EMIGSVILLE — Central York girls’ basketball coach Scott Wisner was not happy with his team’s play in the first half against Susquehannock Thursday evening.
Trailing by five points at the intermission, Wisner felt his team lacked in two key areas over the first 16 minutes of action.
“Fight and execute,” Wisner said moments after his Panthers rallied to defeat the Warriors, 45-35, in the championship game of their own holiday tournament. “Obviously we were very disappointed with our defensive effort in the first half.”
Susquehannock pulled out to a 21-16 lead at the half. A stern lecture helped light a fire in the Panthers. That was apparent when the whistle blew to begin the second half. The hosts used a quick 6-0 run to regain the lead they would never relinquish.
The Panthers used a relentless press to regain the edge. It sometimes led to turnovers. However, even when the Warriors broke the press, they still often settled for suspect shots. To Warrior coach Dave Schreiner, who has been known to ratchet up the pressure from time to time, speeding up shot selection is just as good as a turnover for the team applying the pressure.
“Even if you get the ball and take the shot, if it’s not the shot that you should be taking, the press just worked,” he said. “And we did it with no rebounders, too.”
That was a recipe for a woeful period in which Schreiner’s club was outscored, 14-2.
“I was really pleased with how we fought and battled in the second half,” said Wisner, whose team improved to 8-1. “We were able to get into our press in the second half, which helped to create a few turnovers and we capitalized on that.”
Senior standout Emma Saxton poured in 13 of her game-high 19 points over the final two periods, which helped earn her the tournament’s Most Valuable Player Award.
“Emma does it in a lot of different ways,” Wisner said.
Saxton was fueled by the desire to make sure her team didn't repeat a bit of unhappy history for the second time in a month. The Panthers' only loss this season came in the second game of the Penn Manor Tip-off Tournament. In that loss to Lampeter-Strasburg, Saxton felt her team didn’t play with the same sort of intensity that they are known for.
“I just think that we didn’t come out (in that game) as strong as we wanted to,” she said. “So we just turned it around this time.”
Tierra Preston added 12 points for the Panthers, while Nikson Valencik chipped in another nine.
“We call them our kind of 'Big Three,'” Wisner said of Valencik, Preston and Saxton. “They’re going to do the bulk of the scoring for us and they’ve been averaging around 40 points a game combined.”
Wisner and his team will take some time to celebrate the title, but they know that some hard work is just around the corner. Tuesday evening they travel up Route 30 to take on New Oxford in a showdown of York-Adams League Division I unbeatens.
“We’re excited,” he said. “It should be a really good test to go on the road up there and see what we can do.”
Maddie Stone led the Warriors (7-3) with eight points.
York Catholic falls to Cedar Cliff: It’s been a long time since the York Catholic girls’ basketball team has lost back-to-back games. But that is exactly where the Irish are after they were defeated in the consolation contest of the Central York Holiday Tournament Thursday.
Cedar Cliff’s one-two combo of Emily Esser and Maddie Sitler combined for 32 points to lead the Colts (6-3) past the Fighting Irish, 56-37.
“They run the pick-and-roll offense better than anybody I’ve seen,” York Catholic coach Kevin Bankos said. “And they’ve very disciplined in what they do. They’re good.”
Esser knocked down three 3-pointers in route to scoring 17 points. Sitler, the inside post presence, had 15 points for the 6-A program.
Gina Citrone led the Irish (4-3) with 17 points. Kate Bauhof, who entered the night as the York-Adams League's leading scorer at 20.0 points per game, finished with just six points, all of which came in the first quarter.
Cedar Crest 42, York Suburban 26: At Suburban, Ariel Jones scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Falcons to the York Suburban Tournament title. The hosts were led nine points from Parker Faircloth-Henise. Georgia DuMars added seven points for the Trojans.
Columbia 69, Northeastern 48: At Manchester, Janeah Neal scored 18 points to lead Columbia in the first round of the Northeastern Tournament. Shanel Neal added 17 more for the victors. Kendra Meyer scored 20 points to lead Northeastern, with 14 of those coming in the fourth quarter.
Big Spring 44, Kennard-Dale 38: At Big Spring, the Rams fell in the first round at the Bulldog Tournament. Megan Halczuk led the Rams with nine points. In Friday's consolation, K-D will face James Buchanan, which lost to Carlisle in the other first-round game, 54-41.
Christian School of York 43, Fairfield 22: At Christian School of York, the Crusaders notched a win in their holiday tournament by blowing out the Green Knights. Kendis Butler had 16 points to lead CSY, while also adding six steals and four assists. Mekenzie Smith added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Crusaders.
Dover 42, Chambersburg 25: At Hanover, the Eagles advanced to the tournament final and improved to 7-1. Dover will face Hanover for the crown on Friday. The Hawkettes won their semifinal, 70-56 over Tulpehocken. No other details were reported on the Dover game.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.