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Central York and Devon Prep Win State Championships: Kehler on Hoops

Central York and Devon Prep Win State Championships: Kehler on Hoops

Written by: Dell Jackson on March 24, 2024


Central York and Devon Prep Win State Championships: Kehler on Hoops
Article by David Kehler


Central York 53 Parkland 51

The last game of the season came down to the last shot of the season. The last shot of the season was launched by Parkland from beyond the arc and fell short, sealing a 53 to 51 victory by Central York over Parkland in the PIAA Class 6A state championship game on Saturday night in Hershey before a lively crowd of 5000.

The Central York-Parkland matchup was intense and competitive. Central York is impressive, with sensational attributes of size and speed. Coming into the game, gritty Parkland were masters of controlling pace and were able to score both from inside and from the perimeter. The game was close all of the way. Although Central York was ahead for much of the game, Parkland’s long range marksmanship gave them a puncher’s chance.

The first quarter was played at a fast pace, very suitable to Central York. Parkland clearly was willing to run with Central York, and that probably was not the best approach. In a PIAA Class 6A semifinal vs. Archbishop Wood, Parkland controlled the pace, thwarting Wood’s up-tempo aspirations. On Saturday night, Parkland abandoned that approach, to their disadvantage. Central York built a 34 to 24 halftime lead on domination of the boards. In the first 16 minutes of play, Central York out-rebounded Parkland 17 to eight. Even more telling, during that span, Central York had eight offensive rebounds to Parkland’s seven defensive rebounds. In the first half, Parkland had particular difficulty with CY’s Ben Rill, a 6’ 8” junior. Rill scored 13 points in the first half, mostly inside, but he also made a 3-pointer. A terrific perimeter shooting team this season, Parkland was just two of nine from beyond the arc in the first half. A testament to the quality of play, there were no free throw attempts in the first half, and the teams combined for just five first half turnovers.

In the second half, Parkland clawed their way back into contention. A high school team with good outside shooting always has a puncher’s chance, and Parkland had their best offensive surge in the third quarter, scoring three times from beyond the arc and holding Central York at bay. In particular, Parkland’s interior defense stiffened, and they battled CY evenly on the boards in the second half.

With 1:09 left in the third frame, after trailing since late in the first quarter, Parkland tied the score at 43 on a pair of free throws by 6’ 4” senior Zaire Smaltz. There would be two more ties and two lead changes in the contest, and, with 2:26 left in the game, Central York’s Rill put his side up 50 to 48 on pair of free throws. In the ensuing possession, Parkland missed a shot, and Central York took a time out with 1:55 left in the game. When play resumed, Central York scored on a drive by 6’ 2” junior Ben Natal, and it was 52 to 48, Central York. Parkland shot quickly in their possession, and the shot missed, leading to a free throw by CY’s Natal with 1:13 left in the game. After an exchange of possessions, Nick Coval, a 6’ 2” Parkland senior, scored on a three point play with 49 seconds left, and it was 53 to 51, Central York, with the big crowd roaring. Parkland then blocked a Central York shot. Parkland ran a set play and got an open look, but the shot was inaccurate. With just seconds left in the game, Central York got the rebound, and the rebounder was fouled. CY missed both free throws. Parkland got the rebound, moved the ball up court and launched an open—but inerrant—shot from beyond the arc as time expired. Central York held on for the win for the PIAA Class 6A state title.

Ben Rill- Central York

According to the official statistics, Central York out-rebounded Parkland 31 to 24. Central York committed just four turnovers, while Parkland had only five miscues. Central York was four of 10 from the free throw line, while Parkland was six of seven. The teams made five 3-pointers apiece.

Central York scoring: Ben Rill 17, Ben Natal 15, Ryan Brown 8, Greg Guidinger 7, Brooklyn Nace 4, and Saxton Suchanic 2.

Parkland scoring: Nick Coval 18, Zaire Smaltz 15, Jayden Thomas 11, Luke Spang 3, Robbie Ruisch 2, and Blake Nassry 2.

Nick Coval- Parkland






Parkland           17     7    19    8 – 51
Central York    20   14    11    8 – 53


Devon Prep 60 Franklin Area 56

In the afternoon game, Devon Prep defeated Franklin Area 60 to 56 for the PIAA Class 3A state championship before a crowd of 1300. Devon Prep, a member of the Philadelphia Catholic League, finished the season with a 15-13 record, but their regular season schedule vs. the likes of Roman Catholic, Archbishop Wood, and St. Joseph’s Prep prepared them for the state championship run.

This game was competitive, and both teams were really well-coached. In the early going, Franklin’s zone thwarted Devon Prep’s inside attack with swarming and collapsing play. Devon Prep led 25 to 24 at halftime.

In the second half, Devon Prep’s offense was more focused on the perimeter, and Frankin’s zone was less effective vs this strategy. Late in the third quarter, up 38 to 37, Devon concluded the frame with an 8 to 0 run on a hoop inside by 6’ 5” junior Zane Conlon, a 3-pointer by Conlon, and a 3-pointer by 5’ 11” senior Zach Orchard.

Trailing Devon Prep 46 to 37 entering the fourth quarter, Franklin battled back. With 3:27 left in the game, Franklin tied the contest at 50 on a three point play on a putback by 6’ 3” senior Cole Buckley. Devon countered with a 3-pointer by Orchard to give his side a 53 to 50 lead. Although they tried hard until the end, Franklin trailed from that point. With 36 seconds left in the game, a couple of free throws by 6’ 4” junior Shane Doyle put Devon up 58 to 52 and sealed the win.

According to the official stats, Devon Prep had a 30 to 26 rebounding edge. Devon Prep had 15 turnovers to nine miscues by Franklin. Devon Prep was 14 of 21 from the free throw line, while Franklin was 13 of 20 from the stripe. Devon Prep made eight 3-pointers, while Franklin sank five shots from beyond the arc. Significantly, Devon Prep had 14 assists for their 19 field goals, a very high ratio in an important measure.

Devon Prep scoring: Zane Conlon 20, Shane Doyle 15, Reece Craft 11, Zach Orchard 11, and Cooper Fairlamb 3.

Franklin Area scoring: Cole Buckley 20, Jalen Wood 16, Damarco Payne 12, Damon Curry 5, and Dreyden Payne 3.



Devon Prep        14     11    21    14 – 60
Franklin Area     11    13    13    19 – 56

On Twitter: @david_kehler



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