Funk selected First-Team All-State

By on April 19, 2017
Manheim Central senior Taylor Funk (33), shown here scoring against Spring Grove in the District Three 5A playoff quarterfinals, was recently named First-Team All-State by the Pennsylvania Sports Writers. Photo by Mike Shull

Manheim Central senior Taylor Funk (33), shown here scoring against Spring Grove in the District Three 5A playoff quarterfinals, was recently named First-Team All-State by the Pennsylvania Sports Writers. Photo by Mike Shull

In his four years wearing Manheim Central’s maroon and gray colors, Taylor Funk recorded some statistics that will be hard to match.

En route to becoming the all-time leading scorer in MC basketball history, the 6-foot-9 center/forward finished with 1,925 career points.

That included 24.1 ppg as a senior and 64 of his career 229 three-pointers.

Not to be overlooked were his eight career games of 31 points or more, including 35 against L-L rival Lampeter-Strasburg this past winter.

One stat, though, won’t be found in a scorebook.

Zero times sat down by Baron coach Chris Sherwood for disciplinary reasons.

“Not for five minutes,” Sherwood said. “… In four years of coaching him, I never had to sit him down and say, ‘Play harder.’ I’ve never had to sit him down and say those things to him. (Taylor) worked hard, he had an incredible desire to win, and all those things made him special.”

So special, in fact, that Funk — a St. Joseph’s University recruit — recently received First-Team All-State Five-A honors from the Pennsylvania Sports Writers. A year ago, Funk was selected Third-Team All-State.

“I was ecstatic,” Sherwood said. “… You know what? The kid was awesome. And he was better than any of us ever thought he was. We always thought he was really good, (but) I’ve done a lot of reflecting on the year and the one thing I keep on coming up with is, boy, he was really stinkin’ good.”

Funk was certainly a key reason that the Barons finished with a combined 84 wins in his career. Along the way, with Manheim Central suiting up the likes of Matt Walsh, Tanner Brenize, Tony Staffieri, and Dan Wiederrecht in Funk’s freshman and sophomore seasons, the Barons advanced to the District Three Triple-A finals and recorded their first-ever PIAA State playoff win.

“Those first couple years, that team he was complemented with, he didn’t even have to be the man,” Sherwood said. “That’s what was so awesome about it is that those first two years, it was really a perfect storm … I was saying, ‘What if a young kid like that plays on a really bad team? What happens?’”

Placed in an environment where Funk could develop, he took his game to another level in his sophomore year, when he averaged 15.4 ppg.

“It was clear as day then where he was headed,” Sherwood recalled.

In the 2015-16 season, Funk assumed more of a leadership role for the Barons. He netted his 1,000th career point, and as the top player on a young squad, Funk led MC to the District playoffs, where they suffered a first-round loss to No. 3-seeded Bishop McDevitt.

That set the stage for a senior campaign in which Manheim Central finished 21-7, placing seventh in Districts and advancing to the PIAA State playoffs for the third time in four seasons.

It was a year that Funk complemented his game by taking on a post presence.

Initially, there was some resistance.

“But not disrespectful … he was just unsure,” Sherwood said. “It was the resistance of a kid going, ‘I’m just not used to this.’”

Before long, the resistance was replaced by confidence.

“By January, he’s calling out sets where he’s getting the ball on the low block,” Sherwood said. “I can remember just thinking to myself a couple times, and probably even saying it to coach Quinn, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s begging for the ball on the low block.’ That’s about as gratifying a feeling as I’d had.”

Post or no post, however, opponents continued to play physical against him.

To extreme levels.

“(Taylor) got beat up every single possession,” Sherwood said. “That kid could have pouted all day long and all night long and never did. He got fouled every possession. And that’s not a shot at anybody. You can’t call every single thing in a game.”

As Sherwood states, his refusal to pout — and his ability not to be sat down by his coach — was a reflection of his character.

“I discipline all of my guys. Sometimes, I look for reasons to discipline them just so they know who the boss is,” Sherwood laughed. “I never sat him for disciplinary reasons … This all goes back to his attitude, his demeanor, who he is as a person, who he is as a competitor, and you never caught him a bad light.”

Where you can catch him is on the list of First-Team All-State selections.

“He was special,” Sherwood said.

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