Central York senior talks about Wednesday's (Jan. 3) victory against Red Lion; and how the season is progressing for the Panthers. Elijah Armold, York Dispatch
Now that the holidays have passed, the intensity of York-Adams League basketball is sure to pick up.
From here on out, the schedule is littered with key divisional match-ups as the playoff races take shape.
One team certainly used to making postseason runs is the Central York boys’ squad. The Panthers have reached the past four league title games and have captured a pair of division titles while doing so.
Achieving either feat this season looks to be a little more difficult than in years past. The division currently sports a wealth of contenders who are hot on the heels of division-favorite and unbeaten Northeastern.
Wednesday night served as a chance for the Panthers to begin breaking the logjam behind the Bobcats.
Behind a big second-quarter effort from senior leader Garrett Markey, the Panthers (5-3, 3-1 D-I) improved their standing within the division with a 67-52 victory over visiting Red Lion (3-4, 2-2 D-I).
Trailing 11-9 to start the second quarter, Markey came out hot. He hit the Panthers’ first three baskets before teammate Cade Pribula drained a 3-pointer to punctuate a 9-2 run that saw Central take an 18-13 lead.
Central eventually took a 34-26 lead into halftime.
“It’s all about the team anyways, but it’s fun to just go out there and have fun with the crowd because everyone gets excited,” Markey said of his performance. “We’re definitely starting to come into our roles and everyone is figuring out where they fit in.”
After a quick opening quarter when the two teams were trading half-court sets and hoisting 3-point attempts at will, the Panthers put an added focus on moving the ball and getting to the rim.
Central’s style changed drastically in the second quarter, with Markey able to attack the basket at will. He would go on to hit 7 of 8 attempts from the floor, many of those layups, and collect 14 of his game-high 22 points in the quarter.
“I thought our ball movement wasn’t very good in the first quarter,” Central head coach Kevin Schieler said. “I thought we were too slow on offense, holding on to the ball too long. We eventually got some better ball movement and I think that’s what really helped.”
One bright spot for the Lions was the interior play of freshman Davante Dennis. He kept the Lions afloat early with his interior defense, blocking three shots in the first half as Red Lion took the first eight minutes.
He was also tough to handle in the low post, scoring a team-high 13 points and adding six rebounds and the three blocked shots.
Another thing the Lions did to their credit was stifling Markey in the second half. Red Lion held the Panthers’ standout to just two points and two shot attempts over the final 16 minutes of play.
However, when a successful team sees one player slowed, others emerge. For Central on Wednesday, it was junior Saa’hir Cornelius and Pribula.
Cornelius would net 15 of his 17 points after the break, including a 10-point effort in the fourth quarter to help seal the outcome. His final basket seemed to put away any hopes of a Lions comeback, as teammate Landon Ray hit a wide-open Cornelius as he cut the basket for an easy lay in to make it 60-49 late.
“Our team moves the ball really well. … We really started to figure it out (in the second quarter) and we definitely found good ways to move the ball and get me open.”
Central wasn’t the only team to see a scoring leader stalled in the second half. The Panthers held Red Lion leader Jamel Foster without a point in said half after Foster scored nine points in the opening half.
Next up for the Panthers is another chance to continue their climb with a trip to New Oxford. The Colonials, who are 7-2, sport an identical 3-1 mark in division play.
The Lions travel to York High (6-3, 3-1 D-I) that same night.
“We’re happy with tonight’s win because both us and Red Lion were tied for second in the division. It’s good to get that tiebreaker win over top of them,” Schieler said. “We’ve got another tough one on Friday, with another team that’s tied for second place in our division. So, there’s a long way to go, but so far we think things are going pretty well.”
Dover 83, New Oxford 63: At Dover, Keith Davis erupted for 30 points to lead the Eagles. Elijah Sutton added 20 points for the winners, while Victor Dorm scored 17. John Wessel scored 27 points for New Oxford and went over the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Northern York 54, West York 45: At West York, the Bulldogs led 25-23 at halftime, but got outscored 31-20 in the second half. Alex McClellan had 14 points for the Bulldogs, while Dayvon Cortez added 13. Northern's Ryan McGill led all scorers with 16 points.
Lower Dauphin 84, York Tech 54: Spry, Terrence Romey scored 18 points in a losing cause. Jahkwan Batty added 11 points for Tech, which fell to 5-3. Lower Dauphin improved to 6-2.
York Catholic 66, Camp Hill 51: At York Catholic, D'Andre Davis scored 19 points, while Robbie McNamara and Mark Shelley each scored 10 to lead the Fighting Irish to the non-league triumph.
Solanco 68, York Suburban 51: At Solanco,
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.