Cedar Cliff Boys Basketball knows the opportunity in front of them. The team is one win away from capturing the Mid Penn Conference Championship.
“Our expectations are really high so we’re going to get everyone’s best game from every opponent,” said senior shooting guard Trenten Smith before the season. “So we just have to keep our heads straight and play as hard as we can.”
In February, the Colts now sit at 18-4 and just knocked off Commonwealth Division Champion Cumberland Valley 50-46 in overtime on Tuesday.
“We keep battling in practice every single day,” said senior Tyler Houser, a Virginia Military Institute commit. “We compete super hard. We have nine guys that could start this season.”
After losing just one starter following the 2020-21 season, the depth of the Colts proves vital. The first wake up call of the season came in back-to-back losses to end the regular season.
“They’re not complacent,” said head coach Tigh Savercool. “They haven’t been lazy. They haven’t been a team that’s let off the gas, so to speak. They’re really motivated.”
And that’s the guy it all comes back to: Coach Tigh. He’s been the head coach for the Colts since 2016.
“I think he wants to build us to be more than just basketball players and be better people in general,” said senior point guard Charlie Werner.
Coach Tigh says he’s a big picture kind of guy all the time. He focuses on communication, accountability and being punctual. All things that drive the success for the Colts this season, and it’s as much about on the court as it is about off the court things.
“Basketball is not going to be the only thing we have in life so knowing how to do other important things like that really will help us,” Werner said.
The Colts making connections with the youth programs by coaching them in practices and attending the kids games. Coach Tigh making sure his high school players understand their responsibility to their community and the next generation of Cedar Cliff Colts; plus, proving that life is bigger than basketball.
Coach’s emphasis on skills outside of basketball goes so far the team found themselves in Vito’s Restaurant in Lemoyne back in December. What was on the menu? Chicken parmesan, salad and a lesson on etiquette for the varsity and junior varsity players.
“We all did good except for Chris,” Houser says while laughing. “Chris wasn’t great at it.”
“The off the court stuff is just knowing that they’re reliable young men in anything that they do is important for us,” Savercool said.
While the players understand their basketball careers end at some point, there’s still a lot more game left to play. And the Colts have one goal in mind.
“We want to do something that’s never been done here before,” Houser said. “That’s win a district championship. I feel like if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it this year.”
The Colts will face Shippensburg on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 7:35 p.m. at Milton Hershey School in the Mid Penn Championship. The Greyhounds beat Trinity 75-60 in the semifinals on Tuesday to advance. The undefeated Cedar Cliff girls will face Trinity in the Mid Penn Championhip on Thursday at 6:05 p.m. at Milton Hershey as .well. Both games will be broadcast live on abc27.3.