Frustration can sometimes get the better of a lesser athlete.
However, Central York’s Jared Wagner turned a frustrating first half into a stellar second half. His third-quarter outburst led the Panthers’ boys’ basketball team to a 64-48 victory against Eastern York in a York-Adams League tournament semifinal at Red Lion.
Coach Kevin Schieler’s squad assumes the difficult task of trying to beat Spring Grove for the third time this season. The Panthers won both regular-season contests with identical 53-50 scores.
“They’re beasts on the glass, they’re very aggressive and we didn’t do a great job of that (rebounding) tonight,” Schieler said of the impending match-up. “We got to tighten some things up on that end of the floor.”
The Panthers fell in last season’s championship game to West York, but won it all in 2014. They will be seeking the program’s fifth league crown. The Rockets are looking for their fourth league title, with the last coming in 1971.
Central York is in the title game for a third straight season and takes on Spring Grove, a 59-57 winner against Northeastern in the night’s first semifinal.
After being held to just two points in the first half, Wagner went off for 12 of his game-high 20 points in the third period
The Panthers held a 26-22 lead when the senior began his scoring spree with a bank-shot triple from the corner to move the count to 29-22. His defensive acumen led to a steal, and after being fouled on the other end, he hit a free throw to move it up one more.
Wagner’s run also included a two more 3-pointers, a nice step-back jumper from the top of the key and an assist on a Courtney Batts triple. The Panthers finished the third with a 42-34 margin.
“I couldn’t make anything in the first half. And I banked in a three from the corner and I was like ‘Geez,’” Wagner said. “But I guess that started it, I guess I just needed to see one shot go in.”
The Golden Knights were able to find their successes via an inside-out game plan that featured solid under-the-basket play from Jared Achterberg and Dom Particelli.
Particelli led all Eastern York scorers with 16 points, he also grabbed five rebounds. Achterberg pulled down nine rebounds to go along with his 14 points. Both were also a physical presence down low defensively.
Central was also able to hold Eastern standout Broguen Nicholas to nine points. Nicholas had averaged 17.7 points per game coming into Thursday.
“It comes down to five guys knowing where he is at all times, trying to cut off drives, which he is very good at, and make him work hard for every shot,” Schieler said of his plan for slowing Nicholas.
The Panthers' offense was well-balanced, with Batts (11), Onterio Edmonds (11) and Nathan Markey (10) also reaching double digits.
The Golden Knights’ season will continue on Feb. 16 as the No. 4 seed in the District 3-AAA playoffs. They will play host to No. 13 Middletown.
“Now our focus is on Middletown,” Eastern coach Jon Reichard said. “We’re playing AAA, we’re the four seed and we need to act like it. I think they’ll be focused and ready to go.”
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.