When you look at the win-loss record, it’s easy to think of the 2023-24 season as a disappointment for the Palmyra boys basketball program.

But closer observation will show this team is one to watch in Lebanon County this year and beyond.

“We’ve had some moments where we are ready to kick the door down and we haven’t been able to do that yet,” said Palmyra head coach Tim Bean.

As of Jan. 19, Palmyra had only three wins on the season and a 3-11 overall record. But the building blocks for a successful program are evident.

The architect is Bean, who is in his first season as the Cougars’ head coach. He takes over for long-time Palmyra coach Pete Conrad. Bean served as Conrad’s assistant for six years prior to taking over the head coaching role.

“I live in the community,” said Bean. “I like the challenge of building a program in the community that I live in.”

Bean is no stranger to coaching high school basketball in the Susquehanna Valley. Prior to his current role at Palmyra, he served as the head coach at Hershey and East Pennsboro.

He’s leading a young Cougar team that features just one senior on the roster: point guard Hunter Mayer.

“(Coach Bean) really pushes us, he expects a lot from us,” said Mayer. “He knows that we can all accomplish a lot. … You can tell that he really wants us to get better as a team and individually.”

For Mayer and Bean, this season has been a challenge. Palmyra has faced stiff competition, perhaps the toughest around according to the head coach.

“We’ve played the toughest schedule in District 3, so far,” said Bean. “If you look at our opponents’ winning percentage, we have played the toughest schedule.”

That schedule has included strong teams like Cedar Crest, Hershey, Mechanicsburg, Red Land, and Penn Manor. As of Jan. 19, Palmyra had played eight opponents with winning records.

Tyler Burgess takes a shot for the Palmyra Cougars during a recent game. (Provided photo by Kristine Warner)

“They have had a tremendous amount of fight and they have been very resilient,” said Bean when discussing his team’s performance this season.

Mayer added: “Record-wise, definitely not what we wanted or really expected coming into this. … We just gotta keep playing. We can’t change what happened in the past so you just … keep moving forward.”

If you need an example of how hard the Cougars are playing for Bean, just look at the stats. Defensively, Palmyra is allowing only 52.7 points per game and hasn’t surrendered more than 65 points in a game all season (as of Jan. 19).

Hank Roesch on defense for the Palmyra Cougars during a recent game. (Provided photo by Kristine Warner)

“I think we’ve defended really, really well as a team,” said Bean. “We’re not where we want to be offensively yet.”

For Bean and his squad, there are still more opportunities to play solid defense and improve offensively. The goal is to finish the season strong, add a few more wins, and lay the foundation for the Palmyra boys basketball program moving forward.

“When you look back down through the program, all of our teams are getting better at every level,” he said. “We want to try to build our program where we continually, year-in and year-out, can be a program that competes to be in the district playoffs.”

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TJ Eck joined LebTown in January 2024. He has been a sports journalist for more than 10 years. Aside from covering sports feature stories for LebTown, TJ covers boys basketball for LLHoops.com and serves as a sports correspondent for LancasterOnline.com. TJ began his journalism career in 2013 as a...


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