RED LION -- It's been a long time since a scene like the one that unfolded at Red Lion High School's gym on Tuesday night.
Shortly after the final seconds ticked off the clock, it was arch-rival Dallastown, and not the host Lions, who were jumping up and down and hugging one another after a 45-36 victory.
As upsetting as that sight was, Red Lion coach Don Dimoff was adamant that his team watch the Wildcats celebrate.
"They were celebrating like they won a national championship and I wanted our girls to see that," Dimoff said. "When people beat us, it's a big deal."
Dimoff wasn't lying about that. The Wildcats (4-1 overall, 3-1 in York-Adams Division I) haven't won against Red Lion
While the Red Lion girls were clearly disappointed with their performance and the outcome, the emotion from the Dallastown side was extremely enthusiastic.
"It was such a relief," said Wildcat senior Shae Grim, who finished with game-highs in points (12) and rebounds (11).
Wildcat coach Mary Manlove sensed the focus that her team had on pulling off such an upset. Not surprisingly, she was happy to see her team accomplish what could be considered the biggest victory of Manlove's four-year tenure at Dallastown.
"These girls were very motivated," she said. "They've had their eyes on this for a very long time. And you could see it in their faces every possession."
The turning point of the back-and-forth contest came just after halftime. Manlove makes it a point with her team during intermission on the importance of the third quarter. Tuesday was no exception. Her team put together an impressive 12-0 run throughout much of that third period to break a 19-19 tie.
"(Coach) always tells us, 'hey, you gotta win the third quarter,'" Grim said. "And that's exactly what we did."
The Lions (4-1, 2-1) had trouble getting shots to fall throughout the night (13-of-49, 26.5 percent), but especially in that third period, when they scored just four points. Seemingly ever possession during that 12-0 run ended with a missed shot and a Dallastown rebound.
"We come out of halftime every game like it's 0-0," Manlove said. "We pride ourselves on 'win the third quarter.' And you don't know how critical that is when you put the entire game together. The girls came out and executed exactly how we asked them to do it."
As impressed as Manlove was with the outcome, she was probably just as excited to see how she received contributions up and down the lineup. While Grim led the way with her 12 points, Katie McGowan came off the bench to score nine points, while starters Amari Johnson and Alex Lehman each tallied eight points. Jenna Jackson finished with seven, while Shannon Thomas only scored one point, but did pull down some key defensive rebounds in the fourth quarter.
"Everyone of them (contributed)," Manlove said. "Even if they didn't even play, they pushed us day-to-day in practice. Every one of those kids, whether they were on the bench or on the court, contributed to that win tonight."
While Manlove was in good spirits, Dimoff was not in much of a festive mood after the defeat. He was quick to point out his team's flaws.
"The third quarter we played very, very poor," he said. "We dribbled the ball too much and handled the ball too much. We didn't trust our offense. It was our offensive execution. We decided to finally play with some urgency in the fourth quarter, but it was too late. They got a little confidence there in the third quarter, hit some shots."
Jenny Horvatinovic led the Lions with 11 points, although the Monmouth-bound senior suffered a scare late in the third quarter after injuring her left arm. The Red Lion standout, however, was only out for a few minutes before returning in the fourth quarter and leading her team during a fierce comeback attempt. Horvatinovic sank a big 3-pointer with 53.9 seconds left to cut the lead to 43-35, but her team was held scoreless the rest of the way.
OTHER GIRLS' BASKETBALL
WEST YORK 51, CEN TRAL YORK 43: At Central, the Bulldogs were up 33-13 at the half and went on to capture the York-Adams Division I victory. Sarah Shearer led the Bulldogs with 15 points, while teammate Kari Lankford knocked in 13 points. For the Panthers, Sam Sweeney scored 11 points and Kelsey Wisner knocked in 10 points. West York improved to 2-0 in the division and 4-0 overall.
YORK CATHOLIC 69, HANOVER 41: At York Catholic, the Irish outscored the visitors 22-8 in the second quarter and went on to capture the York-Adams Division IV victory. Morgan Klunk and Zaenna Echevarria led the Irish with 15 points each. Hannah Laslo knocked in 12 points for the winners. For the Hawkettes, Soukaina Tracy scored a game-high 18 points. York Catholic improved to 2-0 in the division and 2-1 overall.
DOVER 50, YORK SUB URBAN 28: At Dover, Alayah Hall pumped in 23 points to help the host Eagles improve to 3-0 in York-Adams Division II and 6-0 overall. The Trojans got a game-high 11 points from Alexis Gettle.
KENNARD-DALE 58, BERMUDIAN SPRINGS 25: At Fawn Grove, the Rams broke open a close game with 36-9 surge over the middle two quarters. Sara Tarbert poured in 26 points to lead the winners, who improved to 5-0.
EASTERN YORK 55, LITTLESTOWN 15: At Littlestown, the Golden Knights led 19-1 at the end of the first quarter and went on to capture the York-Adams Division III victory. Morgan Thomas led the visitors with 25 points. Leah Myers, Lauren Beaver and Elizabeth Myers each knocked in 10 points for the winners.
NEW COVENANT CHRISTIAN 47, RED LION CHRISTIAN 28: At New Covenant Christian, the Swordsmen trailed 21-4 at the end of the first quarter and were unable to recover. Olivia Dettinger led the visitors with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.