SHIREMANSTOWN -- For a first game of the season, there were plenty of ups and downs experienced by the West York girls' basketball team Monday night against perennial power Trinity.
None of those downs -- an early 10-point deficit, an unsightly 26 turnovers or even a mediocre 12-for-22 performance at the foul line -- were as damaging as one pivotal eight-minute stretch after the intermission.
Holding a five-point lead at the break, Coach Jon Shultz's team was outplayed and outscored at a 16-3 clip over the final 5:39 of the third quarter.
Such a cold streak proved to be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome. Despite closing to within 48-46 with 1:10 left, West York couldn't overtake the Shamrocks, who knocked down 8-of-12 free throws over the final two minutes.
The resulting 55-48 defeat left Shultz and company wondering "what if" after falling in their season opener.
"Third quarter," Shultz said before he was even asked a question. "I think the first quarter showed that it was our first game, but then we rebounded. Played really well in the second quarter to get up five, but then in the third we had a huge 13-point swing. We had nine turnovers and I think we got tired. We'll have to work on our conditioning."
The Bulldogs couldn't have started much worse against a Trinity team that was looking to avoid an 0-2 start after dropping its opener against York Catholic Saturday. The visitors recorded seven turnovers over the first four minutes of the contest to fall behind, 12-2.
West York followed a similar blueprint to the one that they've employed very successfully over the past few years to rally. Guards Kari Lankford (19 points) and Emily Wood (12 points) drove into the lane and were able to get the home team into foul trouble. The Bulldogs got to the line 10 times in the first half and made six of them. They used a 29-14 run to close the half to go up 31-26.
The wheels, however, started to fall off quickly in the third. After Wood drained a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs up 36-29, the Shamrocks took over. Trinity took full advantage of West York's nine turnovers in the period to turn the game around. Daniela Rozman was the recipient of many transition baskets. The junior scored all 10 of her points in the stanza.
Turnovers weren't the only problems for West York.
"Our shot selection wasn't very good," Shultz said. "It was kind of a typical first game in the sense of the turnovers, but our shot selection should be a more consistent thing."
Another area of concern was his team's inability to convert on two key areas -- free throws and layups. The Bulldogs were just 6-for-12 in the second half at the line. They also failed to convert on a handful of layups that could have turned the tide in their favor.
"I said that earlier that you have to make your free throws and hit your layups," Shultz said. "And we had like three missed layups over the final minutes."
Shultz, however, won't have a lot of time to help his team figure things out. The Bulldogs are right back into the fire against another District 3-AAA favorite, Susquehannock, on Tuesday night. The veteran coach knows it won't be easy when his team travels to take on what he feels may be the best team throughout the entire York-Adams League. The Warriors finished second in last year's district tournament.
"Big game (Tuesday)," he said. "We'll see if we can get it in (weather permitting). Coming into the year, seeing these first two games, we knew he had to prep for them without a practice in between. It's going to be tough, but we'll see what we're worth."
Briana Betz-White, who earned a scholarship to Loyola University next year, led Trinity with 14 points. The 5-foot, 4-inch guard also led her team, which featured a 6-foot-3 center in Miranda Nixon, with six rebounds.
Lankford and freshman Elle Stine (seven points) each pulled down seven rebounds to lead the Bulldogs, who held a sizeable 32-20 edge on the boards.
OTHER GIRLS' BASKETBALL
Northeastern 58, Red Land 49: At Lewisberry, Lauren Pace led the Bobcats offense with a team high 16 points, including three from behind the arch to help them clinch the non-league victory. Teammates Ashley Meyer knocked in 13, including three from behind the arch, while Payton Hauck scored 12 points. With the win, Northeastern improves to 3-0 overall on the young season.