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FRIDAY'S BOYS' BASKETBALL: Davante Dennis powers Red Lion to showdown win vs. Dallastown

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
  • Red Lion beat Dallastown, 48-27.
  • Red Lion senior Davante Dennis scored 24 points.
  • Dallastown senior Michael Dickson scored 17 points.
Red Lion's Davante Dennis, left, aims for the basket while Dallastown's Nate Ward defends during boys' basketball action at Red Lion Area Senior High School in Red Lion, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. Red Lion would win the game 48-27. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Davante Dennis doesn’t pay attention to how many points he has when he’s on the court.

That job is handled by his mother, Robin, who will gesture toward the scoreboard if Dennis gives her a glance during the game to let her son know he’s doing something special.

During Red Lion’s game vs. Dallastown on Friday night, both Dennis and his mother were busy. The Lions’ senior standout nearly scored as many points as the entire visiting Wildcats team in a 48-27 Red Lion victory.

“I don’t ever notice it until I look to the side and see my mom,” Dennis said. “She will point to the scoreboard and I’ll look over. She’s the point counter in my family, so I’ll look at her and she will let me know.”

Dennis’ first two points came, as they often do, on a powerful slam dunk off a steal. He led his team with 24 points, a number that was common in this contest.

Red Lion entered the fourth quarter up, 24-18, after every player not named Dennis or Dallastown senior guard Michael Dickson struggled to create any offense. The Lions erupted for 24 points in the fourth quarter, tying their total from the previous three quarters to close out another York-Adams League Division I win. Red Lion improved to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the division, good for a first-place tie with Central York. Dallastown fell out of a first-place tie in the division, dropping to 4-2 in D-I and 4-3 overall.

Helping Dennis in scoring in the last quarter was Evan Watt, who added nine of his 15 points over the last eight minutes. AJ Virata and Tugg Wellsandt combined for four points after prolific performances against Central York last week, but Dennis was excited by his squad's ability to win despite an off shooting night for many of his teammates.

“As a team, we can play to whatever the defense gives us,” Dennis said. “If they want us to shoot, we’ll shoot it. If they want us to go to the basket, we’ll go to the basket. If they want to slow down, we’ll slow down. If they want to speed it up, we’ll speed it up. It’s a great feeling and I’m just glad that everybody on the team can play (well) in all facets of the game.”

Dickson scored 17 of the Wildcats’ 27 points and played every minute of the game, despite the large deficit for most of the fourth quarter. At halftime, Red Lion led 16-12 and Dickson had 10 of Dallastown’s points.

“Mike plays hard. Nobody can say any different,” Dallastown head coach Mike Grassel said. “I think if he’s not the best player in the league, he’s up there in the top three. He battled tonight. He’s not going to quit.”

Grassel was disappointed in his team’s second-half performance and said the Wildcats’ rivals just outworked his players.

Although his team is tied with Central atop the D-I standings and on pace to easily surpass any win total during his previous three years on the team, Dennis isn’t satisfied. To reach their goals, the Lions have more work to do, and another showdown with the Panthers, to prove if they can end the season with the hardware they're after. Central beat Red Lion in their first meeting, 78-75.

“We feel pretty good, but I make sure I don’t let that get to the teams’ head,” Dennis said. “We’re No. 1 (in the division), but in my four years playing in this league I have seen a lot of weird things happen, so I don’t want to let that get to my teams’ head. We’re No. 1 and we’re rolling right now, but we’re just at that point where we’re not there yet. We still gotta clean up a lot of things to be at the top level to contend for a district championship.”

Red Lion will likely have to keep winning at a strong pace just to make the District 3 Class 6-A playoffs. The Lions are No. 12 in the latest district 6-A power ratings. Only the top 12 teams in the final district power ratings will make the 6-A playoffs.

OTHER BOYS' BASKETBALL

York High 56, Spring Grove 47: At York High, Antoine Beard (16), Rashim Lee (14) and Kelvin Matthews (12) each reached double digits for York (2-7) in the York-Adams Division I contest. The Bearcats used a 32-19 first-half edge to take control. Ethan Glass scored 19 points to lead Spring Grove (0-7), while Diarmid Stewart added 12.

York Suburban 62, Susquehannock 55: At Suburban, Camden Brewer's 26 points powered the Trojans. Brewer had 20 points in the second half, helping Suburban to rally from a 24-23 halftime deficit. Aidan Hughley added 21 points for Suburban. Susquehannock got double-digit scoring efforts from Joshua Franklin (15), Dan Benna (14) and Jalen Franklin (12). Jaden Franklin reached the 1,000-point milestone for his career. First-place Suburban improved to 7-1 overall and 6-0 in York-Adams Division II. Susquehannock fell to 4-3 and 3-3.

Kennard-Dale 56, Dover 32: At Fawn Grove, Drew Dressel's 17 points powered K-D to the victory. Carter Day added 10 points for the Rams, who led 41-15 at halftime. Tanner Rohrbaugh scored 12 points for Dover. K-D improved to 7-3 overall and 4-2 in York-Adams Division II.

York Catholic 68, Biglerville 43: At Biglerville, the Forjans powered York Catholic to the easy York-Adams Division III win. Luke Forjan poured in 25 points, while John Forjan added 18. Drew Parker (12) and Eli Weigle (11) each hit double digits for Biglerville. First-place York Catholic improved to 6-1 overall and in the division.

Hanover 46, Bermudian Springs 41 (OT): At Hanover, the Nighthawks used an 8-3 overtime edge to win the low-scoring York-Adams Division III showdown. Hanover trailed 33-24 entering the fourth quarter before using a 14-5 fourth-quarter surge to force overtime. Kyle Garman's 15 points paced Hanover. Jaylen Martinez had 19 points for Bermudian, while Connor Shaw added 10. Hanover is now 4-2 overall and 4-1 in the division. Bermudian fell to 5-3 and 4-2.

Littlestown 60, York Tech 32: At Littlestown, the Thunderbolts rolled behind 22 points from sophomore Jake Bosley. Jayden Weishaar added 16 for the winners, who improved to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in York-Adams Division III. It was Littlestown's first game in 16 days after a COVID-19 pause. Bishop Banks had 11 points for Tech.

Delone Catholic 45, Fairfield 42: At McSherrystown, the Squires used an 11-2 fourth-quarter edge to erase a 40-34 deficit after three quarters. Asher Rudolph led Delone with 18 points. Nik Nordberg scored 15 points for Fairfield.

Central York 92, South Western 58: At Hanover, the Panthers got back to their high-scoring ways and ended a two-game losing skid. Central scored at least 78 points in each of its first four games, all victories, before being held to 45 and 50 in their next two games, both losses. The Panthers are now 5-2 overall and 5-1 in York-Adams Division I. They are tied for first place with Red Lion. South Western is 0-2.

— Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.