MANCHESTER -- No girls' basketball team is going to play perfectly during a 32-minute contest.
There will be some valleys along the way for even the best of squads.
What sets apart the good teams from the rest is how they perform when it matters most.
Monday night's contest between visiting Susquehannock and Northeastern was a perfect example of that. Susquehannock, who many feel is the best club in the York-Adams League, muddled along for much of the contest. After the Bobcats cut Warriors' lead to under 10 points late in the third period, it was as if a switch was turned on for Susquehannock.
It started when the Warriors' Katie Wagner (15 points) drilled a 3-pointer to end the quarter, a shot that sparked a 16-4 run that stretched well into the fourth stanza. By the time the final buzzer sounded, a sluggish contest through 24 minutes looked like a blowout on paper. The visitors left Northeastern with a comfortable 58-39 victory.
"Sometimes you win a little ugly," Susquehannock coach Dave Schreiner said. "I thought overall that we did a good job on the defensive end. We created some turnovers (26) and that gave us some spurts. But if we shot better from the floor I think the game would have gone a little better for us."
The Warriors (6-1 overall, 4-1 Division II) converted on just 10-of-34 shots (29.4 percent) in the first half, despite forcing 14 turnovers. Northeastern only hit on 4-of-22 shots (18 percent), yet still found a way to keep the contest from getting out of hand. A lot of that can be attributed to forward Jordyn Kloster's play inside. While the sophomore had difficultly finishing shots, she was a fiend on the boards. She pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds.
"She's a good player," Schreiner said of Kloster, who led the Bobcats with 13 points.
Shay Mathison cut the Susquehannock lead to seven (32-25) after drilling a 3-pointer late in the third and the home team had the ball with 39 seconds left with a chance to cut into the deficit even further. A turnover, however, led to an open look for Wagner beyond the arc as time expired that pushed the lead to 35-25.
The Warriors quickly turned the momentum from that shot into an extended run. They converted on shots and forced a handful of turnovers during the 16-4 spurt. By the midway point of the fourth the outcome was all but decided after Wagner scored on a layin to push the advantage to 52-31 with 3:20 remaining.
"We like to push the pace," said Susquehannock guard Mackenzie Fancher, who led all scorers with 16 points. "We don't like to play slow. We like to push the ball and play fast. Then in that fourth quarter we started to push the ball, push it off a make and push it off a miss. And once you get a layin, you can get into your press and then you get another steal and another layup and it's just kind of a snowball effect."
Part of the sluggish start for the Warriors could be attributed to two quick fouls that Wagner picked up in the game's first 73 seconds.
"I think it's the flow of the game," Schreiner said. "She gets those two quick fouls and she's barely even played in the game. You're thinking about what you're going to do defensively and offensively and it just kind of throws a wrench in all of that. You can't leave her in there when she gets two fouls that quick because you don't know how the game is going to go."
Ashley Stone stepped in for Wagner and scored six of her 11 points in the first half. Stone was perhaps the team's best shooter. She knocked down 5-of-7 attempts from the field.
"I think Ashley came in and did a nice job," said Schreiner, whose team pulled to within a game of division-leading Dover (7-0, 5-0) in the standings.
Ashley Meyer scored 11 points for Northeastern (4-3, 1-3) while Payton Hauck finished with 10.
OTHER GIRLS' BASKETBALL
West York 53, South Western 36: At West York, Sela Fuhrman and Kari Lankford each scored 16 points to power the Bulldogs. West York led just 24-20 at the half, but outscored the visitors in the second half, 29-16. West York improved to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in York-Adams Division I.
Spring Grove 45, York Suburban 42: At Suburban, Morgan Arden poured in 24 points -- more than half of her team's total -- in the victory. Alexis Mailman paced Suburban with 11 points, while Cierra Eckenrode added 10. Spring Grove used a 13-9 fourth-quarter surge to rally for the win. The Rockets were also helped by 8-for-9 shooting at the foul line, including a 7-for-7 effort from Arden.
Dallastown 34, New Oxford 31: At Dallastown, the Wildcats overcame a scoreless second quarter to get the win. Dallastown trailed 22-19 after three quarters, but used a 15-9 fourth-quarter spurt to triumph. Amari Johnson scored 14 points to lead the Wildcats. Taryn Crone had 11 points for New Oxford. Dallastown improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in York-Adams Division I. New Oxford fell to 4-3 and 2-2.
Red Lion 66, Central 42: At Central, the Lions jumped out to an early 15-4 lead at the end of the first quarter and went on to capture the York-Adams Division I victory. Deven Horka led the visitors with 15 points. Morgan Kuehne scored 14 points for the Lions, while Courtney Dimoff knocked in 13. Red Lion improved to 3-1 in the division and 4-2 overall.
Littlestown 37, Kennard-Dale 29, OT: At Littlestown,the visiting Rams trailed 21-16 going into the fourth quarter, where they outscored Littlestown, 10-5, to force overtime. The Thunderbolts outscored K-D, 11-3, in the extra period to come away with the win. Morgan Anderson paced the Rams with 10 points while Littlestown was led by Lauren Slater (12 points) and Megan Smith (13 points). K-D fell to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in Division III.
York Catholic 52, Fairfield 16: At York Catholic, the Fighting Irish defense clamped down on the Green Knights, holding them to just six field goals and three foul shots. Japriya Carroll and Anne Lehr combined for 26 York Catholic points.
-- Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.