Dallastown girls win York-Adams League title over Central York on buzzer-beater
SPRY — With time winding down in the final seconds of Friday night’s York-Adams League girls’ basketball championship contest at the Field House at the York County School of Technology, the ball found the hands of Dallastown senior Maggie Groh.
Known more for her skill with her feet as a soccer player, Groh proved that she isn’t half bad at her No. 2 sport. With under a second left on the clock, Groh launched a 3-pointer. Much like a perfectly placed free kick on the pitch, Groh found just the right arc on her last-second shot.
Groh jumped in the air twice before she was mobbed by her teammates and eventually most of the Dallastown student section, which stormed the court to celebrate an epic 36-33 victory for the Wildcats over rival Central York.
“I cannot even believe it,” Groh said afterward. “This is my second sport … this is for fun. If you would have told me that I would have done this for my team as a senior, I would not believe it. It’s crazy.”
Crazy is a perfect word for Dallastown’s season so far. The Wildcats (17-8) had to emerge from a quartet of Division I playoff contenders to claim a berth in the league tournament. They had to overcome a late deficit against York Catholic in the opening round before doing so again in the semifinal against Red Lion.
They had to do it once more against arguably the best team in the league this season. Trailing 31-28 after three quarters, the Dallastown defense shined in the final stanza by holding the high-scoring Panthers (21-3) to a mere two points over the final eight minutes of action.
That fourth-quarter comeback happened primarily on the back of Groh, a University of Delaware soccer recruit. She scored the final five points for her team — first on two free throws to give the Wildcats a brief 33-31 lead before making the shot that she and her teammates will never forget.
There wasn’t a lot of time for Groh to think about her shot as the clock was winding down. Much like on the soccer pitch, Groh used her ability to react in the moment as she connected on just her third 3-pointer of the entire season.
“I knew I had to shoot it,” Groh said. “I’m a pretty good shooter and I have confidence in my shot and it’s like, ‘I can’t go wrong.' If I miss it, we just go into overtime and if I make it, we win.”
Dallastown coach Jay Rexroth, who joked after Wednesday’s semifinal victory that he thought he would have had to buy a ticket to be at the league final, couldn’t have been any prouder of his team as they celebrated on the court.
“That just says a lot about these kids,” Rexroth said of the gritty run through the league tournament. “When the postseason started, we talked about, ‘Why not us?’ We actually reflected back to 2018 when we finished third (in Division I), we beat West York then we beat Red Lion and then we beat Gettysburg, so why couldn’t we do the same? And our kids bought into it and they believed that we could do this.”
That sentiment likely only existed around the Dallastown program. It was easy to believe that the winner of the Central York-Delone Catholic semifinal clash — which some referred to as the real county championship game — would easily claim the title against either Red Lion or Dallastown in the final.
That clearly was not the thinking of Central York interim head coach Sean Potts. Potts was under no illusion that Friday night would be any type of a cakewalk, and it clearly was not. And if anyone on his team thought otherwise, they were given a heavy dose of reality by the Dallastown girls.
“That’s why we need sports,” Potts said. “With a lot of things in life, you get a second chance, but you can’t redo that. You have to feel what it feels to lose like that. That’s what drives you to the next level.”
Potts hopes that is exactly what will transpire for his squad between now and its first District 3 Class 6A playoff contest next week. After being bitterly disappointed with last year's first-round county setback against eventual York-Adams champ Bermudian Springs, the Panthers regrouped in districts to eventually qualify for the PIAA draw and reach the round of 16 at states.
The last month has been anything but smooth sailing for Central York. The team has rallied behind Potts as head coach Scott Wisner recovers from an illness. But the Panthers have played inspired basketball for their coach, and they hope to make a memorable run.
“These kids have been through a lot,” Potts said. “And the way they battled … I told them before the game that you guys were already champions. You don’t have to win tonight to prove that to me. But they (Dallastown) are a really good team. Rex is a really good coach and obviously his girls played hard and we played hard and they hit a big shot.”
Mackenzie Wright-Rawls, one of four senior starters for Central York, led her team with 11 points. Bella Chimienti, who scored a quick layup after Groh’s free throws in the fourth quarter, was held to just five points in the setback.
While Groh earned most of the attention after the contest, teammate Praise Matthews proved to be indispensable all night. Matthews led all players with 12 points, half of which came in the second quarter to see the Wildcats claim a 23-18 advantage by the intermission.
- Maggie Groh 2 4-5 9
- McKenna Kelley 0 0-0 0
- Kiara McNealy 3 2-2 8
- Haley Jamison 2 1-2 7
- Praise Matthews 4 3-5 12
- Ava Jamison 0 0-0 0
- Totals: 11 10-14 36
Three-point field goals: Haley Jamison 2, Matthews, Groh
Central York 33
- Bella Chimienti 2 1-2 5
- Bre Painter 2 0-0 5
- Irelynd Long 0 0-0 0
- Emily Crouthamel 0 0-0 0
- Alivia McCaskell 3 0-0 6
- Mackenzie Wright-Rawls 5 1-1 11
- Jazmine Parker 2 2-2 6
- Totals: 14 4-5 33
Three-point field goals: Painter
Dallastown 13 10 5 8 — 36
Central York 10 8 13 2 — 33