Note: BOLD = expected to attend Saturday Italicized = with fall teams
The Trojans thrived last season in Coach Shawn Shreffler’s system, producing 20 wins and earning its second consecutive 6A PIAA state playoff berth. With two of the best players in the Mid Penn Commonwealth returning, in Senors Ethan Shreffler and Terell Williams, another division championship and a deep run into March are the goals for this group. Ethan was a Linglestown Gazette Fab 15 player a year ago, leading his team in PPG, FG%, 3PT%, 3PT FGM, and FT%. He is a “don’t let him get his feet set or you are going to pay dearly” shooter with the ability to get his own shot at the next level. During his senior year, his overall IQ and feel for the game will allow him to move to the point at times this season relieving pressure and facilitating for others, preferably the teams second leading scorer in Williams (who will be with the football team this weekend). Terell’s sheer strength and physicality is PSAC strong, according to a former head basketball coach in the league. His exact words this summer after an AAU game, “I’d take him right now on any of my teams.” Terrell is a collegiate football prospect (TE/LB) as well, but make no mistake about it… His game is filled with poetry in motion not limited to bull in the china closet…Although man is he effective at bully ball! The kid can flat out play on the wing, get into the paint, jump stop ball fake, distribute the rock or score it. Not to mention, he is more than capable of connecting on the long ball as well. Other key contributors returning this season are seniors- Braden Byers, Aaron Maynard, and Harry Shearer. The Trojans also have a host of newcomers who will be looking to contribute over the next few years in Juniors- Malaki Blair, Gus Mace, Carter Sollenberger, Sophomore- Eli Shearer and Freshmen- Jacob Bassman and Brant Byers.
Northern vs Cedar Crest
Saturday, at 9:00 AM on court 2, Northern will take on Cedar Crest to see who will advance to the noon game with the Trojans of Chambersburg and a trip to the Final 4 on the line. This matchup will have several money kids, college coaches will want to see, in it for-sure. Once the dust settled, the 2018-2019 Northern Polar Bears season ended with the first ever trip to the second round of the PIAA State Tournament. Kyle McGill’s group amassed a 20-2 regular season campaign and a Mid Penn Colonial Division Championship along the way. The Falcons of Cedar Crest led by Tom Smith finished the season with 19 victories and a trip to the District III quarter-finals. Both coaches enter the season with plans of guiding their teams toward league, district contention. The backcourts in this match-up should be exciting. 6’4 Junior guard and two year starter Nate McGill is the undeniable leader of Northern. The workhorse of the group, a two year starter, outstanding athlete and top level defender. Nate is a scholarship worthy hooper that will look to improve on his 14.2ppg, 7rpg, 4apg and 2.4spg this season. McGill’s partner terrorizing opponents this winter will be returner 6’2 junior guard Jordan Heisey, Heisey’s talents will be on display under center this weekend on the gridiron only. On the other side, the Falcons have Trey Shutter, a 5’10 Sr. PG. Trey is very quick with the ball and makes defenses pay with the long ball when opposing guards
try to compensate for his speed. Also, Inside out threat Ilery Ayo-Faleye is a 6’7 W/F that is adept at using his size and length to make opponents pay. Ilery is best in the open floor and at times looks the part of a low major wing. The question is can he manufacture the consistency, high motor, and efficient production in the half court over the course of 32 minutes nightly. If so, the team and his own ceiling is very very high. In the Front Court, 6’7 F/C Jason Eberhart will be the double-double machine that anchors the Falcon’s playoff aspirations and have coaches taking a second look. Jason has solidified himself as a major presence in the post, he has a reliable mid-range game, can score the ball very well in the paint with both hands and can knock down the three with consistency. He will not wow you with athleticism or verticality like Ileri but he does the little things that put slashes in the wins column. Other key contributors for both teams are: (Northern) 6’1 Sr. G Eddie Ensor, Zack Beam, Zack French, 6’4 Jr. W/F Jacob Hamm, 6’3 Jr. W/F Tyler Weary, 6’2 Jr. F Alec Welshans, 5’10 So. G Ryan Delafield (Cedar Crest) Seniors-Cole Miller, Grant Allwein, Amani Jones, Carson Perlaki, Samir Nasr Juniors-Chris Danz, Max Scipioni, Matt Smith, Dalton Reinhart, Conrad Wasson and Sophomore Jake Wolf.
Coming off their sixth District III appearance in as many years, Coach Schieler and the Panthers have a reason to carry a heavy dose of optimism into 2020. Despite losing some key contributors, the Panthers return a dynamic-duo, with a wealth of experience that have their eyes focused on the PIAA State Tournament, after losing an overtime game in last year’s State play-in game. With Seniors Evan Eisenhart and Gabe Guidinger in the fold, Schieler returns an abundance of scoring power and team first basketball. Eisenhart is dangerous attacking the rim, creating shots for himself and teammates, while also possessing the ability to stop on the dime and drain the pull up or three-ball. Guidinger is equally as problematic from the wing. Efficiency is the name of his game, using athleticism, size and strength, he creates advantages all over the floor for the Panthers. Central will have two other major contributors with them for the shootout in Sr. Trey Sweigart and Jr. Nolan Hubbs, They will be without the following fall athletes who could contribute nightly this winter in Taylor Wright-Rawls, Kai’ryn Brown, Beau Pribula, Judah Tomb, Cole Luckenbaugh, Jack Smith and Robbie Jones. Game-time is 12:00 PM on court 2 vs. the Cumberland Valley, Red Land winner.
Cumberland Valley vs Red Land
In this match-up, first year Red Land skipper Eric Richardson will attempt to upend the program from which he spent several years as an assistant and head coach before moving to Cedar Cliff for a season. Richardson is off to a “Winning” start at Red Land. The hiring of Scott Slayton as assistant, who took the Patriots to 11 district tournaments in 17 years and amassed 260+ wins is the right guy, he will need in his foxhole to complete what many liken to the start-up of an NBA expansion franchise in the West Shore school district. If anyone can win there Richardson has shown he gets it and has the right staff to rally the troops. David Vespignani understands also that, when building your program, winning matters – especially the old adage “playing to win.” Look up and down the Eagles program and a winning spirit has been awakened under his leadership. Freshman Team 19-2 check, JV’s 17-4 check…So CV coming off their first state playoff appearance in six years, the foundation for more growth has been set. But with zero full starters returning in the always brutal Commonwealth Division and only a little over 10ppg coming back from last year’s 17-10 campaign, the task of building upon last years success will take patience. The Eagles will rely heavily on Harris Vorwald and Ben Drury’s leadership. Vorwald is a 6’3 guard that shot over 40% from beyond the three point stripe. He will be expected to emerge as one of the division’s top performers. Drury is a 6’7 forward that started multiple games last year and should be a solid interior presence averaging 2bpg last season. Other contributors of note will be 6’8 Jr. Forward Sam Sherry, 6’o Jr. Guard Max Krevsky and 6’5 Fr. Nolan Gilbert. Fall Athletes not participating in Saturdays 9:00 AM Game with Red Land are 5’9 Jack Istvan, and Luke Snyder.
When thinking about the Central Dauphin Rams last season, it is hard not to conjure up the image of coach Wayne Fletcher sitting at a poker table with a stoic look on his face. He took over a 3-19 hand of five card draw and impressively built it into a district finalist in a matter of months. Make no mistake about it, his leadership catapulted the Rams out to the quick start, of what looked like a dream season early. A couple bumps in the road in the second half of the season however is fuel for this years fire. I can see Wayne now cracking his classic smile, and not asking for anything new in 2020, after improving by 12 in the win column. He is comfortable with the hand he is dealt this year and with a full year to prepare his kids, there is a reason for the excitement… And why not, he has a full house. A pair of Aces in leading scorers Sr. Rance Russo and Jr. Ryan Smith; each capable of giving opponents a 20 ball on any given night. The Kings on the wings, Jr.’s Darrien Barrios-Riveria and De’von Haggans are two way threats that will be called on to make winning plays regularly in the always physical Commonwealth Division. Wait you say…that is only two pair, that’s not a full house… Not so fast! The wild card is 6’5 So, Donovan Hill. His development this season will add plenty to the equation. If he can box his game up, defending, rebounding, running the floor and cleaning up the glass this group could play well into March. Not to mention the Rams have a good one in Fr. Keon Blanding-Dockens that could prove to be an intriguing piece to the puzzle in time. Central Dauphin will play at 11:00 AM on court 1 vs the winner of the 8:00 AM Susquehanna Twp vs. Elizabethtown game.
Susquehanna vs Elizabethtown
This first round match-up should produce some early morning fireworks. Susquehanna and Elizabethtown both enjoyed post season success last year and have enough returning to improve upon those outings. Susquehanna finished the regular season a sub-par 11-11 before putting it all together and upending top seeded Eastern York in the 4A bracket. The Indians will need a big season form 6’4 Jr’ Kevin Coleman. A big leap at both ends of the floor will spell good things for the Hanna. Sophomore to Junior year is when boys often become MEN on the court. If this old adage holds true for Coleman, who possesses the size and athleticism to impact the game at both ends, it could spell trouble for opponents. Coach Rocky Parise‘s Bears finished 17-13, lost to the 5-A District III Champs, Lower Dauphin in the quarter-finals and made the schools third ever appearance in the State tournament. This Saturday the journey toward next march begins. Two very good guards will take the floor in Susquehanna’s Mehki Jones and Elizabethtown’s Ryan Parise. Both are considered one of the best guards in their respective divisions/conferences. Either one can score the ball at a high rate when called upon and both do a stellar job taking care of the ball and setting the offense. E-town returns two other starters in 6’4 Sr, Forward Elijah Eberly, who could reach 1,000 points this season and 6’3 Jr. Forward Luke Pierson who continues to develop at both ends. Other key contributors include sharpshooting Sr. Guard Brody Beach, Sr. Alex O’Shea, and 6’6 Sr. Gavin Gilhool. Several fall athletes could prove valuable for the Bears come winter but these guys will not be with the team this Saturday, Jr. Brandon Lewis, So. Patrick Gilhool and Sr. Leon Allen.
The Wildcats will roll into the winter with playoff basketball on their minds. This well balanced group is determined to return to the District III tournament in 2020 following two straight appearances in 2017 and 2018, before falling just shy last season. With five returning starters all expected to be in attendance on the 19th, Coach Grassel has a stockpile of noteworthy upperclassman looking to put their stamp on the program. Led by the six foot three, YAIAA First Teamer, Kobe Green; Dallastown has the pieces to make the schools 4th appearance in the PIAA march classic a reality as well. Green has dedicated himself to getting physically stronger this off-season while improving his range. Last season he averaged 15 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. Other returning starters are 6’1 Sr. Guard Nike McGlynn (9ppg, 4rpg, 3apg), 6’3 Sr. Guard Roman Owens (8ppg), 6’3 Jr. Forward Jadon Green (6ppg, 4rpg 2bpg), and 5’10 Jr. Guard Michael Dickson (6ppg, 3apg). Another key contributor off of last years team that will be at the shootout is 5’10 Jr. Guard Kurt Dallmeyer. Fall athletes not attending the shootout include. 6’5 Sr. Center Cashiss Day and Jrs. Ryan Snyder, Egan Granholm and Nate Ward. Dallastown has a first round bye and will take on the winner of the Waynesboro vs Cedar Cliff (8AM CT1) game at 11:00 AM on court 2.
Waynesboro vs Cedar Cliff
There will be no shortage of talent at the guard position in this 8:00 AM match-up. Waynesboro features a dynamic point guard in 5’10 Sr. Cole Rhyne. Rhyne has lost 6 key contributors off of last years 17 win outfit and will be forced to shoulder a heavy load this year for the Indians. Cedar Cliff, therefore, has a trio of tough guards returning. First Team All PennLive and Sentinel combo 6’3 Sr. Joey Zvorsky, leads the way. He has a great work-ethic and continues to add elements and strength to his perimeter game. Teammates 6’3 Jr. Nick Strain and 5’10 So. Charlie Werner are capable of leading this hungry and motivated group as well. You will be hard-pressed to find a harder working group in the off-season. Coach Savercool has developed a culture of accountability and relentless effort. Although the guards will garner much attention in this match-up, The Colts key to conference and district gold aspirations could lie at the forward and center positions. Senior Nick Peters a 6’11 German exchange student with a fluid inside out game will help ease the development and complement the inside presence of 6’8 So. Center Tyler Houser moving forward.