Perhaps no one summed up the drama before the opening round of the York-Adams League girls’ basketball playoffs better than Red Lion coach Don Dimoff.
“Going into this I said that every one of the eight teams still playing could win the tournament,” Dimoff said. “And I truly believe that.”
Saturday evening, those eight squads certainly entertained the crowds at Dallastown and Dover high schools. Every game was close early in the fourth quarter, with two games coming down to the final minute.
In the end, the three teams from Division I – Central York, Red Lion and Dallastown –prevailed, while Division II co-champ Gettysburg put an end to Delone Catholic’s unbeaten streak with an impressive victory.
In the girls' semifinals on Wednesday at Dallastown, the D-I champion Panthers (19-3) will square off against the Warriors (21-2) at 7:30 p.m., while the Wildcats (16-7) and Lions (19-4) will pair off for a third time in the other girls' semifinal at 6 p.m. The Lions and Wildcats split during the regular season.
Gettysburg knocks off Squirettes again: In any other season, two teams riding lengthy winning streaks likely wouldn't face off in the first round.
But, after sharing the D-II title with West York, the Gettysburg girls earned a clash with unbeaten Delone Catholic because of a coin toss. The Bulldogs won the toss and the No. 1 seed from D-II, giving the Warriors the No. 2 seed and a date with Delone.
Riding their own impressive 14-game winning streak into Saturday’s contest, the Gettysburg girls would, no doubt, preferred to avoid the Squirettes in the quarterfinals.
Nevertheless, coach Jeff Bair’s team was every bit up to the challenge.
Behind big games from Anne Bair (21 points) and Taylor Richardson (16 points), the Warriors put an emphatic end to Delone’s 27-game winning-streak with a 46-37 triumph.
“We got better as the night went on,” coach Bair said. “And that’s what mattered. We needed to get better.”
Gettysburg held the Squirettes’ top-two scorers to a combined 10 points. Giana Hoddinott (14.2 points per game) finished with four points, while Brooke Lawyer (13.4 ppg) was held to six.
The Squirettes did themselves no favors at the foul line, going 4 of 10. Conversely, Gettysburg knocked down 15 of 20 free throws. Bair made her final four attempts in the fourth period to salt away the victory.
“We’re hoping to have a great postseason,” coach Bair said. “And this kind of game helps us to get ready for that.”
The Warriors earned a 54-47 victory over Delone in last year’s Y-A playoff opener. Since that setback, the Squirettes' only other loss before Saturday was in last year’s District 3 3-A final to Trinity. Delone finished last season with five straight victories en route to the 2019 PIAA 3-A title.
Lions hold off Eagles: While Dimoff’s club ultimately scored a 58-51 victory over Bermudian Springs, the veteran Red Lion coach couldn’t exhale until the final buzzer.
Much like fellow D-I rival Spring Grove, the Eagles can put five shooters out on the floor at the same time. When Bermudian coach Todd Askins did just that, Dimoff and his squad had to quickly figure out the best way to defend.
“We played Spring Grove twice this year, so we had a little bit of practice against it,” Dimoff said. “I kind of compared them to Spring Grove some, and I think that offensively they did a good job of attacking us and we need to do a better job of keeping them out of the paint.”
The Lions never really could pull too far ahead. The Eagles were able to stymie Red Lion’s offense a bit, while also getting a number of big shots offensively.
Hannah Chenault scored a team-high 21 points, including three big 3-point baskets in the first half, that kept Bermudian within striking distance.
“I thought we played fantastic,” Askins said. “I think that’s the best we’ve played defensively all year. And I’ll say it here, that if we play like that in districts that we’re going to win some basketball games.”
While Bermudian (18-5) is able to put five shooters on the floor at times, the Lions are able to counter with two capable post players in Makiah Shaw and Julia Beiler. Shaw poured in a game-high 27 points to go with 12 rebounds, while Beiler finished with 13 points and 11 boards.
“They both played big, which I felt was to our advantage,” Dimoff said. “I’m really glad to see that they stepped up.”
Wildcats get past Bulldogs: Coming off a regular season that saw the West York girls share the D-II title with rival Gettysburg, the Bulldogs were hoping to find a way past Dallastown into the semifinals.
For the second game in a row, however, the WY girls had issues scoring. After scoring 26 points Tuesday in a win vs. Kennard-Dale, the Bulldogs scored two fewer Saturday en route to a 37-24 setback.
“I just don’t think that we played as a cohesive team tonight,” West York coach James Kunkle said. “We played as too many individuals on our side, but credit Dallastown…they took it to us.”
Leading 24-20 entering the fourth quarter, the Wildcats defense held the Bulldogs to one field goal over the final eight minutes.
“Yeah, I thought our kids did a really good job defensively,” Dallastown coach Jay Rexroth said. “We tried to limit their 3s and we executed the game plan.”
The Bulldogs (19-4), who tallied 106 3-pointers as a team in the regular season, converted just one Saturday.
“Our plan was to limit their possessions,” Rexroth said. “You saw how patient our offense was. We had many possessions where we made seven, eight passes. We figured that if the score got over 45 that we weren’t probably going to win that game.”
Dallastown's Ashley Harbold led all scorers with 10 points.
Central needs a last-second shot to get past Eastern: Entering the fourth quarter tied at 31, the drama between the Knights and Panthers went down to the wire.
A 3-pointer by Mara Weaver put Eastern up by two in the final minute, but freshman CY Mackenzie Wright-Rawls tied it on the other.
After an Eastern turnover with 15 seconds left, the Panthers went ahead when Wright-Rawls scored the game-winner off an offensive rebound with 1.4 seconds left.
“It was another great effort,” Central coach Scott Wisner said. “We played with grit and resilience to hold off a talented and determined Eastern York team. Just a fantastic job.”
Wright-Rawls led all the Panthers with 13 points, while fellow freshman Bella Chimienti and senior Emily Prowell each contributed 10 points.
Weaver led all scorers with 15 points, while teammate Addison Malone chipped in 14 points for the Knights (16-7).
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