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Sometimes a coach will have a two players with the same or similar first names.

West York girls’ basketball coach James Kunkle can attest to that.

Kunkle, however, has a slightly bigger issue this season.

Senior Alayna Harris and sophomore Alainna Hopta are the first pair with similar names. Senior Alyssa Zorbaugh and freshman Elysa Myers, a junior varsity player, are the other.

“One is Layn and the other is Hopta,” Kunkle said of his players who have the identical initials of A.H. “That’s the way I have talk to them.”

As for the other pair, Kunkle just has to enunciate between the two.

“I have A-lyssa and E-lysa,” he said. “And then in two years I’ll have two Reghans/Regans.”

The similar names are something that Kunkle hopes will be his biggest obstacles this season, but he knows better.

High hopes: After an 11-12 season last year, Kunkle has high hopes for his program, that he predicted would be in a Y-A final sometime over the next four seasons.

“Last year we played a lot with two freshmen and one sophomore, which was really her first year of playing varsity,” Kunkle said. “We really wanted to get some chemistry going with the older girls and now we’re building off that.”

Harris and Hopta were two of those keys. That duo combined to average 16.5 points per contest. Others, such as Zorbaugh, Myers, junior Dorian Ilyes, sophomore T’azjah Generett and senior Makennah Hoffman all return for what Kunkle hopes could be a banner year.

“Right now we’re working really well as a team,” he said. “We’re playing as a team, which is something that we did when I was at New Oxford.”

Kunkle’s last year with the Colonials concluded in a league final, which they dropped against Central York. Those Colonials had a solid starting five in which any one player could lead the team in scoring any given night, 

While Kunkle has high hopes for his squad, he knows that getting there won’t be easy. With Division II teams such as Gettysburg, Kennard-Dale and Eastern York all returning a lot of talent, the Bulldogs will have to earn it.

“I feel that Gettysburg is the team to beat,” Kunkle said. “Especially with their new point guard (Camryn Felix) who transferred in from Delone.”

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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