WRIGHTSVILLE — West York girls’ basketball coach Darrell Wildasin was a very good free throw shooter back in his high school days at Spring Grove.
As the coach of the Bulldogs, however, Wildasin’s team has not really lived up to its coach’s personal success at the charity stripe. West York is shooting just 49 percent at the line as a team this year.
So it was no doubt a surprise that the Bulldogs were able to pull off an upset of home-standing Eastern York Tuesday evening from … you guessed it, the foul line.
The visitors can also give a big "thank you" to the Knights, who failed to cash in at the free throw line despite 30 attempts.
West York was able to convert on a modest 22 of 39 (56 percent) attempts at the charity stripe for the game. While that is not really anything to gloat about, it was far better than Eastern, which knocked down just 10 free throws.
That disparity played a big part in West York’s 51-44 victory over the Knights in a York-Adams League Division II contest.
“We really needed this game,” Bulldogs forward Paige Weekly said. “We had lost three games in a row before beating Northeastern (Friday). And the first time we played Eastern we played (poorly). But we came out (tonight) and knew that we could do it.”
Weekly was a big reason her team was able to keep its league playoff hopes alive. The junior finished with 15 points but, more importantly, she knocked down 7 of 9 attempts at the line (77.7 percent).
Free throws have not been especially kind to Weekly this year. She was shooting a percentage in the low 30s early in the season. But after a couple of workouts with her brother, Parker, her percentage has improved.
With Tuesday’s total, she is now at 48 percent (47 of 98) for the campaign.
“My brother is my role model,” Weekly said. “He was a really good free throw shooter when he was in high school. And I started off the year bad and (Parker) was like, ‘girl, you’ve got it get it together.’ (Free throws) are what win games.”
That was the case against Eastern, which trailed the entire second half. The Knights, however, were able to claw to within four points (46-42) late only to see the Bulldogs seal the outcome at the line.
While free throws played a big part in West York’s victory, so too did guard Angie Hawkins. After missing three games with an injury, Hawkins scored 15 points Tuesday.
“She’s one injury that we cannot afford,” Wildasin said. “We need her on the floor.”
In a foul-plagued first half, the Bulldogs finished with three players — Catie McCarty, Alayna Harris and Corrine Maloney — with three fouls. None of those three played in the third period, when the Bulldogs relied heavily on Hawkins and Weekly to carry the load. Somehow the visitors were able to extend their six-point lead at the break to seven by the start of the final stanza.
“We had to do a lot of maneuvering,” Wildasin said. “We had three girls with three fouls and we got some great help off the bench.”
While the loss was certainly disheartening for Eastern coach Brad Weaver, the first-year coach was relieved to find out that his team is assured of the No. 2 seed in the league playoffs. By virtue of their victory over Susquehannock (17-3 overall, 12-1 Division II) earlier in the year, the Knights (14-6, 10-3) hold the tie-breaker with Dover (15-4, 9-4) if both teams finish even in the standings.
Weaver, however, would rather not head into the playoffs on a downward spiral, so games Wednesday against York Catholic and Friday against the Eagles are still important.
“We have to execute,” Weaver said. “We were still in a situation near the end of the game where a couple of shots made would have put us in good shape. And credit West York, who I thought was more physical than us and they kind of pushed us around.”
The triumph kept the Bulldogs (14-7 overall, 8-5) alive in the race for the No. 3 seed from Division II in next week’s league playoffs. Dover can clinch the final berth by defeating Eastern Friday, but a loss and a West York victory against Kennard-Dale (6-14, 3-10) will earn the Bulldogs the No. 3 seed by way of a tie-breaker.
If the Eagles fall to the Golden Knights, they would be 0-2 against both Susquehannock and Eastern this season, while the Bulldogs would by 0-2 against the Warriors, but 1-1 against the Knights.
Hannah Myers scored 15 points for Eastern while Cassidy Arnold chipped in 14 more in the setback.
Susquehannock 63, Gettysburg 27: At Glen Rock, Jaden Walker led the home team with 16 points. Also for Susquehannock, Anna Mahan scored 15 points, while Tyler Williams knocked in 11. For the visitors, Alana Bortner scored 13 points. Susquehannock improved to 17-3 overall and 12-1 in York-Adams Division II. Combined with Eastern York's loss to West York, the York County Warriors clinched the outright division crown.
Central York 71, South Western 41: At South Western, Nikson Valencik and Teirra Preston each poured in 20 points and the Panthers got past the Mustangs. Emma Saxton added 14 points for Central. Alexandra St. Rose was South Western's leading scorer with 13 points. Central improved to 19-2 overall and 10-1 in York-Adams Division I. The Panthers have clinched at least a tie for the division crown.
Dover 70, Northeastern 40: At Dover, Rajah Fink exploded for a game-high 43 points as the Eagles cruised. Amara Bitting's 15 points paced Northeastern. Dover improved to 15-4 overall and 9-4 in York-Adams Division II.
Dallastown 59, Spring Grove 32: At Spring Grove, Aniya Matthews scored a game-high 14 points and teammate Julia Sutton chipped in 12 more for the Wildcats, who improved to 11-10 overall and 9-2 in York-Adams Division I.
York Catholic 56, Biglerville 17: At York, Abby Pilkey scored 12 points and Kate Bauhof added 11 more as the Irish breezed past Biglerville to clinch the outright York-Adams Division III title. The Lady Irish improved 15-4 overall and 11-0 in the division.
York Suburban 37, Kennard-Dale 23: At Suburban, Parker Faircloth-Henise pumped in 10 points to lead the home team. K-D couldn't manage more than seven points in any quarter vs. the Trojans' defense. Suburban improved to 12-9 overall and 6-7 in York-Adams Division II.
New Oxford 58, Red Lion 42: At New Oxford, Breanne Sauter led the Colonials offense with 18 points, including an 11-for-14 night from the charity stripe. Teammate Kaelyn Long knocked in 15 points. For the Lions, Hannah Wolf scored 14 points, while teammate Amy Maciejewski knocked in 10.
Christian School of York 45, New Covenant Christian 28: At York, Kathryn Larson's game-high 15 points paced the Greyhounds. Kendis Butler added 12 more points and Bailey Stauffer recorded 11 points for the victors. CSY improved to 16-3.
Red Lion Christian 48, Rosedale Baptist 11: At Red Lion Christian, Destiny Hollingshead’s 16 points led the Lady Swordsmen, who improved to 12-4.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.