BASKETBALL

Central York girls' basketball thumps York Catholic to win home holiday tournament

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

EMIGSVILLE — It was inevitable that Thursday’s clash between the Central York and York Catholic girls’ basketball team would serve as a barometer for both squads in regards to their respective seasons to date.

With both teams entering the finals of the Central York Holiday Tournament unbeaten, one team was certain to get the taste of defeat in their collective mouths before the new year.

The host Panthers made sure early on that they would not be the ones entering the second half of the season with a loss.

Emily Crouthamel and Bella Chimienti combined for 17 points in the opening quarter as the Central York girls quickly took control. The Panthers never let up the rest of the way, and the entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock as Central cruised to a 57-29 victory.

Central York's Mackenzie Wright-Rawls, right, shoots during a game against Dallastown on Feb. 8. The Panthers improved to 9-0 with Thursday's victory over York Catholic.

Central improved to 10-0 on the season, the lone remaining team in the York-Adams League with an unbeaten record, while the Irish dropped to 5-1 overall.

“We’ve been practicing really hard, and I think that we’re starting to really gel together as a team,” said Chimienti, who reached the 1,000-point mark for her career in Wednesday’s victory over Susquehannock. “We know what pieces fit where and I think we’re really starting to come together. It’s just been so fun to play out here.”

Very few teams so far this season have kept things close with the Panthers, whose margin of victory is over 27 points per contest. The Irish entered the night as the No. 2 team in the York-Adams League in scoring differential behind the Panthers, but it evident early on that the Central girls are playing at a much higher level.

“I think that’s probably the difference between a 6A school and a 3A school,” Central coach Scott Wisner said. “Obviously what we’ve played has been a bit more difficult, but clearly they have played teams that they are better than to come in here 5-0 heading into the night. So, I was very glad that we started out very strong and separated the way we thought we could.”

Wisner knows not every night will go as well as it did Thursday. Central York's defense and intensity are present every night, but when the Panthers are shooting the ball well to boot, it makes life very frustrating for the opposition.

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Even on an off-shooting night (by CY standards), the Panthers were still able to control the contest throughout the night against a quality opponent.

“Obviously we’ve been playing strong in a lot of different areas,” Wisner said. “And tonight we had Scarlette Mapes, who's been sick the past two days so she didn’t get a chance to play, but we still have enough people on the bench that can help us and still keep us strong.”

The challenges to the Panthers won’t be dying down anytime soon. After running the first part of the four-team gauntlet against Division I rivals Red Lion, York High, Dallastown and York High unscathed, Wisner’s club will have to do it again next month.

The Panthers will also have a pair of showdowns with two of the best teams in District 3 coming up. Cumberland Valley (5-0, No. 4 in the District 3 Class 6A power rankings) comes next weekend, while a clash with Lancaster Catholic (7-0, No. 1 in 3A) looms at the end of the month.

“We’ll have some nice games there,” Wisner said. “It’ll be tough for us, but it’ll be a test to see if we can be as strong as we have so far this season.”

Chimienti, who led the Panthers with 16 points in the victory, isn’t worried about any letdowns from her or her teammates.

“The way last year ended has kind of fueled me a lot,” Chimienti said. “Losing and walking off the court in the first round (of the Y-A tournament) was very upsetting. So, that has made us all want to win every single championship we could get and so much more. To be able to try to get those opportunities again is what is really driving us.”

Mackenzie Wright-Rawls finished with 11 points for the Panthers, while Crouthamel and Jazmine Parker each finished with 10. Mariah Shue led the Irish with nine points in the setback.