Eastern York girls’ basketball coach Brad Weaver kidded that having assistant coach Andrew Nicholas by his side is like having a lucky charm.
While there's little doubt that Nicholas, one of the all-time best basketball players to ever play for the Golden Knights, is a nice asset, the truth is, Weaver’s crew is enjoying success in his first season at the helm because of its play on the court.
That was evident Tuesday evening when the Knights visited York Suburban in a York-Adams Division II clash. Eastern raced out to an early 6-0 lead to take charge. The visitors never let up from there, leading wire-to-wire en route to an impressive 46-36 triumph.
The Knights, a team that may have been overlooked in the preseason, improved to to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in Division II.
“A lot of teams have very big-time players and Eastern has (Hannah) Myers,” said Suburban coach Jess Barley. “So I certainly was expecting them (Eastern) to be very competitive this season. I know we certainly weren’t looking past them.”
The Knights have now knocked off the reigning Division II champion (Susquehannock) and the runner-up (Suburban) already this season. They remain tied atop the standings along with another somewhat overlooked team in Dover (5-0, 3-0).
One of the biggest reasons for Eastern’s early-season unbeaten run has been Myers. The Knights junior, who leads the league in scoring, torched the Trojans for 21 points.
“I’ve been talking about Hannah all year,” Weaver said. “And I think there might be some people that don’t know about her, but I think they will find out who she is. She worked tremendously all summer.”
Less of a post player than her well-regarded sisters, Liz and Leah, Hannah has been a menace for opponents all over the court. Weaver is not afraid to use his most gifted player to bring the ball up the court at any time, which she did often against Suburban.
“She’s worked very hard just to improve her ball-handling skills,” Weaver said. “Just to run it as a point-guard … that makes it hard for other teams to full-court press us because she can really break a press herself.”
Myers scored several baskets in transition after using her athleticism to procure a handful of steals. One of those steal-and-scores came early in the contest when the Knights refused to allow the Trojans, who employ a 2-3 zone, to keep the tempo at a slower pace.
Myers also came up big in the third quarter. She scored half of her team’s 10 points in a third period that saw Eastern extend a 20-18 lead at the break to 30-20 entering the final period.
For Suburban (2-3, 1-2) slow starts after the intermission have been a major concern for Barley.
“That’s been the story for us so far this season,” Barley said of her team’s two-point output in the third quarter. “It was 10-8 in the first quarter, 10-10 in the second quarter and 16-16 in the fourth quarter. We’ve struggled in the third quarter this season and that’s not on them, it’s on me to fix that. I need to do a better job of coaching in the third quarter. A different strategy, obviously, is needed.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Barley and company. They will square off with West York before the Christmas break in a contest that could be make-or-break for both squads.
“I’ve been telling my girls since the summer that Division II is going to be the toughest division this season,” Barley said. “Top-to-bottom. Tougher than Division I and tougher than Division III. There are quality teams with quality coaches throughout this division.”
Certainly Eastern and Weaver have proven that so far this season. Not many, and maybe not even Weaver himself, expected the Knights to be 5-0 to begin the campaign.
“I’m very pleased,” Weaver said. “I didn’t take over until August, and everybody was like ‘it’s going to be a rebuilding year.’ But I’ve coached for a while and I take it one game at a time. Anybody in this division can beat anybody on any given night. And the girls have been listening to me and they’ve done a great job.”
Cassidy Arnold chipped in 12 points for the Knights, who will face Kennard-Dale Friday. Georgia DuMars led the Trojans with 14 points.
Dallastown 57, York High 32: At Dallastown, the Wildcats led by just four at halftime, but used monster third and fourth quarters to pull away. Julia Sutton dropped 13 points for Dallastown, while Brielle Berry knocked down three 3s to finish with 12. York High got 11 points from Mady Redman.
York Catholic 74, Bermudian Springs 28: At York Springs, Kate Bauhof recorded 24 points for York Catholic (3-0 overall, 2-0 York-Adams Division III), while Jania Wright added 10.
Dover 49, Gettysburg 16: At Dover, the home team improved to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in York-Adams Division II. Rajah Fink had 18 points for the winners, while her sister added 14. Dover held Gettysburg to seven points or less in each quarter.
New Oxford 57, Spring Grove 42: At Spring Grove, Kaelyn Long poured in 15 points for New Oxford (5-0 overall, 3-0 in York-Adams Division I). Missy Katz led Spring Grove with 14.
Red Lion 49, South Westen 37: At Red Lion, the Lions led by only one point going into the final quarter, but outscored the Mustangs by 11 in the final frame. Kynslee Shepard and Amy Maciejewski each had 13 points to lead Red Lion. Shepard went 10 for 10 at the free throw line. Taylor Geiman led South Western with 14 points and Lily Soullaird had 10.
Kennard-Dale 65, Northeastern 48: At Manchester, the Rams put up 63 points in three quarters. Megan Halczuk’s 19 points led K-D, followed by Lexie Kupko’s 13, Chandler Swanson’s 11 and Lily Dressel’s 10. Kendra Meyer had 21 points for Northeastern, with Amara Bitting finishing with 10.
Harford Christian 62, Red Lion Christian 19: At Harford, Allie Damiano led the visitors with 12 points.
Susquehannock 46, West York 41, OT: At West York, the visitors triumphed in extra time. The Warriors improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in York-Adams Division II. West York fell to 4-2 and 1-2. Jaden Walker (15) and Tyler Williams (13) combined for 28 points for the winners. Catie McCarty had 13 points to lead West York.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com