RED LION — Thursday night was an important one for the Dallastown and Red Lion girls' basketball teams.
And not just because it was the Lions' Senior Night.
With the Wildcats clinging to the 12th-and-final District 3 Class 6-A playoff spot in the latest power rankings, and Red Lion close behind at No. 14, the winner of the rivalry showdown could position itself to extend the season a few more weeks.
Through three periods, the two sides were separated by the same distance on the scoreboard as their district ratings (two points). An injury to Page Shingler early in the final stanza, however, seemed to take the wind out of the Lions' sails.
Without Shingler, the visitors were able to stretch their two-point lead to six by the mid-point of the frame. It never got any closer. The Wildcats (12-10 overall, 10-2 York-Adams Division I) earned a 54-44 triumph behind a game-high 22 points by Sabria Royal.
The Dallastown boys also won the second game of the girls-boys doubleheader, beating Red Lion, 57-43.
The girls' victory secured Dallastown the No. 2 seed from D-I in next week's York-Adams playoffs. The Wildcats will square off against Delone Catholic, the No. 2 seed from D-III, next Friday.
“They're a really good team," Dallastown coach Jay Rexroth said of Red Lion. "They have a lot of senior leadership and they're playing on their home floor. We knew they would make a run and we had to answer their run and I thought our kids did.”
With leading-scorer Julia Sutton dogged most of the night defensively, it was nice for Rexroth to see Royal take over at key points. Royal scored 11 of her 22 points in the second period, when the Wildcats turned a 13-10 deficit into a 25-20 lead by the break.
“We talked about giving her the keys to the car tonight," Rexroth said. "And she just kind of put it in over-drive and I was really happy to see her do that.”
The game seemed to take a decided shift in Dallastown's favor early in the fourth when Shingler was hit in the face with the ball. She immediately walked off the court holding her nose, which was bleeding. By the time she was able to check back in, the Wildcats had already tripled the lead.
“When Page got hurt, that was kind of the same time that (Dallastown) adjusted a little bit," Red Lion coach Bill Novak said. "I thought that we ran good stuff tonight and that we executed it up unto the point of making the shot.”
Novak's club was unable to chip away at a deficit that reached double figures with just under three minutes left because of the lack of made baskets. So, even while the Wildcats were held in check, the Lions remained stuck in neutral.
"We just needed to make shots," Novak said.
While Dallastown's regular season is complete, the Lions still have a non-league game against Wilson Saturday. Wilson is No. 11 seed in the district rankings, so the Lions could do their rivals a favor by knocking off the Berks County power.
Amy Maciejewski, one of five seniors honored before the game, led the Lions (10-11, 6-6) with 18 points. Sabrina Stough chipped in 10 for Dallastown.
Boys' game: Knowing that their York-Adams playoff aspirations were already over, the Dallastown boys’ basketball team took out some of their frustrations on their rivals.
Playing without leading scorer Brandon McGlynn, the Wildcats responded quickly after falling behind 23-19 late in the first half. A quick 9-0 run sparked Dallastown into the lead by the break and propelled the visitors to the triumph.
“We’re disappointed to not be in the league playoffs,” Dallastown coach Mike Grassel said. “I think we’re one of the eight best teams in the league. But we still had to get this win to help us for districts and we did it a little short-handed.”
Without McGlynn, who missed school Thursday because of an illness, the Wildcats (14-7 overall, 8-6 D-I) relied more heavily on Da’Trail Albert. Albert responded by scoring a game-high 22 points. Albert scored seven of his 22 in the second quarter, many of which came during that 9-0 spurt.
“That’s what this team does,” Grassel said. “It’s a game of runs.”
Dallastown entered the night 11th in the latest District 3 6-A power ratings. Thursday’s victory should put them in solid position to claim one of the 12 berths.
Red Lion (4-19, 1-13) was led by Tyler Burkett's 13 points.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org