Three Red Lion boys' basketball players win combined $60,000 in sportsmanship scholarships

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
Red Lion's Davante Dennis, front, and A.J. Virata, back, celebrate during a Red Lion boys' basketball game during the 2021 season. Dennis and Virata have won Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Awards. Virata won $22,000, while Dennis won $19,000.
  • The 2021 Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Awards for boys' basketball have been awarded.
  • The Red Lion boys' basketball program has been honored for its sportsmanship efforts.
  • Three Red Lions boys' players earned a combined $60,000 in 2021 Swartz scholarships.
Red Lion's Mitchell Burchett has won a Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Award for $19,000.

Three senior members of the Red Lion High School boys’ basketball team have received a combined $60,000 in Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Awards for 2021.

The winners, announced Tuesday evening, were Amando “A.J.” Virata Jr., who received a scholarship for $22,000, and Mitch Burchett and Davante Dennis, who each received a scholarship for $19,000.

Those three players helped Red Lion to its best boys’ basketball season in recent memory in 2021.

The York-Adams Division I champion Lions finished 17-3. Their season was ended in the District 3 Class 6-A quarterfinals by a Reading team that would go on to win district and state 6-A championships.

Dennis, who shared the York-Adams Division I Boys' Basketball Player of the Year honor with Dallastown’s Michael Dickson, was also a standout football player for the Lions, while Virata has excelled as a sprinter and jumper this spring. Virata was also a second-team Y-A Division I all-star basketball player.

York-Adams League coaches select 2021 boys' basketball all-stars

The Lions boys’ and Hanover High School girls’ basketball programs were named winners of the Swartz Sportsmanship Award at the conclusion of this year’s basketball season. As a result, the seniors from each program became eligible to apply for scholarships.

The organization’s board members reviewed scholarship applications and interviewed applicants before awarding the scholarships.

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The awards are presented in memory of Gretchen Wolf Swartz, who was a York County basketball official from 1981 to 1995. Following her death from leukemia in 1997, her fellow York County officials created the memorial team awards and scholarship fund in her memory “to promote and honor the sportsmanship she displayed throughout her playing and officiating careers.”

At the conclusion of each season, York area basketball officials vote to honor a York-Adams boys’ and girls’ program for sportsmanship after observing the season-long conduct of players, fans, faculty, students, managers, coaches, superintendents, athletic directors and cheerleaders from junior high to varsity. Each winning school receives a traveling trophy in recognition of its accomplishments.

Hanover’s scholarship recipients will be announced Wednesday, May 26.

With Tuesday’s announcement, the board has now awarded more than $700,000 in scholarships since presenting its first two scholarships – each for $1,000 – back in 2001.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.