Dallastown girls' basketball rides defense to 39-29 win over York High

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

DALLASTOWN — It was only fitting that Dallastown girls’ soccer coach Scott Austin was in the stands for Tuesday’s York-Adams League Division I opener between the Wildcats and visiting York High. A majority of the starting lineup and even some of the bench for Dallastown all played for Austin during the fall season.

When teams have an abundance of soccer players on the basketball court, the tendency is for said team to be especially solid on the defensive side of the ball. That was certainly the case for the Wildcats — as it has been ever since Jay Rexroth took over the program years ago — and it definitely gave the Bearcats some fits throughout Tuesday’s clash.

The biggest instance came in the fourth quarter, when the York High girls were held without a single point until just 75 seconds remained in the contest. And while Dallastown’s offense was no juggernaut, that stretch allowed the Wildcats to go on a 10-0 run and separate from the visitors on their way to a 39-29 victory.

York High vs. Dallastown during girls’ basketball action at Dallastown Area High School in York Township, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. Dallastown would win the game 39-29. Dawn J. Sagert photo

By the time the final horn sounded, the Dallastown girls (3-2, 1-0) were pleased to earn their first division win of the season.

“I think we played really good defense,” Dallastown’s Haley Jamison said. “We held them to just 10 points in the first half, but we struggled to get our offense going.”

Jamison was a big part of the 10-0 run in the final stanza that turned a 23-22 advantage into a more comfortable 33-22 cushion. Jamsion, who finished with a game-high 16 points, poured in 14 of her tally in the second half, including a 3-pointer and three free throws during the run.

“Once we started to get some shots to fall, we started to stay together as a team,” Jamison said. “Our defense is really where our offense stems from, and I think we played really good defense the whole time.”

Dallastown was able to get some easy points on outlet passes where a Wildcat player was able to get behind the York High defense for a scoring chance. Converting all of those opportunities, however, wasn’t as simple, as the Bearcats' Zykira McGee raced down the court several times to either knock the ball loose or contest layups.

“She’s a gifted kid,” Bearcats coach Kevin Glover said. “And she does hustle. She’s got a lot of really good attributes (that you like as a coach), but you still have to build on that consistency.”

York High’s Zykira McGee, right, works to get past Dallastown’s Kiara McNealy during girls’ basketball action at Dallastown Area High School in York Township, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. Dallastown would win the game 39-29. Dawn J. Sagert photo

McGee led York High (3-1, 0-1) with 12 points on the night, although most of those points were of the hard-fought variety. Teammate Ciarra Gibbs finished with 11 points, but the Bearcats struggled to find scoring from the rest of the cast against a stout Dallastown defense.

“Dallastown is a really good defensive team,” Glover said. “They’re going to make you work and they’re going to try to keep you pinned in. That’s the game that I expected it to be and it was a tough battle, a low-scoring game, but for the majority of the game we were right there.”

Neither side can breathe much of a sigh of relief, as both teams are in a four-team gauntlet that opens the Division I schedule. Central York and Red Lion, who fell to the Panthers 43-32 Tuesday, are the other two teams, with all four facing each other over the first three games of the division schedule.

The Wildcats will travel to unbeaten Central York on Friday, while the Bearcats will host Red Lion that same night.

“We have a quick turnaround,” Glover said. “We have Red Lion on Friday and then Central next (Tuesday). That said, it’s going to be a long season, but I like our chances to compete.”