BOYS' BASKETBALL COLUMN: Shipper working from the ground up at Pequea Valley

In his first year at Pequea Valley, Jim Shipper looks to help the Braves improve on their 1-5 start. (Marty Heisey/Staff)

The last remaining Lancaster-Lebanon League boys basketball coaching vacancy has been filled.

At its Monday meeting, the Conestoga Valley School Board approved Jim Shipper as the Buckskins’ next boys basketball coach.

Shipper is a familiar name in basketball coaching circles, having last been in the L-L as the Pequea Valley skipper from 2013 to 2016, when he left to become an assistant with the Elizabethtown College men’s basketball team.

“I am truly humbled for the opportunity to lead the Conestoga Valley boys basketball program,” Shipper said via an email. “I am equally excited to be back in the L-L League. This league has some great basketball but, more importantly, the league is filled with coaches who are great leaders and tremendous people!”

Shipper is the most veteran hire of the three new L-L boys basketball coaches. New Ephrata skipper Scott Gaffey is 25, while new Elizabethtown boss Lee Eckert is 27. Meanwhile, Shipper is 49 and entering his 18th year coaching basketball, his 12th as a head coach.

He already has 186 career wins as a head coach in previous stops at Living Word Academy, Lancaster County Christian School, Harrisburg Christian and Pequea Valley.

While at LCC and Living Word, Shipper’s teams won two CCAC championships and five division championships, eight times qualifying for the District Three tournaments.

His PV teams went a combined 21-45 over three seasons, with Shipper elevating the program to a pair of third-place finishes in L-L Section Four in his last two seasons there.

A Middletown native, Shipper spent the last four seasons as an assistant at E-town College, the first two under legendary coach Bob Schlosser and the last two under Britt Moore.

Shipper is also the basketball coordinator at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim.

“I want to thank Elizabethtown College, coach Bob Schlosser, and coach Britt Moore for the last (four) years of challenging me and continuing to invest in my growth as a person and a coach,” Shipper said.

At CV, Shipper will be replacing Brad Herr, who stepped down after 12 years at the helm during which the Bucks went a combined 121-171, highlighted by two L-L section crowns (2008, 2015), one L-L tournament championship (2009), four L-L tournament appearances and four district playoff berths. The Bucks have finished below .500 the last four seasons, including a 7-15 mark last year.

For what it’s worth, Shipper is just the third CV head coach in 39 seasons, since Herr had replaced Bob Borden in 2007, following Borden’s 25 years at the helm.

“Our players and I look forward to giving 100-percent both on and off the hardwood,” Shipper said of his goals at CV. “We will strive for excellence in all that we do. ... My staff and I are anxious to get to work and start building trusting relationships and making a commitment to living purposeful lives with personal growth. I am grateful to be a part of a great community.”

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