It's one of basketball's basic skills, but it can often make the difference between winning and losing.
Free throw shooting.
Those three words did not entirely account for the troubles that the West York girls’ basketball team had Monday evening at home against New Oxford, but they sure did draw the attention of Bulldogs coach Darrell Wildasin.
Wildasin’s club converted on just 6 of 17 attempts (36 percent), or 11 fewer conversions than the Colonials, who shot a nifty 17 of 21 (81 percent). That proved key. Visiting New Oxford was able to claim a 59-47 non-league triumph.
“The difference was the free throw shooting,” said Wildasin, whose team is converting on just 46.4 percent of free throws this season. “They (New Oxford) are all good free throw shooters, so it was hard to know who to foul. And we struggle at the free throw line, so that’s a problem.”
For a guy such as Wildasin, who was a 92 percent shooter at the free throw line back in his playing days, his team’s troubles at the line are head-scratching. It’s not as if the veteran coach hasn’t tried different approaches to improving his team in that area.
“I started out early on with all kinds of emphasis on it,” he said. “And it was so bad. And now it’s still so bad. Too bad I can’t shoot 'em for them.”
Kaelyn Long made her living at the charity stripe Monday. The Colonial senior, who entered the contest just 60 points shy of 1,000 for her career, finished with 22 points, 16 of which came at the foul line.
“I didn’t think she was going to get (to 1,000) tonight,” New Oxford coach James Kunkle joked.
The fact that Kunkle could joke around was a good sign for his club. It was a little less than a week since his club was handed a bitter 29-point loss to rival Central York in what was expected to be a York-Adams Division I showdown. Since then, Kunkle and his club, which improved to 10-2, have regrouped to piece together a three-game winning streak.
“I was just happy that, with playing Friday and Saturday and then today, without any practice, against another tough team, that we were able to pull it out,” he said. “This was definitely a little bit of a grinder, so I was proud of my girls.”
While the visitors led from the midway point of the first quarter, there was never a sense of comfort for Kunkle and his club. The Bulldogs, who are still getting used to playing without injured freshman standout Mackenna Hoffman, were able to hit enough outside shots to keep things close throughout.
“Coach Wildasin does a really good job with them,” Kunkle said. “They have three really good post players and that makes them tough to defend.”
Angie Hawkins led the Bulldogs (8-4) with 14 points, while freshman Alayna Harris tallied 12 and senior Catie McCarty finished with 11.
McCarty missed several minutes of the second period after absorbing a blow to the nose in the final seconds of the first quarter. She didn’t seem to miss much of a beat, however. She immediately scored after coming out of the locker room with both nostrils plugged.
Presley Berryhill finished with 16 points for the Colonials.
Northeastern 59, Bermudian Springs 45: At Manchester, Kendra Meyer and Amara Bitting each dropped 24 points for Northeastern, with Meyer burying four 3-pointers. Skyler West led Bermudian with 13 points, followed by Chole Yinger and Kaylie Smith each recording 10.
Dallastown 44, Mechanicsburg 39: At Dallastown, the home team built a 35-24 lead after three quarters and then held on. Samantha Miller (12) and Julia Sutton (11) each reached double digits for the Wildcats.
Spring Grove 59, Waynesboro 40: At Spring Grove, Lexi Hoffman scored 19 to lead Spring Grove, while Brooklyn Naylor contributed 10 points.
Twin Valley Bible 25, Red Lion Christian 23: At Twin Valley, the Swordsmen led 10-6 at the half, but were unable to hold the lead. Allie Damiano scored 10 points for RLC, while Reilly Teaman had 10 rebounds.
Red Lion 44, Conrad Weiser 29: At Robesonia, the Lady Lions earned the non-league road win. Hannah Wolf led the Lions with 12 points.
Northeastern 61, Cocalico 35: At Cocalico, Antonio Rizzuto scored a game-high 23 points, including five 3-pointers, for the Bobcats. Brandon Coleman added 19 points to the victorious cause. Northeastern improved to 13-0.
Eastern York 65, York Tech 50: At Spry, after an 11-11 tie at the end of the first quarter, the Golden Knights out scored the Spartans 18-5 in the second quarter to take the lead for good. Jared Achtenberg scored a team-high 17 points. Also for Eastern (10-1), Dom Particelli knocked in 12 points, while Seth Bernstein and Stephen Wisler each scored 10 points. For the Spartans, Terrence Romey scored a game-high 23 points.
York Suburban 48, Red Lion 36: At Red Lion, the Trojans held the Lions to 13 second-half points. Nick Bowman led the Trojans with 15 points. Also for Suburban, Ben Igo knocked in 13 points, while Luke Babinchak scored 11. For the Lions, Tyler Burchett scored 15 points.
York Country Day 58, Dayspring Christian 18: At York Country Day, the Greyhounds led 28-2 at the end of the first quarter and rolled from there. DeAireus Brown led YCD (8-3) with 16 points, while Jalen Gorham knocked in 12 points.
Twin Valley Bible 72, Red Lion Christian 30: At Twin Valley, Brad Sweitzer led the Swordsmen with 15 points. Teammate Myles Willard knocked in 10 points
Central York 7, Manheim Twp. 4: At York, a five-goal third period for Central paved the way to the Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Tier 2 win. The Panthers trailed 4-2 going into the final frame. Jordan Kline, Garrett Myers and Cody Rumsey each scored twice for Central, while Maxwell Wertman added the other goal. Rumsey, Kline and Myers all added assists. Central improved to 7-4. Second-place Manheim Twp. fell to 8-4-1.
Susquehannock 7, Middletown 3: In Tier 3 action, Susquehannock used a four-goal outburst in the second period to down Middletown at Twin Ponds West. Ryan Myers registered a hat-trick and an assist for Susquehannock (9-2-1), while Cody Smith, Bryan McGillin and Kaden Glatfelter each had two-point nights. The Warriors remained in second in Tier 3, but moved to within a point of first-place MSMCC.
Bermudian Springs 57, Kennard-Dale 18: At York Springs, the Eagles received pins from Tyler Rawson (120), Dylan Griffie (126), Austin Clabaugh (132) and Noah Fleshman (220). For the Rams, Andrew Barnett (145) and Austin McNamee (182) each picked up pins.
York Suburban 93, Gettysburg 77: At Gettysburg, despite losing more than half of the events, the Trojans prevailed because of their depth. Karl Schmittle won the 50 free and 100 fly to lead Suburban. Logan Hyde won the 200 IM and 100 breast for Gettysburg.
York Suburban 119, Gettysburg 51: At Gettysburg, the Trojans won all three relays. Megan Hunt was part of two relay victories (200 medley, 200 free), while also taking first in two individual events (50 free, 500 free). Morgan Newell won the 200 free and 100 fly for Gettysburg.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.