense in the first half and held a six-point lead at halftime.
Even when Suburban looked prime to close out the victory, K-D (11-5, 7-3) came through with a clutch shot to force overtime. With 28 seconds left, K-D’s Drew Dressel dribbled behind his back and drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game.
Suburban junior Camden Brewer had a chance to win the game in regulation, but it didn’t fall. Still, he would have a big say in deciding the game's outcome in the extra period.
Trojans senior standout Aidan Hughley picked up his fourth foul on the first play of overtime and didn’t score after the third quarter. Hughley finished just above his average at 17 points, but his willingness to choose higher-percentage shots by his teammates over better stats was part of Kemp’s philosophy change for the Trojans, aided by the team’s leader and captain getting on board.
“It definitely shows that it’s the team mindset first,” Hughley said. “Even if I am a good scorer in the post, there’s always other options and sometimes I’m not the best option.”
Suburban was a preseason favorite to win the Y-A D-II title with Hughly, Brewer, senior Alon Gorham and sophomore Savon Sutton returning after the team won a 5-A state playoff game last season. Sutton, who holds several NCAA Division I offers, transferred to a charter school just before the season and Hughley admitted he was concerned about how the team would perform.
Against the Rams, another pair of Trojans played important roles in securing the win. While neither scored a point, Ryan Butler chased K-D senior Carter Day around on defense, while Brady Stump protected the rim with Hughley in foul trouble.
“It feels great,” Hughley said. “Even though we had a major loss, other guys stepped up and really bought into our system and helped us win.”
K-D’s Koy Swanson hit a 3-pointer to pull ahead in overtime, but Gorham answered with his own shot from beyond the arc. Down by one with 20 seconds left, Day got a chance to win the game for the Rams, but it was off the mark.
Brewer grabbed the rebound and was fouled. After he made the first free throw, he grabbed his own miss on the second try and was fouled again. The junior guard hit both shots on that trip and clinched the win.
Brewer finished with 11 points, while Gorham had 13. Day led all scorers with 18 and Dressel had 11 for the Rams.
With the victory, the Trojans became the seventh team in school history to win a Y-A League division title and Kemp was proud of the sacrifices they made to become a group that puts more weight on its record than its stats.
“In the past, some of them have had the mindset of individual success and putting the individual needs before the team,” Kemp said. “They have done a tremendous job this year of binding to the team aspect. I kept telling them that, ‘You look up at the walls (in the gym) and there’s no names up on the wall, it’s all about team.’ What they did tonight, they’re forever remembered now. I’m proud of them.”
Now that the Trojans have matched one of Kemp’s achievements as a player, their target moves to another goal. Suburban is No. 6 in the District 3 5-A power ratings and it will need more of the same clutch shooting and team chemistry it displayed all season to capture a district title, just like Kemp did as a player in 2009.
“We made history,” Hughley said. “We’re trying to go as far as we can and keep going. Do well in districts (and) states and do the best we can with what we have.”
OTHER BOYS' BASKETBALL
Red Lion 54, Spring Grove 34: At Red Lion, the Lions' Davante Dennis reached the 1,000-point milestone for his career and led the home team with 17 points. Tugg Wellsandt added 10 points for the D-I leaders, who improved to 13-1 overall and 9-1 in the division. Diarmid Stewart had 13 points for Spring Grove.
Eastern York 60, Northeastern 55: At Manchester, the Golden Knights upset the Bobcats in a nonleague affair behind 19 points and 14 rebounds from Micah Myers. Austin Bausman added 12 points and seven assists. Northeastern (9-6) was led by Manny Capo (13 points), Caden Perez (12 points) and Karron Mallory (11 points). An 18-9 third-quarter surge by Eastern (3-12) keyed the victory.
York Tech 63, Dover 58: At Spry, the Spartans triumphed behind 23 points from Abdias Hernandez and 12 from Nehemiah Stubbs. Dover was led by Will Logan (16 points), Jakob Smyser (15 points) and Tim Brant (13 points). Dover led 32-19 at halftime, but Tech used a 25-8 third-quarter surge to take the lead.
Lancaster Mennonite 82, Susquehannock 72: At Lancaster, Jalen Franklin poured in 29 points and Josh Franklin added 20 in the nonleague loss for Susquehannock. Dan Benna added 12 points for the Warriors (7-7). Lancaster Mennonite is 10-6.
Central York 89, New Oxford 72: At Central, the Panthers snapped a two-game slide to improve to 11-4 overall and 9-3 in D-I. New Oxford dropped to 4-8 and 3-6. Freshman Greg Guidinger poured in 36 points for Central, while K.B. Brown added 19 points. Guidinger had seven 3-pointers. Braden Carver had 22 points for New Oxford, while Connor Jenkins added 18 and Aden Strausbaugh chipped in 13.
Hanover 53, Pequea Valley 52: At Hanover, Kyle Garman poured in 21 points, while Zyaire Myers added 14 in Hanover's nonleague win. A 12-6 fourth-quarter run helped the Nighthawks rally for the win. Hanover is now 7-7. PV fell to 3-7.
Reach Rob Rose at email@example.com.