EMIGSVILLE — After starting out slow Friday night in a York-Adams League Division I showdown with Red Lion, the Central York girls’ basketball team was in no mood to have history repeat itself Monday evening.
That disappointing 46-37 loss to the Lions lit a fire underneath Coach Scott Wisner’s club.
Unfortunately for Division II-leading Susquehannock, that was bad news.
The Central team that took to the court on Monday was far from the same squad that lost to Red Lion on Friday.
The Panthers pressed the previously unbeaten visitors early and often, avoiding the 10-2 pitfall that they couldn’t recover from against Red Lion.
Slowly and surely they continued to pull away from Susquehannock. By the time the final horn sounded, there was little doubt about who the better team was on this night. The Panthers claimed a 66-43 triumph.
“That (pressure) is what we’ve been trying to do all year,” Wisner said. “Part of the disappointment Friday at Red Lion is that we did not come out with that intensity to start the game, put ourselves in a 10-2 hole and that pretty much was the game. We could never climb out of it, and you’re going to have that when you play a Red Lion team on their court.”
Monday night's effort wasn’t perfect. The Panthers actually fell behind 12-7 early in the first quarter. But an 11-0 run to end the frame, highlighted by a key 3-pointer from Sarah Sepic, was all the home team needed to get things into top gear.
Central eventually took a 10-point lead into the intermission. Behind their collective pressure — a trait that the Warriors have used a lot so far in earning a 7-0 start to the season — the Panthers were able to continue to extend the lead.
By the fourth quarter, Susquehannock coach Dave Schreiner was all but crying uncle.
“We didn’t play well,” Schreiner said. “We didn’t really run our offense. It was kind of like one pass, one dribble, one hand-off. We just were never in sync the entire game. And we didn’t handle the pressure as well as I would have hoped.”
Much of that was a credit to a young, yet-deep Panther squad that appears to be a primary contender for a long playoff run. Emma Saxton led a trio of Central players in double-figures with a game-high 18 points. Nikson Valencik added 16 more, while Sepic came off the bench to contribute 13.
Sepic’s shot from beyond the arc during that 11-0 run late in the first period seemed like it was the elixir that the Panthers needed.
“Sarah has always been a good shooter coming off the bench,” said Saxton, a junior. “We’re used to it, but we love her energy.”
“It felt great,” Sepic said. “Coming off the bench I knew I had to give that burst of energy. And I was shooting the ball well and felt great. And it’s great to have teammates like Emma, who will pick me up and tell me to keep shooting.”
Saxton didn’t need to do any of that Monday, as the Panthers ended their pre-Christmas schedule with a tidy 7-1 record.
Schreiner, on the other hand, will have to get his team prepared for another big test Tuesday when his club plays host to defending league champion West York. His club has been making a habit of getting off to slow starts recently, with early deficits against York Suburban and Eastern York within the past seven days.
Both the Warriors (5-0) and Bulldogs (4-0) are unbeaten in the division, so the winner of Tuesday’s clash will get a big leg up heading into the new year.
“We don’t want to let this game get us going in the wrong direction,” Schreiner said. “I told the girls after the game that I’m the one that has to figure out how to fix it. They just need to go home and re-evaluate how they played and be ready to get back at it (Tuesday). Unfortunately there’s no practice time, so it’s right back to West York (Tuesday).”
The Warriors were led by the duo of Tyler Williams and Ashley Stone, who each scored 12 points in the setback.
Dover 49, Chambersburg 44: At Chambersburg, Alaina Reaver led the Eagles to the non-league victory by scoring a team-high 20 points, including five from behind the arc. Teammate Rajah Fink knocked in 14 points. The Eagles outscored the Trojans 21-7 in the second quarter to secure the victory.
York High 55, Cedar Cliff 53: At York, the Bearcats erased a two-point deficit after three quarters, outscoring the Lady Colts 16-12 in the final frame to grab the home victory. Y-A League second-leading scorer Chyna Steele had a game-high 22 points for York High. Jasmine Beistline was the only other Bearcat to hit double digits, posting a 10-point performance.
Littlestown 43, York Country Day 20: At Littlestown, Aley Abate scored 11 points to lead the Lady Bolts to the non-league win. Kirstin Evans and Steph Waltersdorff each had eight points for YCD.
Dover 67, New Oxford 46: At Dover, Najah Fink, who entered the night fourth in the York-Adams League in scoring at 18.6 points per game, went for a game-high 35 points, making 17 field goals. Only four other Eagles players scored, with Jerry O’Neal (14) and Keith Davis (13) hitting double figures. New Oxford got a big effort from Devon Duvall, the league’s second-leading scorer, who outperformed his 22.7 points-per-game average with a team-high 25.
Trinity 62, York Suburban 58: At Suburban, the home team gave a powerful Shamrock team a scare before falling. The Trojans led at the half, 29-25, but couldn't hold on. Trinity improved to 6-1. Suburban fell to 3-6. Donovan Mears poured in 21 points to lead Suburban, while Zach Weinstein added 13. Tim Edwards paced Trinity with 20 points, followed by Jake Vukelich (17) and Austin Gilbertson (12).
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.