EMIGSVILLE – It was a game with a lot on the line.
It also lived up to its billing.
In fact, Monday’s York-Adams League Division I girls’ basketball showdown between Central York and Spring Grove was well worth the price of admission.
With the score deadlocked late in regulation, the Rockets had a chance to clinch a tie for third place in the division standings. A runner with time winding down by Ella Kale, however, rimmed out, sending the contest into overtime.
After the Panthers stormed out to an early five-point OT lead, the Rockets slowly fought back. After getting an untimely turnover by the home team, the Spring Grove girls trailed by a point.
That’s when recent 1,000-point scorer Haley Wagman hit a runner with about 10 seconds left to put the Rockets in the lead.
Wagman’s shot would have been memorable, had it not been for the play of Central’s Sarah Berman. The junior raced up the court before connecting on a layin with 4.5 seconds left.
The Rockets had one last-gasp shot at it, but a turnover positioned the Panthers to ice the game, which they did in a dramatic 63-60 victory.
The triumph clinched the outright division title for Central (18-3 overall, 11-1 D-I), while eliminating Spring Grove (15-6, 7-5) from contention for a league playoff berth.
“I knew we didn’t have much time left,” said Berman, who finished with 14 points. “And we didn’t have a timeout left, so I just wanted to push the ball and get a good look, whether it was a layup or a kick out to the low post.”
Short memory helps: Berman’s play came moments after she was charged with a turnover when she stepped on the inbounds line while fielding a pass on an inbounds play. That miscue set the stage for Wagman, who drove and used the glass to put the Rockets up by a point.
Having a short memory turned out to be a great trait for the Central junior. She was very focused while driving the ball all the way up into the front court. Surrounded by two Rocket defenders, Berman was able to split the defenders while scooping the ball up and off the glass for the winner.
“I just took what I thought was the best option,” she said.
Prowell, Chimienti shine for Panthers: While Berman was the hero, two of her teammates had even bigger games overall. Senior Emily Prowell led the Panthers with 21 points, while freshman Bella Chimienti tallied 17.
Prowell, an Elizabethtown College recruit, scored 13 of her points in the fourth quarter and overtime, while Chimienti poured in nine of her points during that same span.
Clutch outfit: The fact that the Panthers were able to come through in the clutch was not a surprise to CY coach Scott Wisner. A similar two-point victory over the Rockets just six days ago was evidence of that, as were a handful of other close triumphs throughout the campaign.
“We’ve been through this before,” Wisner said. “And they showed me that they have the grit and resolve to pull things out.”
Surprising champions: Central really wasn't expected to be in this position just a few months ago. That sentiment didn't belong to just some fellow coaches and fans — it was also what Wisner expected himself.
“I thought that we would compete,” Wisner said. “I thought that we would be able to run with everybody and give competitive games, but I certainly would have not believed at the beginning of the year that we would be winning the division championship.”
Rockets look ahead: Conversely, the Spring Grove girls seemed well-positioned to make a run at the title, along with a Dallastown side that won the title a season ago. The Rockets and Wildcats, however, couldn't quite get over the hump this season, while the Panthers and Red Lion, who finished second in D-I at 10-2, rose up.
Had the Rockets pulled off the victory, they would have had to face Dallastown in a play-in game Wednesday at Red Lion High School for the No. 3 seed from Division I in the league playoffs. While that game is no longer in the cards, the Rockets will instead get ready to face another playoff team in Bermudian Springs Tuesday before entering the District 3 playoffs in two weeks.
“We just have to keep going,” Spring Grove coach Troy Sowers said. “We told the girls that it’s never over until it’s over. And it’s not over yet.”
Kale led the Rockets with 24 points, while Wagman finished with 12 and Lexi Hoffman chipped in 10.
OTHER GIRLS' BASKETBALL
Dallastown 43, Shippensburg 39: At Shippensburg, Claire Teyral led the Wildcats by scoring 11 points, including three from behind the arc, while teammate D'Shantae Edwards scored 10 points. With the nonleague win, Dallastown improved to 15-7 overall. Shippensburg fell to 11-9.
Dover 48, South Western 37: At Dover, the Eagles trailed 26-24 at the end of the third quarter, but rallied by outscoring the Mustangs 24-11 in the final quarter to capture the nonleague victory. Brooke Bowman led the Eagles (3-19) with 16 points. Teammate Ashley Goebeler scored 14 points. For the Mustangs (3-18), Maddie Lehker scored 19 points.
York Suburban 64, Littlestown 25: At York, Maddison Perring and Alyssa Hocker each scored 10 points to pace the Trojans, who improved to 15-6 overall with the nonleague triumph. Littlestown fell to 11-11.
Fairfield 48, Turkeyfoot Valley 45: At Fairfield, the Green Knights improved to 3-18 overall with the nonleague win. Kayleigh Bollinger had 21 pionts for the winners, including five 3-pointers. Fairfield ended an 11-game losing streak. Haley Bolin (13) and Emma Dennison (12) combined for 25 Fairfield points.
York Country Day 68, Dayspring Christian 52: At York, the Greyhounds moved to 8-12 overall, while Dayspring dropped to 3-17.
York High 71, South Western 50: At Hanover, the Bearcats captured the Y-A D-I win behind 12 points from Isiah Carroll and 11 points each from Kelvin Matthews and Brandon Mutunga. For the Mustangs, John Fenwick scored 17 points. York High finished divisional play at 10-4 and improved to 15-6 overall. South Western is 3-18 and 1-13.
Hanover 54, York Tech 41: At Hanover, the Nighthawks kept their Y-A playoff hopes alive with the win. With a victory Tuesday at Biglerville, Hanover will sew up the No. 2 seed from Y-A D-III and a league tournament berth. The Nighthawks are 12-9 overall and 9-4 in Y-A D-III. Tech fell to 5-15 and 3-11. Kyle Garman (19) and Michael Killinger (12) hit double digits for Hanover. Darnell Wilkes led Tech with 15 points.
Annville-Cleona 54, Kennard-Dale 45: At Fawn Grove, Drew Dressel scored 12 points to lead the Rams in the nonleague loss, while teammate Wyatt McCleary scored 11 points. K-D fell to 6-15 overall. A-C is 11-9.
Gettysburg 58, Cedar Cliff 52: At Gettysburg, the Warriors continued their unbeaten season with the nonleague triumph. Gettysburg is now 21-0. Cedar Cliff dropped to 12-8. Quadir Copeland poured in 26 points for the Warriors, including 14 in the fourth quarter, when Gettysburg outscored the Colts, 21-15. Charles Warren added 13 points for the winners.
Susquehannock 62, Littlestown 56: At Littlestown, the Warriors knocked off the Y-A D-III champions in a nonleague affair to improve to 11-10 overall. Littlestown is now 18-4. Michael Staub (19), Jalen Franklin (15) and Jake Eden (12) combined for 46 Susquehannock points. Jayden Weishaar led Littlestown with 18 points, while Brayden Staub added 12.
Dallastown 66, Shippensburg 58 (OT): At Dallastown, the Wildcats earned an impressive nonleague win to improve to 13-9 overall. Shippensburg fell to 15-4. Dallastown outscored Shippensburg in overtime, 11-3.
Biglerville 56, York Country Day 25: At Biglerville, the Canners rolled to the nonleague win and improved to 4-17. YCD dropped to 7-11. Drew Parker (18), Colby Martin (15) and Jorge Cervantes (11) combined for 44 of Biglerville's points.
Waynesboro 85, Dover 54: At Wayneboro, Dover fell in the nonleague contest to drop to 2-20 on the season. Wayneboro is 11-9.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.