Red Lion girls top Penn Manor to sew up state berth; other Wednesday District 3 basketball

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Red Lion's Tatiana Virata gets through the defense of Penn Manor's Sydney Shepos, left, and Emily Riggs in a District 3 Class 6-A seventh-place game at Red Lion Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Red Lion held on to win 41-37. Bill Kalina photo

RED LION – Domination.

Execution.

Determination.

On the best of nights, a lot of high school basketball teams can check off those three boxes. Those are the nights when everyone is happy with how they played.

Come playoff time, achieving those factors are dwarfed by one other overriding concern — winning.

Sometimes coaches will complain after a win that their team didn’t play well.

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There was none of that from Red Lion girls’ basketball coach Don Dimoff Wednesday. Dimoff was just happy his team won.

Why?

Because Wednesday’s District 3 Class 6-A seventh-place clash with Penn Manor was a true win-or-go home affair for the final PIAA 6-A berth from the district. Turnovers, foul trouble, injuries, missed shots and missed free throws mattered not at all to Dimoff. The only thing he cared about was about 30 feet above his head, where the final score read: Red Lion 41, Penn Manor 37.

“We were a little disappointed with our first couple of district games,” Dimoff said of his Lions, who entered the draw as the No. 4 seed. “We felt like we could beat Cumberland Valley (in the quarterfinals) and then the other night (against Manheim Township) it didn’t work out because we just shot so poorly.

“But I’m really proud of the fact that we fought a ton of adversity and we came out on top.”

A few days after scoring just 25 points against Manheim Township, the Lions racked up 24 in the first half to carry an 11-point lead into the break.

Nothing is ever easy come playoff time and the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section I champs refused to surrender. They tallied 15 points – two more then they had in the entire first half – in the third quarter to make it a five-point Red Lion edge (33-28) after three periods.

It didn’t hurt the Comet comeback that Dimoff’s squad was forced to play without standout Riley Good for over half the contest. Good was injured in the second quarter while taking a charge in the lane.

“She is by far our best defensive player,” Dimoff said. “Not just talent-wise, but also with talking and organizing everyone. She can play in and she can play out. She’s really the heart-and-soul of our defense.”

Reserves such as Brooke Carr and Maddie Barlow, who played sparingly during the season, came off the bench to provide big minutes in the second half.

“I’m really proud of the way that they found a way to fight through all the adversity,” Dimoff said. “We made enough stops and enough foul shots to win. So, I was happy with that.”

Fouls plagued both sides in the second half. The free throw line was the place most of the scoring occurred. The Lions went to the line 18 times (but only made seven) in the second half while Penn Manor converted on 13 of 17 attempts over the final 16 minutes.

Lily Sugra led the Comets (17-11) with 17 points including seven in the fourth quarter. Grace Masser led the Lions with 11 points. It was a Masser free throw with 2.5 seconds left that sealed the triumph by extending Red Lion’s lead to four points.

Big challenge looms: The Lions (19-6) will get a week off to prepare for what figures to be a monumental challenge against the (District 7) champion.

That opponent will be decided Friday when Mount Lebanon (22-1) faces Upper St. Clair at the Peterson Events Center in Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. USC (20-4) handed Mount Lebanon its only loss of the season last month.

While Dimoff’s team will surely be a decided underdog regardless of who they get, the longtime Red Lion coach isn’t fretting about it.

“I’ve been on both sides of it,” Dimoff said. “I’ve been a District 3 champion going out and playing (a low seed) and it wasn’t easy. There are only 32 teams left and we’re one of them. In order to do anything you have to be one of them and at least we’ve done that. So, we’ll go there (to Pittsburgh) and have a game plan for them and see what happens.”

OTHER GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Cedar Cliff 37, Dallastown 32: At Camp Hill, the Wildcats lost in a low-scoring District 3 Class 6-A third-place game. Praise Matthews finished with 13 points for Dallastown, while D'Shantae Edwards scored 12 points. No. 2 Dallastown fell to 21-5. No. 1 seed Cedar Cliff improved to 25-1. On Tuesday in a state 6-A first-round game, the Wildcats will take on the third-place team from District 1.

Central York 53, Manheim Township 35: At York, the Panthers rolled in a District 3 Class 6-A fifth-place contest. Bella Chimienti poured in 21 points for Central, including three 3-pointers. Mackenzie Wright-Rawls scored 12 points for the Panthers, while Karli Bacha and Emily Crouthamel each added 10. No. 5 seed Central moved to 21-6. No. 10 seed Manheim Township fell to 16-9. The Panthers will face the District 7 runner-up on Tuesday in a state 6-A first-round game.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Susquehannock 72, Lower Dauphin 70: At Hummelstown, the Warriors rallied to win the District 3 Class 5-A fifth-place game. Susquehannock's Abass Ndiaye drained the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer from NBA range for the win. Susquehannock trailed 40-32 at halftime. No. 12 seed Susquehannock improved to 17-8. No. 11 seed Lower Dauphin fell to 13-13. The Warriors advance to the state 5-A playoffs next Tuesday vs. the District 1 runner-up.

Hershey 74, West York 51: At West York, the No. 2 seed Bulldogs fell to No. 4 seed Hershey in the District 3 Class 5-A third-place game. West York’s Jaden Walker scored a team-high 14 points, including four from behind the arc, while teammate A.J. Williams scored 10 points. West York fell to 24-4. Hershey improved to 20-6. West York advances to the state 5-A playoffs next Tuesday against the District 12 runner-up.

Exeter 58, Northeastern 55: At Manchester, the Bobcats dropped the District 3 Class 5-A seventh-place contest. Northeastern led 44-41 after three quarters but couldn’t hold on. Individually for the Bobcats, Karron Mallory led the offense with 25 points, including seven from downtown. Teammate Chase Kloster scored 14 points. No. 9 seed Northeastern fell to 16-12. No. 10 seed Exeter improved to 13-13. On Tuesday in a first-round state 5-A contest, the Bobcats will take on the District 7 runner-up.

Trinity 83, Littlestown 62: At Shiremanstown, the Thunderbolts couldn’t keep up with the home team in a high-scoring District 3 Class 4-A third-place game. Jake Bosley had 21 points for Littlestown, while Christopher Meakin added 17 and Zyan Herr scored 15. No. 4 seed Littlestown fell to 19-7. No. 2 seed Trinity improved to 18-6. On Tuesday in a state 4-A playoff game, the Thunderbolts will battle the District 4 champion.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.