It's not the easiest thing for a high school basketball player to come off the bench and make an impact on the game.
Especially when that player was used to previously starting.
But such is the case with York Catholic junior Japriya Carroll. Carroll, a regular starter for York High as a freshman, barely cracked the Irish lineup last year, her first at York Catholic.
And even with some starters missing from last year's club either because of injury or graduation, Carroll has still been relegated to the bench when the opening whistle blows so far this season.
If Carroll continues to impress with her play, like she has over the first three games of the year, keeping the junior on the bench may grow more and more difficult for Irish coach Kevin Bankos.
Carroll again provided a spark for York Catholic Tuesday evening against York-Adams League rival Eastern York. The guard came off the bench to lead all scorers with 19 points and her squad cruised to a 53-41 victory.
"We always need kids that can come off the bench and not lose a spark," said Bankos, whose team remained unbeaten at 3-0 overall and 2-0 in Division IV. "We've had others ... Ashton (Bankos) used to do it for us, and we've just had a group of kids that just constantly came off the bench. When you can do that, you don't miss a step. So the fact of whether or not she starts -- and her and I have talked about it -- she just knows that it's important to play and make a difference."
Known normally as a threat as a jump shooter, Carroll showed some versatility on Tuesday, scoring most of her points (10) inside the paint on lay-ins.
"I feel like I've come pretty far," Carroll said. "I think being more aggressive all-around helps with my scoring and my defense."
Coming from a program that has experienced some lean years at York High, Carroll could tell a big difference the first time she practiced under Bankos last year. Getting used to it was a bit of a culture shock, but it's something that ultimately has helped her grow as a player.
"It's just so different from being at York High," she said. "It's a lot more intense (here) and there's a lot more talent and that just helps you get a lot better because you have people behind you (pushing) you more."
Junior center Hannah Laslo, who finished with 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds, hasn't been too surprised by what Carroll -- who leads the team in scoring at 13.3 points a game -- has been able to do so far.
"She's been working so hard," Laslo said. "She's been hustling, and I knew that she would be better this year because of all the hard work that she's been putting in at practice."
Laslo helped the Irish gain separation from an Eastern side that was coming off a disappointing 49-28 loss the night before against West York. The Knights were within four points (20-16) late in the first half before Laslo ended the quarter with a personal 5-0 run to push the lead to 25-16 at the break.
The home team continued to dominate into the third, outscoring the visitors by a 20-9 clip to go up 20 (45-25) after three periods.
The Knights, though, did battle back in the fourth quarter, when the Irish were uncharacteristically sloppy at times. York Catholic finished with 27 turnovers, some of which might be attributed to having a week between games. The Irish last played last Tuesday against York High.
"Good teams are going to bury us if that's how we play in the future," Bankos said. "We were fortunate that they missed a lot of outside shots along the way, or it would have been much closer."
Eastern converted on just 10-of-43 shots for the contest (23.3 percent). Coach Cheryl Land's team also didn't help itself at the free throw line, where the Knights converted on 21-of-35 opportunities (60 percent).
"We didn't shoot well, obviously," said Land, who was a former assistant under Bankos at York Catholic. "We missed too many foul shots and too many lay-ups. We just didn't work as a unit tonight and we have to work as a unit and that's how we'll find success as a unit."
Morgan Thomas, a Bloomsburg recruit, had a tough night for the Knights. The senior only converted on three shots from the field yet still led her team with 13 points to go along with seven rebounds. Teammate Lauren Beaver added 10 points, while Leah Myers finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
OTHER GIRLS BASKETBALL
Dover 48, Central York 39: At Central, the Eagles improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in York-Adams Division II. The key to the victory was a 12-2 third-quarter surge by the Eagles, which allowed them to break the game open. Central fell to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in Division I. Alayah Hall had 16 points for Dover. Kelsey Wisner had 11 points for Central.
York Suburban 42, South Western 20: At Suburban, the Trojans held the Mustangs to single-digit scoring in each quarter. Alexis Mailman led the winners with 14 points, while Katherine Weaver added 10.
New Oxford 42, Northeastern 28: At New Oxford, the Colonials held the visitors to 11 second-half points. Kaelyn Long led the Colonials with 10 points. For the Bobcats, Payton Hauck scored 10 points. New Oxford improved to 1-1 in York-Adams Division I and 3-1 overall, while Northeastern fell to 0-2 in Division II and 3-2 overall.
Kennard-Dale 47, Biglerville 38: At Fawn Grove, Katelyn Trott scored 14 points to lead the Rams. K-D trailed at halftime (19-15) but used a 17-9 third quarter to take the lead. Katie Camara scored 14 points for the Canners.
Delone Catholic 55, York High 30: At McSherrystown, Mary Gingrow led the Squirettes with 13 points. Maddy Comly knocked in 12. For the Bearcats, Chyna Steele scored a game-high 25 points. Delone improved to 1-1 in York-Adams Division IV and 3-1 overall.
-- Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.