RED LION -- It's been a long time since anyone other than Red Lion could call itself the York-Adams Division I girls' basketball champion.
Twelve years to be exact.
West York put an emphatic end to that reign Tuesday night. It was probably the most satisfying moment in a Bulldogs' season that has featured quite a few of them.
Sophomore Emily Wood scored 19 of her career-high 36 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Bulldogs to a 59-50 victory over the host Lions.
The victory clinched the Division I title for the Bulldogs (19-3 overall, 13-2 Division I) in their first year in the league's top division. Red Lion fell to 15-7 and 11-4.
"It's extremely satisfying," Wood said. "Especially since they won 12 in a row. We wanted to stop them from getting a 13th in a row and we did and it feels great."
After the Lions cut the visitors' lead to 43-42 on a Kelsey Clever 3-pointer, Wood took over. The Bulldog sensation scored the game's next nine points to push the lead to 52-42 with 2:43 left.
Wood has really emerged as the team's go-to scoring threat since 1,000-point scorer Sarah Shearer went down with a knee injury. Since a loss to Dover a few weeks ago, Wood was personally challenged by Coach Jon Shultz to step up her game. And step it up she has.
"He challenged me and said I had to step it up," she said. "I knew I had to step up to the challenge and start playing hard, even if shots aren't falling, and that's what I've been trying to do. Just go all-out all the time."
Shultz was impressed to see his young guard take over the contest. For much of the final period, all he had to do was sit back and enjoy the show.
"When she's on fire and continues to feel it, we try to get (her) the ball," said Shultz, who believes Wood's 36 points could be a school record.
After Wood's barrage, the closest that the Lions could get down the stretch was seven points after Monmouth-bound senior Jenny Horvatinovic completed a three-point play for the home team.
Wood capped off the contest by scoring each of her team's final six points -- all from the free throw line. She finished with an impressive stat line: 36 points, 11 rebounds and a 10-for-10 effort from the charity stripe.
"I've challenged her because I know how good of a player she is," Shultz said. "I know what she is capable of."
Shultz, who led his team to the Division II title a year ago, did take a minute to reflect on the magnitude of Red Lion's impressive run.
"You've got to respect (Red Lion coach) Don (Dimoff)," Shultz said. "To win a division 12 straight years is an amazing (feat). And what he does with this program, in-and-out, every year ... there's no downhill."
Horvatinovic, who was honored before the contest for being nominated as a McDonald's All-American, led the Lions with 19 points. Morgan Kuehne hit a number of big shots on the night for the Lions en route to 15 points.
Victories by West York, York Catholic and Dallastown Tuesday set the stage for what could be a most entertaining opening round of the York-Adams playoffs, which start Friday. West York will face perennial rival Eastern York (6:30 p.m. at Dallastown), Dallastown will face Delone Catholic (6:30 p.m. at Dover), Dover will battle Kennard-Dale (8 p.m. at Dallastown) and York Catholic will face Red Lion (8 p.m. at Dover).
That latter contest will be a rematch of last year's title game, when the Lions rolled past the Irish, 61-35.
The winners of the West York-Eastern and York Catholic-Red Lion contests would face off in the semifinals next Tuesday, while the Dallastown-Delone and Dover-Kennard-Dale winners will battle in the other semifinal.
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.