York County basketball official Kevin Lawrence wears a microphone to show what it's like to be a youth official. York Dispatch
FAWN GROVE — To say it wasn’t pretty would be an understatement.
The end result, however, is really all that mattered for the West York girls’ basketball team.
Mired in a sluggish offensive contest against York-Adams League Division II rival Kennard-Dale, the Bulldogs never really found a scoring rhythm Tuesday night at Kennard-Dale High School.
Thanks to a suffocating West York defense, however, the Rams were never able to kick things into second gear, either.
So, on a night when the two teams failed to combine for 50 points, the West York girls were able to gain a share of the D-II championship with a 26-22 victory.
The win was keyed by a pair of big steals from senior Makennah Hoffman. Leading by three points with under a minute remaining, Hoffman picked off a pass and was fouled while attempting a layup.
After converting on the second of her two foul attempts, Hoffman again deflected and secured a steal with just under 10 seconds left to send the Bulldogs to the win.
West York improved to 19-3 overall and finished 13-1 in the division. Gettysburg also finished 13-1 in the division (and 20-2 overall) after defeating York Suburban Tuesday, 51-41.
Playoff matchups: The Bulldogs won the coin toss with the Warriors on Monday to earn the No. 1 seed in the first round of Saturday’s Y-A League playoffs.
West York will get defending Y-A champ Dallastown (15-7, 8-4 D-I), the No. 3 seed from D-I, at 7:30 p.m. at Dover.
The other three league quarterfinal matchups on Saturday will pit the Warriors against defending PIAA 3-A champ and D-III champ Delone Catholic (22-0, 12-0 D-III) at 6 p.m. at Dallastown; Eastern York (16-6, 9-5 D-II) against D-I champ Central York (18-3, 11-1 D-I) at 7:30 p.m. at Dallastown; and, finally, Bermudian Springs (18-3, 10-2 D-III) against Red Lion (18-4, 10-2 D-I) at 6 p.m. at Dover.
“It wasn’t pretty,” said Hoffman, who finished with five points. “And I don’t think we were mentally prepared either.”
Getting a wake-up call: After taking a 9-4 lead with just under two minutes left in the first quarter, the Bulldogs managed just one point over the final 10 minutes of the half. The result was a seven-point (17-10) deficit at the intermission.
Trailing at the break was a wake-up call for the Bulldogs.
“We knew at halftime that we were losing sight of what we had in front of us,” Hoffman said. “And I think in the second half we put up a good fight.”
The West York defense limited the Rams to five points total over the final 16 minutes.
Coach would like more offense: For coach James Kunkle, seeing his defense step up in the second half was certainly a pleasure. As the old saying goes, defense wins championships.
Kunkle, however, would like to see more from his offense. Winning a game with just 26 points is an absolutely rarity.
“A win is a win,” Kunkle said with a smile. “And I have to give credit to our defense there in the second half. We just came out bad offensively. And (K-D coach Aaron) Eaton had his team prepared. We just couldn’t finish.”
The Bulldogs scored just one point and collected zero offensive rebounds in the second quarter. Things weren’t much better in the second half, but it turned out that the West York girls only needed a handful of baskets to mount a comeback.
A 3-pointer late in the third quarter by Alainna Hopta (team-high 10 points) evened the score at 19. After K-D regained lead early in the fourth, T’Azjah Generett scored off a rare offensive rebound to put the Bulldogs ahead for good at 23-22 with 6:08 left. Two free throws by Hopta pushed the advantage to 25-22 before Hoffman iced it late.
“She came up huge for us,” Kunkle said of Hoffman, a York College recruit. “It’s been a while since this program has been in this position.”
Hoffman remembers that like it was yesterday. Just a seventh-grader at the time, Hoffman’s aunt, Emily Wood, starred along with Kari Lankford for a West York team that finished the regular season unbeaten five years ago.
Going from under the radar to D-II co-champ: The memory, however, that Hoffman couldn’t stop thinking about after Tuesday’s victory was the one back at Y-A Media Day in November. While much of the attention focused on Kennard-Dale and Gettysburg in the preseason, the Bulldogs were under the radar.
“Everybody was saying Kennard-Dale and Gettysburg,” she said. “And I don’t think that we were really ever up there truly, so this is definitely satisfying.”
Lexie Kopko scored 13 points to lead the Rams (12-10, 4-10).
Gettysburg 51, York Suburban 41: At Gettysburg, Cheyenne Proctor (11) Camryn Felix (11) and Lily Natter (10) each reached double figures in scoring to power the Warriors. Brooke Sargen scored 12 points to lead York Suburban.
Hanover 54, Biglerville 45: At Hanover, in a game with serious District 3 playoff implications, the Hawkettes earned a Y-A D-III win. The victory gave Hanover coach Denny Garman his 100th career victory. Hanover entered the game at No. 6 in the district 3-A power ratings, while Biglerville was No. 7. Only the top six teams in the final power ratings will make the district field. Hanover improved to 11-11 overall and 3-9 in D-III. Biglerville fell to 9-12 and 4-8. Jaycie Miller's 24 points led Hanover. Abby Rodgers' 14 points paced Biglerville.
Christian School of York 38, York Country Day 36: At YCD, the Defenders won their 18th-straight game to improve to 19-2 overall. YCD dropped to 8-13. Emma Bell led CSY with 16 points. The Defenders are No. 2 in the District 3 Class 1-A power ratings.
Hanover 51, Biglerville 49: At Biglerville, the Nighthawks earned the tight Y-A D-III win to clinch a berth in the league playoffs. Hanover (13-9 overall) finished tied for second place in D-III at 10-4 with York Catholic. The Nighthawks, however, earned the No. 2 seed from D-III for the Y-A tournament because they won the tiebreaker over York Catholic. Hanover split with D-III champ Littlestown, while YC got swept by the Thunderbolts. In the first round of the Y-A playoffs, Hanover will face D-I No. 2 seed New Oxford at 6 p.m. Friday at West York. Biglerville fell to 4-18 and 2-12. Andre Caban's 19 points led Hanover, while Michael Killinger added 10. Jorge Cervantes poured in 23 points for Biglerville, while Drew Parker chipped in 10.
West York 58, Spring Grove 40: At West York, the Bulldogs finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak and improved to 13-9 with the nonleague victory. Spring Grove's season ends at 2-20. The Bulldogs have qualified for the Y-A playoffs, which start Friday, when the Bulldogs will meet D-I champion Central York at 6 p.m. at Red Lion.
Susquehannock 61, Kennard-Dale 51: At Glen Rock, the Warriors solidified their chances for a District 3 Class 4-A playoff berth with a win over their southern York County rival. The Warriors improved to 12-10 overall and finished 5-7 in Y-A D-II. K-D finished at 6-16 and 2-10. Susquehannock is No. 9 in the current district 4-A power ratings. The top 10 teams will make the district field.
York Suburban 57, Red Lion 53: At Suburban, the Trojans prepped for the upcoming Y-A playoffs with a nonleague victory over the Lions. Suburban improved to 16-5. Red Lion finished at 10-12. In Friday's first round of the league tournament, Suburban will battle D-III champ Littlestown at Red Lion at 7:30 p.m.
South Western 45, Shippensburg 32: At Hanover, the Mustangs won the nonleague encounter behind pins from Logan Wolfe (126), Ethan Baney (152), Cameron Stevens (170), Owen Reed (182), Nathan Hawkins (195) and Robert Utz (220). South Western improved to 11-6. Shippensburg fell to 6-6.
Conestoga Valley 64, West York 12: At Conestoga Valley, the Bulldogs received pins from Ivan Vega (113) and Evan Jones (120) in the nonleague loss. West York fell to 5-13. CV improved to 8-6.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.