The opening quarter went about as well as expected for Northeastern on Tuesday night.
In their first game of the year, the host Bobcats faced a Dallastown team that already had two wins under its belt entering the game.
And it showed. The Wildcats took their largest lead of the night when they opened up a six-point advantage with less than two minutes to play in the first quarter. Northeastern, meanwhile, made just 4-of-16 shots from the floor (25 percent) in the opening period.
Once the Bobcats got the jitters out of the way, though, they turned it on and didn't look back, eventually nailing down a 57-43 victory to hand Dallastown (2-1) its first loss of the year.
"The first game is always going to be a little sloppy," said Khalid Nwandu, who is one of two returning starters to the Bobcats' lineup. "We have a lot of freshmen on this team. That was their first varsity game. We knew we were going to pick it up."
Northeastern (1-0) scored two quick baskets in the final 1 minute and 38 seconds of the first quarter to draw within 11-10 at the end of the first period. The Bobcats then outscored the Wildcats 17-10 in the second quarter and led 27-20 at halftime thanks to Nwandu hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer. The 6-foot, 2-inch senior guard finished with a game-high 25 points.
"The game plan going in was to keep them out of the paint and force them to shoot (from the outside)," Dallastown coach Michael Grassel said. "Credit to them. They made some big shots there. Nwandu hitting that three at the end of the half is a big momentum shift there."
Northeastern opened up the second half on a 9-2 run to grow its lead to 14 at the 3:04 mark of the third quarter. Nwandu completed a 3-point play with a lay-up and a foul shot to open the fourth quarter to give Northeastern its largest lead of the night, 42-27.
For the game, the Bobcats shot 45 percent from the floor (16-of-35), including 63 percent in the final three quarters (12-of-19).
Nwandu, a NCAA Division I Mount St. Mary's recruit, went 7-for-7 at the line in the fourth quarter. As a team, Northeastern hit 12-of-13 free throws in the final period to seal the win.
Dallastown starting guards Mitch Small (13 points) and Ben Doorn (10 points) carried the load for the Wildcats, which finished the night shooting 13-of-39 (33 percent) from the floor, including 2-of-12 from 3-point range (16.6 percent).
"We gave up 40 points but I'll take that," Northeastern coach John Eyster said. "They're not bad. They have guys that can play and kids that can shoot the ball."
The Wildcats played without their lone senior starter, Ethan Sutton (seven points), most of the night. The guard battled foul trouble throughout the game.
"I thought our guys battled hard," Grassel said. "Fouls are going to happen. It's basketball. It's part of the game. But I thought the guys responded well."
The Bobcats' other returning starter, senior guard Braheem Riley, chipped in 11 points while 6-4 sophomore forward Derrick Hoffman had 10 points.
OTHER BOYS' BASKETBALL
DOVER 56, SPRING GROVE 53: At Dover, the Eagles improved to 3-0, but it wasn't easy against winless Spring Grove (0-3). Dover trailed 44-39 entering the final quarter before using a 17-9 edge to grab the win. Josh McMahon poured in 22 points to lead Dover, while Ryan Beck added 11 and Jared Mummert chipped in 10. Logan Hagerman had 15 points to lead the Rockets, while Colton Crouthamel (11) and Darin Gordon (10) also hit double digits.
YORK HIGH 82, NEW OXFORD 51: At York, the Bearcats blew open the crossover game, outscoring the Colonials, 28-9, in the third quarter. Tavon Parker poured in 25 points for the winners with 15 of Parker's points coming from behind the 3-point arc. Ramel Stephens added 14 points for York High, and Derek Wilson and DaiQuest Casiano added 10 points apiece. Zach Wildasin led New Oxford with 12 points, and Wes Bears and Alex Decinti finished with 11 points each for the visitors.
SUSQUEHANNOCK 51, HANOVER 39: At Hanover, Susquehannock's Tim Fry, Tyler Brooks and Dan Ferraro combined to match the Nighthawks' total. Fry led the way with 16 points followed by Brooks (13) and Ferraro (10). Dylan Krieger and Austin Brown combined for 26 points for Hanover. The Warriors held the home team to 15 points in the first half to construct an 11-point advantage.
YORK SUBURBAN 72, BIGLERVILLE 48: At Suburban, the Trojans trailed 15-14 at the end of the first quarter, but outscored the visitors 26-13 in the second quarter to take the lead for good. Evan Eberhardinger and Viante Barnes led the Trojans by each scoring 20 points. P.J. McClane knocked in 11 points for the winners. For the Canners, Zack Sheets scored 13 points, while Isaiah Shirley had 12.
YORK TECH 60, BER MUDIAN SPRINGS 48: At Spry, the Spartans led by just two points entering the final quarter of play (37-35), but outscored the visitors 23-13 in the final eight minutes. Claudio Patrice led the Spartans with 23 points. Argenis Rivera knocked in 10 points for Tech. For the Eagles, Neil Murren scored 12 points, while Alex Orwig scored 11 and Austin Hartzell knocked in 10.
RED LION 56, WEST YORK 48: At West York, the Lions trailed 39-34 going into the final quarter but rallied to outscore the Bulldogs 22-9 in the final eight minutes to capture the win. Mike Fox led the Lions with 29 points. Teammate Kevin Hutchinson knocked in 18 points, including 10-for-11 at the charity stripe. For the Bulldogs, Rogue Lopez knocked in 11 points. Red Lion went 15-for-22 at the charity stripe, while West York was 5-for-5.
CEDAR CREST 46, CENTRAL YORK 43: At Lebanon, the Panthers led 24-18 at the half, but couldn't hold on. Cedar Crest outscored Central in the third quarter, 19-10. The Panthers attempted just three foul shots, while Cedar Crest got 18 attempts from the charity stripe. Darian Hampton had 11 points to lead Central.
DELONE CATHOLIC 58, EASTERN YORK 54: At Wrightsville, sophomore Devon Moore, in his first varsity game, poured in 26 points to lead Delone. Moore missed last season with a knee injury. Senior standout Brett Smith added 19 for the Squires. Dalton Reichard poured in 24 points for the Golden Knights. Delone jumped out to a 19-12 first-quarter lead and held on.
SOUTH WESTERN 59, KENNARD-DALE 36: At Hanover, Parker Bean poured in 25 points to lead the Mustangs. Scott Hess and Austin Cook added 10 each for the winners. Logan Moore's 11 points paced K-D. South Western used a 16-6 second-quarter edge to take control after falling behind 8-7 after one period.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.