And they’re off!

We’re officially five days into the 2021 YAIAA winter sports season and already we’ve learned plenty.

While wrestling began on Tuesday night and swimming is set to start for area schools on Wednesday, we’ve already had multiple basketball games for both boys’ and girls’ teams from several area schools.

Some of what we’ve learned so far confirms our preconceived notions, while some of what we’ve learned may be a bit surprising.

Here are a handful of things I know that I know after a couple of games in the 2021 YAIAA basketball season.

We’ve got some serious special scoring talent.

Everyone knows about Jayden Weishaar, the Littlestown senior who has already surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career entering this season. Weishaar torched West York for 38 points in a season opening win.

Then there’s New Oxford’s Connor Jenkins, who turned in a 31-point performance, a career-high, in a win over Spring Grove on Monday night.

Biglerville’s Katie Woolson seems to have taken the next step and showed off her full offensive artillery in a win over Hanover, pouring in 26 points on Monday, while Fairfield freshman Breana Valentine opened eyes with a 26-point showing of her own in a loss to York Tech.

And don’t forget Delone Catholic junior Giana Hoddinott, who dominated on both ends of the floor, racking up 22 points along the way in a big win over Bermudian Springs.

I also know that that same Squirettes team won’t be challenged in the regular season.

It may get me yelled at by Delone coach Gerry Eckenrode, but the Squirettes are head and shoulders above any team they’ll face in the regular season. A very good Bermudian Springs team went on the road to Delone on Monday and in the blink of an eye it seemed as if the Squirettes were up 20. Too much talent. Too much depth. Too good of a coach. Good luck to any team that stands in their way.

I know that the Biglerville girls have been the beneficiary of some important skill development in the offseason.

Woolson’s 26 points, a career-high, would’ve been fairly surprising to see last season. Although she was a good ball handler with plus athleticism, the Canners guard occasionally found herself out of control. This year it appears she’s much more comfortable changing pace the ball in her hands. Add to that a steadily improved 3-point shot as well as strides made from teammates Brylee Rodgers and Morgan Martin, and the Canners are looking like a threat to make the playoffs if some cards fall the right way.

I know that Bermudian Springs coach Jared Nace is a perfect example of acronym KYP. Know your personnel.

The senior-laden Eagles team is, probably by their own admission, neither the most athletic nor the most skilled team in the area. What they are, however is smart, savvy and gritty. Bermudian is off to a 2-0 start after a pair of games that likely won’t end up hanging in the Louvre anytime soon. Nace has his squad playing tough defense, controlling the tempo, and being smart with the ball. That, my friends, is knowing your personnel.

I know that New Oxford is going to be a tough out come the end of the season.

Second-year head coach Nate Myers has a rebuilding job on his hands at his alma mater. After the graduation of three key seniors and the transfer of another big-time player, the Colonials are left looking for some scoring. But they’re not short of talent.

Led by the sharpshooting Jenkins, New Oxford does not lack for confidence from beyond the arc. First-years Aden Strausbaugh, Braden Carver and Nick Lawrence are also not afraid to let it fly from deep, and as the Colonials begin to settle in to their respective roles offensive they’re going to be tough to beat.

As the season progresses, we’ll only continue to learn more about the wealth of talent spread throughout the area. For the time being, however, these are just some of the exciting storylines to monitor in the weeks to come as we get into the heart of the season.

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