With the high school basketball season in full swing, Michael Dalton is beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
The second-year York Comprehensive High School head boys varsity basketball coach has been involved in extensive practice sessions for the last month without key roster members who contributed to the Cougar football team’s state title appearance.
Among the absent basketball players has been Deshaw Andrews, who averaged 26 points per game last season, and Daurice Simpson, a 23-point per game scorer.
Andrews, a North-South All-Star Football game selectee, is in Myrtle Beach this week preparing for Saturday’s big game.
Simpson will be in Spartanburg next week as a member of the South Carolina Shrine Bowl team.
Simpson and football standout Wally Wilmore have been at practice this week.
“It takes awhile to get into basketball shape,” Simpson said between sprints in the YCHS gym.
Dalton said he knows what Andrews and Simpson can. “We also believe Wally can contribute to the varsity program this season,” he said. “We have other returning varsity players who will help us.”
Dalton said the nonfootball players on the team worked hard during preseason and offseason. With the Cougars picked to finish third in the region this season, Dalton hasn’t let up.
“Our emphasis this season is to step it up on defense,” said Dalton.
The Cougars will host the YCHS Bank of York Holiday Classic Dec. 22 and 23.
An Atlanta team will be participating in the tournament, along with East Gaston and four South Carolina teams.
“We look forward to hosting the tournament,” said Dalton. “We should have all of our players back and ready to go for the holiday tournament.”
The Cougars play at Fort Mill Thursday and travel to Chester Friday. Both games begin 8 p.m. The girls’ varsity action is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.