Fairfield seniors hosting 3 vs. 3 hoops tourney to benefit Special Olympics

Four Green Knights seniors are hosting the second-annual Fairfield 3 vs. 3 basketball tournament to benefit the Special Olympics of Adams County.

The tournament will be held at Fairfield High School on March 28 from noon to 6 p.m., according to Fairfield senior Mason Flickinger, who is organizing the tourney as part of a senior project along with Michael Quealy, Brandon Selman and Brandon Hummel.

Interested hoopsters must register their teams by March 25 and pay $30 per team.

Special Olympics athletes will scrimmage before the championship game and prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place teams, as well as the best-dressed team.

Price of admission for spectators is $3.

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Q+A with Mustangs all-around tennis coach Karen Cracium

For most high school coaches, leading one team is enough work and stress as it is. But South Western’s Karen Cracium loves tennis and she loves being a coach. In addition to being the girls’ tennis coach, she was recently named the boys’ tennis coach as well.

Cracium will be taking over for 2014 GameTimePA Coach of the Year Kristen Meyer, who led the Mustangs to a 13-1 record and a YAIAA Division I title last season. We caught up with with Coach Cracium recently to see how she’s preparing to run the program.

Question: So, where are you from?

Answer: I am from Hanover and graduated from Hanover High School. I played tennis for long-time coach Dan Palmer there.

Q How long have you been at SW?

A I have been coaching girls’ tennis for three years at South Western and volunteering for boys tennis for two years at South Western.

Q How long have you been coaching tennis?

A Before South Western, I was coaching at Hanover High School for the girls team for two years. So, my total is five years coaching high school tennis. Our assistant coach, Kris Raubenstine, has been with the boys and girls teams for 15 years. He is a great asset and will bring continuity to the program during the transition to a new head coach.

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Meet our new sports reporter: Zach Miller (He’s not crazy)

Brandon Stoneburg: I’d like to formally introduce my new teammate and colleague, Zach Miller. He has been out covering sports in the area for about a week now and doing a great job. Together, we’ll have you covered in the Hanover-Adams area, no problem. Give him a follow on Twitter @ZachMiller_ES.

Anyway, I asked Zach to give a few first impressions since he has been in Pa. His thoughts on the York-Adams area are below.

Zach Miller: I’ve been with the Evening Sun and GameTimePA.com for a week now, and I’ve had to answer some form of this question multiple times everyday I’ve been here: “You moved here from Florida? In the middle of the coldest winter ever? Are you crazy?”

So let me answer this once for all of my new readers: No, I’m not crazy.

I’ve done this winter thing many times before. I grew up across the Delaware River in New Jersey (where the winters are cold), and went to college at the University of Missouri (where the winters are frigid) before spending a year-and-a-half in Florida working for a small paper on the state’s Gulf Coast.

Yes, winter weather in Florida is fantastic, but that’s really the only time of year the weather is pleasant there. The summer, which lasts from about March through October, gets old quickly. Everyday is the same: 95 degrees, coupled with such intense humidity that you sweat as soon as you walk outside, and the skies open with a torrential downpour at 4 p.m. So, while I miss the warmth now, I’ll take the four seasons here in Hanover.

But enough about the weather. There’s way more to it than that. I’m thrilled to be back within driving distance of my family and friends in New Jersey, it’s a luxury I really missed during nearly six years in Missouri and Florida. And I’m even more excited to be part of the Evening Sun and GameTimePA.com teams, which do digital-first journalism as well as anyone.

I can’t wait to cover all the teams in the Hanover-Adams area and get to know everyone better. Feel free to say hi, or to banter with me about baseball (I’m a Yankees fan), if you see me out at games, meets and other events.

But please don’t ask me if I’m crazy.

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Oops! Revisiting our basketball predictions

As sports reporters, we analyze, speculate, report and occasionally make predictions. The predictions are usually based off of what we’ve seen and mostly meant to stir conversation. Over the course of the boys’ basketball season, I made several bold predictions and a few of them didn’t even come close to fruition. So, it’s time to look back at a few and see where I went wrong. This should be humbling. My reaction is about the same as Coach Williams:1213_SPT_SD-delbig-10-XL

Dec. 10: “Bermudian did earn the 400th win in program history on Tuesday, but number 401 could be a challenge.”

In my defense, the Eagles were coming off of two less-than-impressive losses to Kennard-Dale and seemed to be struggling to replace 80 percent of their offense from the previous season. Number 401 actually wasn’t much of a challenge for Tom Flaherty’s squad. They reached 411 by the end of the season and finished 12-10 — good enough for third place in Division III. My bad, Bermudian.

Dec. 10: “Don’t look now but there could be a good team up there in Canner Country. Biglerville is off to a 4-0 start, good enough for first place in the division. the Canners could be a dark horse to contend in the division.”

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Ask the People: YAIAA fans weigh in on ten hoops questions

Late last week, I asked YAIAA fans for their opinions on ten different hoops topics ranging from MVP candidates to best atmospheres to catch a game. Well, the people have spoken, the results are in, and a few may surprise you. Here is what the voters said, followed by my take and fellow GameTimePA reporter Matt Goul’s take on each topic.

Question: West York is widely considered the best girls basketball team in the YAIAA, but who is the best boys team?

Results: 

1. Northeastern 153 votes (28.6%)
2. William Penn 138 (25.8 %)
2t. Hanover 138 (25.8%)
4. Central York 58 (10.8%)
5. Other 48 (9 %)

Brandon’s take: I’d flip-flop Northeastern with William Penn and I might switch Hanover and Central York after the Nighthawks’ poor showing in the league tourney. West York could’ve probably been tossed into this group as well. A possible Northeastern-William Penn matchup looms in the league title game to crown the champ.

Matt’s take: William Penn has easily the toughest schedule of any team in York or Adams counties, and to come out of that with an 18-4 record is impressive. To me, the more intriguing argument is who is second? Northeastern had the most momentum for a while, but West York and Central have come on strong.

Q: Who has done the best coaching job in YAIAA girls hoops?

1. Darrell Wildasin, 88 votes (22.7%)
2. Jessica Barley, 81 (20.9%)
3. Other, 72 (18.6%)
4. Scott Wisner, 60 (15.5)
5. Kevin Bankos, 59 (15.2%)
6. Gerry Eckenrode, 28 (7.2%)

Brandon’s take: Hard to argue the Wildasin choice when West York went undefeated. I think Barley has done a tremendous job to get York Suburban to where they are. Same for Wisner at Central. Both ended long league playoff appearance droughts. My pick would be Barley because of how she has turned the program around.

Matt’s take: A 10-win improvement for Suburban going into the district tournament is something that cannot be ignored. A similar improvement was made by Central York, but the Trojans certainly would get my vote as surprise team in the YAIAA this season. Typically, I like to hand coach of the year honors to a coach who oversees a turnaround, and that would be Jess Barley.

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Vote: YAIAA hoops end-of-season poll

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With the YAIAA basketball season wrapping up, we’re curious to get your thoughts on the 2014-2015 season. Below are ten questions ranging from MVP votes to thoughts on adding a shot clock. Vote and let us know what you think! If there’s someone who you’d like to add, sound off by leaving a comment below.

Enjoy.

West York is widely considered the best girls basketball team in the YAIAA, but who is the best boys team?

 

Who has done the best coaching job in YAIAA girls hoops?

 

Should the regular season be longer or shorter than 20 games?

 

If it were up to you, where would you hold the district finals?

 

Boys hoops: Who's the best guard in the YAIAA?

 

Is it ever acceptable for fans to rush the court after a high school game?

 

Who's the best big man in YAIAA hoops?

 

Who would win the MVP award in YAIAA girls hoops?

 

Should a shot clock be installed in high school basketball?

 

Which YAIAA school has the best atmosphere to watch a basketball game?

 

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Playoffs? We’re talking playoffs?!

To answer Jim Mora’s infamous question: yes, we’re talking playoffs.

With the YAIAA basketball tournaments starting this weekend, we’re previewing the three matchups involving Hanover-Adams teams and giving some BOLD predictions.

Boys

First up: Hanover (19-1) vs. West York (16-5) at Spring Grove, Saturday

Games against each other: Didn’t play this season.
Hanover’s record against common opponents (Kennard-Dale, Susquehannock): 2-0 
West York’s record against common opponents: 4-0

When those two teams square off on Saturday night at Spring Grove, it will be the third time in six seasons that they have met in the first round of the league playoffs.

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YAIAA Bracketology: Boys and girls hoops

Using a nifty, online bracket-builder and ESPN’s bracketology idea, we created our own version for the YAIAA basketball playoffs. So below are two brackets on how the girls and boys league playoffs would look if they started today. Below that are the first four teams that missed the cut for both sides. This is obviously subject to change in the next few days and weeks, but it’s fun to speculate nonetheless.

The league playoffs start Feb. 6-7.

YAIAA boys playoffs as of Jan. 27:

YAIAA boys

 

First four out:

-Dover
-Bermudian Springs
-Delone Catholic
-Dallastown

The bracket as it currently stands could provide some entertainment. You have the upstart Rockets taking on undefeated Northeastern in the first round. And Hanover vs. West York would be a track meet. Those two teams met in the first round last season and the Bulldogs won 49-46. Also, any combinations for the quarterfinal matchups would be solid, especially a possible Central-Northeastern rematch or William Penn-West York.

YAIAA girls playoffs as of Jan. 27:

YAIAA girls

 

First four out:

-New Oxford
-Susquehannock
-Biglerville
-Eastern York

Again, a full slate of solid games. Dallastown taking on York Catholic in rematch of last season’s first-round matchup could come down to the wire and a Delone-York Suburban matchup between Claudia Mingora and Maddie Comly would be fun to watch. Keep an eye on New Oxford. The Colonials are currently tied with Central York for the third spot in Division I, so that spot could be up for grabs.

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A look at the week ahead: Jan. 27-31

It’s a busy week in high school sports with team wrestling district playoffs starting and the hoops season coming down the home stretch. Here’s a look ahead at some key matchups to keep an eye on in the Hanover-Adams area. Enjoy.

Jan. 27: Delone Catholic at York Catholic boys basketball, 7:30–Delone lost by 14 to its rival earlier this season at home. 0115_SPT_SD-han-del-6-XLThese two teams  sit in eighth and ninth in District 3 Class AA and are separated by .0005 of a percentage point is the district ratings.  This one has bragging rights and postseason implications.

Jan. 27: York Catholic at Biglerville girls basketball, 7:30–These two teams are a combined 28-7 overall, sit in the top three in Division III and in the top five in District 3 Class AA. The Canners have won three in a row and have a chance to avenge their 65-38 December loss to York Catholic.

Jan. 28: Fairfield at Hanover girls basketball, 7:30– The Nighthawks are in the last district playoff spot and clinging to their postseason aspirations. Also, Soukaina Tracy has a chance to eclipse 1,000 career points in this game. She currently sits at 981.

Jan. 30: Spring Grove at Dallastown boys basketball, 7:30–In early January, the Rockets knocked off the Wildcats, 77-63, at home, to pick up their fourth consecutive win. 0108_SPT_SD-dt-sg-2-XLNow, with the Rockets set to visit Dallastown, both teams sit in the last six playoff spots in AAAA. With a win, Spring Grove would all but secure its spot in the YAIAA playoffs as well.

Jan. 30: Red Lion at New Oxford girls basketball, 7:30– The first-place team (Red Lion) and third-place team (New Oxford) in Division I battled to a 46-44 overtime decision with the Lions coming out on top earlier this month. Red Lion boasts one of the league’s best offenses, while New Oxford boasts one of the best defenses. Who prevails this time and would another overtime thriller be too much to ask for?

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Q&A with the new Lady Mustang in charge-Allison Lawhead

There’s a new Lady Mustang in charge at South Western. Allison Lawhead was recently approved by the school board to take over the girls’ lacrosse program in 2015. Lawhead, who is a business teacher at South Western, will be taking over for Jim Kopenhaver, who was the only other coach in program history. Kopenhaver led the Mustangs to five consecutive YAIAA Division I titles.

Now it will be Lawhead at the helm. She has spent the last five seasons assisting with the lacrosse team, so there will be no lack of familiarity. The Middleburg, Pa.-native recently took some time to speak with GameTimePA about her expectations for this upcoming season.

Question: So where are you originally from?

Lawhead: I am originally from Middleburg, Pa. It is in the Selinsgrove area approximately two hours north of Hanover.

Q: Is this your first coaching gig?

Lawhead: It is not. I have been a coach at South Western for a total of nine years. My background is in field hockey. I spent five years coaching South Western field hockey at the junior high and junior varsity levels. A few years ago I was asked to help out with the lacrosse team. I grew to love the sport in no time and decided to shift my focus solely to lacrosse. This will be my fifth year with the team.

Q: Did you play lacrosse in high school or college?

Lawhead: I did not.  Lacrosse was not a sport where I grew up at the time.  Having no high school experience, I chose not to play in college.

Q: What was your first reaction when you were offered the job?

Lawhead: I am very excited at the opportunity to continue the tradition of success that we have had here at South Western.

Q: Do you know many of the players already?

Lawhead: I have been lucky enough to work with most of the upperclassmen for a number of years. I also know a lot of the younger players in our program as a result of our youth league.i-ncv8xps-L

I have also had to opportunity to teach most of my players.  One of the great things about being an educator and a coach is seeing the players both in and out of the school setting.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most this season?

Lawhead: Good weather!

Q: Is there any added pressure after how successful Coach Kopenhaver and his teams in recent years were?

Lawhead: Absolutely not. Jim created a great program and culture here at South Western. I was lucky enough to learn under one of the best coaches in the area and that is not something that every young coach has the opportunity to do. i-gDmTZKt-LWe are going to live in the moment and try to extend the successful run that the program has had. We have great coaches at every level and a ton of interest from elementary school through the high school level.

Q: When you’re not coaching lacrosse, what do you like to do?

Lawhead: When I am not coaching, I like to spend my time with my son. I am a first-time mom to a seven-month-old who keeps me on my toes, especially while my husband is coaching basketball during the winter season.

 

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