The challenge coming into this season was how the Lancers would make up for losing All-Public point guard Tyler Jefferson, who took on most of the scoring load last season.
Last season the Lancers finished with a 6-14 record and lost in the first round of the 6A Philadelphia Public League playoffs to Northeast High School.
The Lancers improved their regular season record and had a deeper playoff run. They finished the regular season with a 8-13 record, and after cruising to a win in the quarterfinals against Olney, the Lancers lost 40-38 in the 6A Philadelphia Public league semifinals to the Frankford Pioneers.
Head Coach Haviland Harper had confidence and high hopes for the team this season. “I expected us to go a little further than we did,” Harper said. “We lost a lot of close games. I had trouble finding a steady rotation that I thought was our best; we were a little inconsistent and this caused us to lose a couple games we shouldn’t have.”
Even with the loss to Frankford, the Lancers can look back on this season as a success. The team played together all season, and it was easy to see that there was more chemistry on the floor between the players. Rather than one player dominating the ball, the Lancers played unselfish basketball this year resulting in a better record and deeper playoff run.
“Overall the team chemistry from top to bottom was much stronger this season,” said senior captain Danny Holdsman. “Our guys weren’t as focused on their individual minutes and stats as much, and it allowed us to concentrate primarily on winning games.”
The Lancers had a more balanced attack in that there was almost a different player leading the team in scoring each game.
The team’s unselfish attitude showed greatly from senior captain Brandon Taylor. In his third year on varsity and second as a captain he was moved from the starting lineup mid-season. Rather than having this move affect his play, he embraced his new role on the team.
“It was a little rough at first, but I got used to it,” says Taylor. “I bought into the process and we actually strung a few wins together so that helped.”
Going into his 38th year of coaching and 20th at Central, Harper shows no signs of thinking of retirement as he is already looking at the team next season.
“I have to figure out who’s gonna be here to play [next season],” Harper said. “We have some good candidates from JV, and some players that are upperclassmen who had academic problems. Maybe they’ll be available next year.”
The Lancers will lose 7 seniors next season, so it will be exciting to see how they will be able to match the impressive year they had.
Kristian Rhim (276)