Dallastown head coach Mike Grassel speaks after his team's thrilling 60-56, double-overtime victory against Central York on Wednesday, Jan. 17.
Cliches in sports are often repeated with good reason — they ring true.
After a sub-par start to the season, Dallastown High School boys’ basketball coach Mike Grassel let a few cliches fly of his own after his team’s 60-56, double-overtime victory against Central York on Wednesday night.
“It’s so cliche, but it’s 1-0 every day, and including practices, and that’s where we’re really buying in and nobody sees that except for us,” Grassel said. “And that’s where they’re really buying in and that’s what you guys are seeing out here in the final product.
“This was huge for our team goals tonight, but when you start 2-5 you start breaking things down into small parts, and that’s what we’re looking to do to attack.”
The victory is big for the Wildcats. It puts them right back in the hunt for a York-Adams League tournament berth. With the win, Dallastown improves to 8-5 overall. More importantly it moves the Wildcats’ Y-A Division I record to 4-4.
Dallastown now sits a half-game back of two idle teams from Wednesday in New Oxford (9-4, 4-3) and York High (7-6, 4-3). The Colonials and Bearcats are tied for third in the division, and the top three teams will make the league playoffs.
It’s also a beneficial triumph for Dallastown because the Wildcats entered Wednesday night in the 12th-and-final spot in the District 3 Class 6-A power ratings. Dallastown should see a boost there, considering the Panthers entered rated seventh.
The loss drops the Panthers to 10-5, with a 6-2 mark in Division I.
Strong interior play for a balanced Wildcats offense, combined with a cold-shooting stretch from the Panthers, saw Dallastown go on a 6-0 run to start the second overtime. That gave Dallastown a comfortable 55-49 margin.
Leading the way in the second extra session was Will Barton, who used shifty moves underneath the basket to record six of his team-high 15 points during the final four minutes.
Dallastown looked as though it might win it in regulation when Ben Ward put the Wildcats ahead 45-42 by sinking a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left.
Central’s Landyn Ray, however, hit the second of his two 3-pointers on the night, his only baskets, with 2.5 seconds left to even the score at 45-45 and send the game to its first overtime.
Ray’s shot prompted Grassel to calm his team with yet another one-at-a-time cliche of sorts.
“The message (after Ray’s shot) is we get to do this for four more minutes. In our own gym, four more minutes, what the heck,” Grassel said. “We’ll take our chances with whoever is in the gym against us. And it was next play, next play. It was nice shot by Landyn. He hit a big-time shot.”
Ward would be one of three Wildcats to finish in double digits with 13 points. Kyle Richardson was the third, scoring 11 points.
Trailing 10-9 to start the second quarter, Central looked as though it might start to run away with Wednesday’s contest, going on an 8-0 run to take a 17-10 lead. That stretch was capped with a 3-pointer from Garrett Markey.
The Wildcats, however, weren’t about to let the Panthers cruise, going on an 8-0 run of their own to retake the lead at 18-17 with 2:42 left before halftime. Another run by Central saw the Panthers take a 25-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Wildcats kept Markey off the score sheet in the second extra frame, and Central’s scoring leader would finish with a game-high 20 points.
For their part, the Panthers did a good job of slowing standout Dallastown scorers Braden Caldwell and Brandon McGlynn, holding them to seven and six points, respectively. Caldwell was held scoreless in the first half and McGlynn scored four of his during the first two quarters.
The Wildcats will look to keep the momentum going into Friday’s road showdown with division-leading Northeastern (14-0, 8-0). The Panthers will look to rebound from Wednesday’s loss when they travel to Red Lion (5-8, 3-5) on the same night.
“We’re going to attack it one at a time, tomorrow’s practice is next up. We’ll go into Northeastern, they’re a heck of team, but we’ll give them the best we can give them,” Grassel said.
Northeastern 55, Red Lion 43: At Red Lion, the visiting Bobcats allowed just one fourth-quarter point to pull away for the win and remain unbeaten. Red Lion after the first quarter (20-16) and at halftime (31-28), and trailed by just one (43-42) entering the final period, before Northeastern used a 12-1 closing surge for the win. Antonio Rizzuto led Northeastern with 17 points, while Fred Mulbah and Nate Wilson added 15 each. Red Lion's Jamel Foster led all scorers with 18 points. Northeastern improved to 14-0 overall and 8-0 in York-Adams Division I. Red Lion felll to 5-8 and 3-5.
Dover 68, West York 47: At West York, the first-place Eagles improved to 11-2 overall and 6-0 in York-Adams Division II. Keith Davis pumped in 26 points for Dover, including five 3-pointers, while Brady Bowman (17), Victor Dorm (12) and Elijah Sutton (11) also reached double digits. Dover led just 40-37 after three quarters but used a 28-10 fourth-quarter run to take control. That came after Dover scored just four third-quarter points. Andrew LaManna and Dayvon Cortez each had 16 points for West York (5-9, 3-4).
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.