The execution wasn't always precise, but the effort never faltered when Central York and Spring Grove delivered 32 minutes of intense basketball on Tuesday night.
In the end, the Panthers walked off their home court following a 53-50 York-Adams Division I victory over the Rockets.
"At points we played well, and at points, we didn't play well," Central's Jared Wagner said. "But they're a good team, and we'll take what we can get from that game. We're 3-0, that's good, and you can't complain about that."
Spring Grove, meanwhile, played its first game of the season on Tuesday night.
"We played hard, and it looked like our first game," Rockets' head coach James Brooks said. "We weren't always in sync, and we need to find scorers outside of the two."
Spring Grove's Eli Brooks led all scorers with 20 points, and teammate Darin Gordon knocked down 19. No other Rockets' player scored more than five points.
Central, meanwhile, placed four players in double figures. Nathan Markey led the way with 16 points (four 3-point baskets) while Wagner, Courtney Batts and Onterio Edwards each scored 11. Edwards was a perfect 6 for 6 at the foul line.
"The offense we play is equal opportunity," Wagner said. "Whoever is feeling it that night, whoever is open, he's going to have a good night."
Central head coach Kevin Schieler felt his team had an excellent night defensively.
"When we sat down and played half-court defense, I thought we did a really good job tonight," Schieler said. "We need to fix a few things in transition, but I was really happy with our defense."
Central's offense was hot in the first quarter when the Panthers bolted to a 20-5 lead after the opening eight minutes. Things changed dramatically in the second quarter. Spring Grove outscored Central, 21-4, to take a two-point lead to the locker room.
Wagner, one of two returning starters for Central, was forced to watch the second quarter from the bench after picking up his second foul late in the first quarter. The 6-foot senior returned to the lineup in the third quarter and connected for eight points and the Panthers outscored the Rockets, 17-10, to take a five-point advantage into the final quarter.
Wagner's steal and driving layup with 2:33 remaining in the quarter broke a 34-34 tie and put the Panthers on top for good.
Spring Grove drew within one (42-41) early in the fourth quarter, but Central connected on 9 of 12 foul shots in the last eight minutes to hold off the Rockets.
"Central played hard, and they maximized their abilities," Coach Brooks said. "It was an evenly distributed game for them, and we just couldn't focus on one person."
Northeastern 101, Susquehannock 76: At Glen Rock, the Bobcats erupted for 60 first-half points en-route to hanging triple digits on the road against the Warriors. Donovian Maxfield scored a game-high 27 points for Northeastern, while Kobi Nwandu added 20. For Susquehannock, Josh Stoneberg had a team-high 14, while Nick Tannura and Jordan McMillion each had 10.
Gettysburg 76, York Suburban 70: At Gettysburg, the Warriors outscored the Trojans 27-20 in the final quarter to erase a one-point deficit and earn the home victory. Marquise Camel and Max Lampe each scored 26 for the winners. For Suburban, Donovan Mears had a 30-point outburst, while Chey Carter added 14.
Dallastown 54, Red Lion 53: At Dallastown, the home team beat its arch-rival in a tightly-played contest, thanks to a 14-point effort from Donovan Catchings. Red Lion got 14 points each from Gary Hunt and Wyatt Tyson, and 11 points from Jason Rebuck.
Dover 60, Eastern York 56: At Wrightsville, the visiting Eagles used a fourth-quarter comeback to earn the road victory. Keith Davis led all Dover scorers with 18 points, while Chase Heath had 17. For Eastern, Broguen Nicholas had a game-high 23 points and Jared Achterberg chipped in 16.
York High 84, South Western 50: At York, four Bearcats cracked double digits as the hosts cruised. Trey Shifflet led all scorers with 20 points, while Kristopher Johnson (16), Montrel Morgan (12) and Jacquez Casiano (11) were the others with double figures. South Western got a team-high 14 points from Dhane Schmelyun.
York Catholic 70, Littlestown 55: At York Catholic, the Fighting Irish jumped out to a 26-4 lead after the opening quarter and never looked back. DeAndre Davis and Melik Martin each scored a team-high 16 points for York Catholic. Brady Topper led all scorers for the Thunderbolts, dropping 24.
West York 76, Kennard-Dale 68: The Rams' Kyle Wooldridge did all he could for K-D, scoring a game-high 40 points in the losing cause. Wooldridge was sharp from beyond the arc, draining nine 3-pointers, with five coming during a 19-point second quarter that saw the Rams take a 40-35 lead into halftime. However, Ian Lalic bailed out the Bulldogs in the second half, scoring 15 of his team-high 18 points after the break.
Red Lion Christian 52, Heritage Christian Academy 46: At Heritage, Robert Englestad led all RLC players with 14 points, while John Keenan chipped in 10. The Swordsmen improved to 3-2.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.