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It's not much a secret that the York Suburban girls’ basketball team did not get off to the kind of start they had hoped for this season.

Coming off a campaign in which the Trojans advanced all the way to the PIAA state playoffs, coach Jess Barley and her crew were expecting to have a shot at replicating or exceeding last year’s success.

After beginning this season with a disappointing 2-4 record, it looked like things may not go that way for Suburban. Starting after the holiday break, however, the Trojans have positioned themselves to meet their goals.

Things continued to go Suburban’s way Monday evening when the Trojans played host to Spring Grove. The Trojans led by 11 points at the break, only to see the Rockets pull even in the final minute. But clutch rebounds and key free throws from Katherine Mooney were enough to help the home team stave off the Rockets, 43-39.

Barley’s squad upped its record to 11-9. The bonus points accrued by defeating a 5-A school such as Spring Grove will only help the Trojans, who are 4-A, as the season’s conclusion nears. Suburban is No. 6 in the latest District 3 4-A power ratings.

“What is nice is that we have a nucleus that has been through the postseason before,” Barley said. “They know what it’s all about. They know all the hard work that it takes to get there. And it’s the expectation here at Suburban to be in the postseason every year.”

Only 10 teams qualify for the District 3 4-A bracket. With Monday’s victory, Suburban has likely assured itself of a spot in the field. If the Trojans can maintain the No. 6 spot, they will also get a first-round bye into the quarterfinals.

It was anything but easy against a Spring Grove team that dropped to 5-14. Despite their record, the Rockets have been close in many of their losses. Monday was just more of the same.

After trailing 29-18 at the break, the visitors turned things up in the third quarter. Sparked by five points from Haley Wagman, the Rockets used a 12-2 surge in the third to pull within a point heading into the final stanza.

Things remained tight, with the Trojans leading by a basket with under a minute left. But after the home team nearly forced a turnover, Spring Grove’s Lexi Hoffman hit a short jumper with 35 seconds left to even the score.

Ali Reinecker, who led all scorers with 17 points, connected on 1 of 2 free throws with 19.1 seconds left to put the Trojans ahead. But after Reinecker missed her second attempt, the home team was able to corral the rebound. That allowed Mooney a chance to seal the game at the line, which she did. Mooney converted on 3 of 4 free throws over the final 16 seconds.

“The great thing about this team is that it’s not always pretty, but we find ways to win,” Barley said. “And what I tell the girls is that it’s all about who’s peaking at the right time. We’re a team that has handled adversity very well. And I think that we’ve worked extremely hard to hopefully win a spot in the postseason.”

While Barley was all smiles, Spring Grove coach Holly Strait had to deal with another frustrating outcome.

“We’d love to pull them out at the end,” Strait said. “We had some mental relapses. Rebounding … we work at that every day at practice. We work on boxing out and we do game-like situations and we just didn’t pull that put that part together tonight.”

Wagman and Brooklyn Naylor each scored 10 points apiece to pace the Rockets.

OTHER GIRLS'

BASKETBALL

Christian School of York 41, Harrisburg Academy 15: At Christian School of York, the Crusaders led 15-8 at the half, but pulled away in the second half to capture the victory. Nicole Shelton led the Crusaders with 18 points, including four 3-pointers. CSY is 16-3.

Susquehanna Twp. 70, York High 52: At York, the Bearcats suffered a non-league loss to drop to 2-18 on the year. No other details were reported.

Kennard-Dale 35, Bermudian Springs 20: At Fawn Grove, the home team pulled out the non-league win to move to 6-12. Bermudian fell to 4-15. No other details were reported.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

Waynesboro 83, Dover 81: At Waynesboro, the Eagles led by 11 heading into the final quarter, but were badly outscored by the Indians, 26-13, to drop the close non-league decision. Brady Bowman dropped ibn 31 points for Dover, while Elijah Sutton added 21 and Keith Davis poured in 18. Cameron Keck scored a team-high 30 to lead Waynesboro. Dover fell to 13-7 overall.

Kennard-Dale 47, Bermudian Springs 44: At York Springs, the Rams rallied from a seven-point hole to start the fourth quarter to upend the Eagles and keep their District 3 Class 4-A hopes alive. K-D outscored Bermudian Springs 19-9 in the final frame. Adam Freese led the charge for the Rams with 24 points, including 13 in the deciding frame, the only member of his team in double figures. Tony Petrosky had 20 points for the Eagles.

ICE HOCKEY

Shamrocks 7, Susquehannock 4: At York City Ice Arena, the Shamrocks used a four-goal first period to set the tone in their win over the Warriors in Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Tier 3 play. Had Susquehannock (12-4-2) won, it would've overtaken the Shamrocks for first place in the Tier 3 standings. Instead, the Warriors will settle for the No. 3 seed going into the playoffs. Ryan Myers scored twice for the Warriors, while Timothy Schwensen and Kaden Glatfelter each added a goal.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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