The Canners are fresh out of Drews.

In each of the last three years, the Biglerville boys’ basketball team has unleashed a high-scoring Drew on the offensive end of the floor. First it was towering center Drew Riley, who dominated in the paint to the tune of 18 points per game. Drew Parker, a menace in the mid-range, took the torch from his graduated teammate and netted 13.8 points per game as a junior before pouring in 19.2 a night last season.

With Parker now a BHS alum, the Canners are without a Drew, but head coach Neil Weigle hopes not without enough scoring options to be competitive.

Senior guard Eli Weigle leads the black-n-gold into battle after averaging 8.1 and 9.6 ppg. the last two seasons, respectively. He knocked down 33 3-pointers last season, fifth-best in the Times Area, and has 356 points over the past two years.

The smooth lefty will be called upon to handle a lion’s share of the ball-handling duties while also filling up the basket.

“We have to change up the offense a little bit, but he has to score,” said Biglerville head coach Neil Weigle of his son. “Offensively our focus is getting Eli the ball. After Eli, we have to find two or three guys to compliment him.”

The Canner coach was blunt when asked about replacing the production of Parker, who averaged 15 rebounds per game in addition to his scoring prowess.

“You don’t.”

Biglerville, for the first time in recent memory, will have a surplus of options thanks to a large turnout of 27 players to begin practice. Weigle said several freshmen were shifted back to the middle school level, but more than 20 remain in the mix as the preseason continues to unfold.

“It’s all open competition,” he said. “It’s the first year that nobody is really set, not even 6-7-8.”

Cam Tyson (3.4 ppg.), fresh off a memorable campaign with the Biglerville soccer team, will be the point guard when he returns from an injury that will sideline him through the preseason, according to his coach. Christian Shaffer (3.2 ppg.) will be asked to handle the ball more in Tyson’s absence.

“Christian Shaffer will have a good year,” said Neil Weigle. “He’s shown a lot of signs, and he needs to step up for us.”

In addition to the trio of guards, Weigle said Brady Salter and Lukas Smelser would man the interior positions.

“Lukas had a lot of minutes for us last year, and he can score inside,” said Weigle. “Brady can score points inside and outside. It’s going to be more of a complimentary offense.”

Seniors Tony Slothour and Ryan VanDyke, as well as sophomores Caden Althoff and Caleol Palmer were also listed as expected contributors.

While developing offensive options is a must, preventing opponents from blowing up the scoreboard is the team’s top priority. Biglerville struggled defensively a year ago, allowing 61.2 points per game. The inability to get stops was a contributing factor to the team’s 3-16 overall record.

“We’re making practices competitive and focusing on defense, knowing that’ s how we’ll have to win games,” said Weigle. “I told them I don’t mind if we win 25-24.”

Weigle added that cutting down on turnovers, which add pressure to the defense, is a primary objective.

With a full roster the Canners will also be in position to field a junior varsity team, something they were unable to do last season. Without that, some of Biglerville’s younger players were limited to handful of varsity minutes all season, whereas they could have picked up valuable court time in JV competition.

“We want to make our JV team competitive, so those younger guys will help our varsity guys,” said Weigle. “If they got minutes last season they would’ve been farther along this year.”

Playing in a competitive YAIAA-4 that includes the likes of York Catholic, Delone Catholic and an experienced Fairfield team, Weigle’s expectations are tempered.

“We’re in a tough league and we have a tough non-league schedule,” he said. “Your goal is always to win the league, but we want to be around .500 with the talent that we have, then take the next step beyond that.”

Biglerville is scheduled to begin the season on Friday, Dec. 10 at the Big Spring Tournament.

Contact Josh Martin at jmartin@gettysburgtimes.com. Follow on Twitter at @JoshMartin33

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.