Waynesboro drops opener to New Oxford


WAYNESBORO – The growing pains have begun for the Waynesboro Area Senior High School varsity boys’ basketball team.

On Tuesday, the Indians tipped off the 2023-24 season at home against an old conference opponent. As if this weekend’s Franklin County vs. Everyone isn’t going to be challenging enough with games against Bishop McDevitt and Warwick, the veteran-laden New Oxford Colonials played rude guests in the tuneup as they headed back to Adams County with a 68-51 triumph.

“They’re a really good team,” said Waynesboro head coach Tom Hoffman, who started his 24th season as the top coach. He is surrounded by veteran assistants Rich Davis, Rick Duesler and Kegan Crider, along with recently-graduated Jaylon Bean. “They have a lot of seniors. We’re starting over in a way. We are searching for an identity, who we want to be as a team.”

Bean, Ryan Shaffer, Tanyon Shaull and Michael Young accounted for the lion’s share of Waynesboro’s scoring the past two seasons. Add the growth and contribution of point guard Cooper Hough and the result was a team with an embarrassment of riches (38 wins in two seasons) and a fan base spoiled by success.

The new cast for the season included a trio of guards (Rayshawn Frazer-Hewitt, Kellan Smith and Farin Parks) and the two big men (Alex Torbica and Grant Thompson).

To be sure, it was a rough start for a young team, but one thing about a Hoffman-coached team is improvement can be counted on over time. It’s a question of how much time will it take to translate turnovers, missed shots and ill-advised fouls into forced turnovers, points and avoiding fouls.

The Tribe committed 21 turnovers and 20 fouls, while being out-rebounded 33-27. Conversely, the Colonials turned the ball over 12 times and committed 14 fouls.

Waynesboro managed to get off a few good shots in the early going, as Parks fed Torbica in the lane for an easy bucket. Smith passed to Thompson in traffic for another close-range shot to tie the score at 4-4 two minutes into the contest.

New Oxford’s pressure on the way down the court and once across mid court paid quick dividends, resulting in four turnovers in five possessions, with the other possession resulting in a missed shot. The Colonials outscored the Indians 9-0 during a span of two-plus minutes and led 13-4.

Torbica made a traditional three-point play to end the dryspell, but New Oxford went on another run by pulling away little by little and leading 20-10 after the first quarter.

“We just turned the ball over too much, too many fouls,” said Hoffman.

The Indians trailed 32-24 at halftime as they prevented the Colonials from adding to their double-digit lead. Frazer-Hewitt was a big reason for that. The sophomore gave way at the point and played the role of shooting guard and immediately put points on the board. He made back-to-back three-point field goals to cut a 32-18 deficit to 32-24 at halftime.

Frazer-Hewitt opened the second half with another three-pointer to make it 32-27, and suddenly it was a game.

Until senior Adriz Ahmetovic and Brody Holmes stepped up the intensity and made strong moves for quality shots. Holmes hit a three-pointer, and after Waynesboro turned it over, Ahmetovic made a close-range shot but missed the and-one. Still, New Oxford had a 37-27 lead, and it swelled to 40-27 until Torbica made a pair of foul shots and made one of two the next time down the floor.

The Colonials expanded the lead to 49-33 at the end of the third quarter.

Frazer-Hewitt and Torbica each scored 13 points.

Waynesboro will host two games this weekend, beginning Friday at around 8 p.m. against Bishop McDevitt. On Saturday, the Indians face Warwick at around 6:30 p.m.

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