NEW OXFORD — New Oxford and Central York were each looking to make a statement heading into Tuesday evening’s clash between York-Adams League Division I unbeatens.
The Panthers were motivated by some preseason hype that presented the Colonials as the team to beat this year.
Conversely, New Oxford was just as juiced up to find out where they stood by going toe-to-toe with a Central York side that finished runner-up in the Y-A playoffs last year.
Through the first period at New Oxford High School, the answer was unclear. The home team rallied back from an eight-point deficit to even things up after eight minutes.
After that, however, it was all Central. The visitors used a 19-2 blitz to finish the second quarter and regain complete control. The Panthers never let up after that, rolling to an impressive 61-32 triumph.
Central improved to 9-1 overall and 4-0 in Division I, while the Colonials fell to 7-2 and 4-1.
“They outplayed us,” New Oxford coach James Kunkle said. “They outplayed us on the boards, they outplayed us in guard play, they outplayed us in post play … they outplayed us in every way.”
It looked like Central was going to put the game away early after racing out to a 15-7 advantage with two minutes left in the first quarter. But after Kunkle called a timeout, the Colonials responded with an 11-0 run that saw the home team take an 18-15 lead early in the second.
Just as suddenly as New Oxford collectively heated up, however, they cooled down just as fast. The Panthers’ 19-2 run was fueled in large part by the play of Panther standout Emma Saxton (eight points) and Sarah Sepic (six points).
Saxton, who finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, was a menace on both ends of the court, hitting layups and pulling down rebounds. Sepic, who is playing her way back from an ACL injury, buried a pair of 3-pointers that seemed to take the wind out of sails of the Colonials.
Those shots from Sepic were ones that Kunkle pointed out as difference makers.
“Sepic had two shots without dribbling the ball and she drilled two 3-pointers,” Kunkle said. “Then we went 0 for 6 from the free throw line and that’s a big difference. If we could have kept it a little closer it might have been a different story.”
The only good news for the home team is that they will get at least one more shot at the Panthers during the regular season. After the way things went Tuesday, however, Kunkle wasn’t about to start thinking of the rematch.
“I just need to get through the rest of the schedule first,” he said.
Making a statement against the Colonials was certainly on the minds of the Central girls. But not even they could have imagined heading home to York with a 29-point victory in tow.
"We didn’t want to be too nervous or too excited coming into this game, but we were definitely confident we were going to get a win,” Central junior Nikson Valencik said. “We really just wanted to come out and beat them. It just felt great to come out here and show them what Central York basketball can do.”
The Panthers' play in the second quarter did just that. It showed the team's potential. They rebounded, converted shots and held the Colonials to just one shot offensively on many occasions.
“I think our energy was definitely higher in the second quarter,” said Valencik, who scored 14 points. “We got out and stopped their transition better, which I think they did a great job with in the first quarter.”
Teirra Preston finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Central. Kaelyn Long led the Colonials with 10 points.
Gettysburg 64, Eastern York 57: At Wrightsville, the Warriors prevailed in a foul-plagued game that featured 71 foul shots. Gettysburg was 29 for 36 at the line (81 percent), while Eastern was 16 for 35 (46 percent). That was the difference in the game. Hannah Myers led Eastern with 31 points, but struggled at the line, going 7 for 19. Cass Arnold added 10, but she was 4 for 10 at the stripe. Sara Sanders (16), Alana Bortner (16) and Briana Crushong (13) hit double digits for Gettysburg.
Dover 44, York Suburban 30: At Suburban, Rajah Fink paced Dover with 16 points, while her sister, Rayah, and Gabrielle Coley each contributed 11. Suburban got 10 from Katherine Mooney. Dover improved to 9-1 overall and 4-1 in York-Adams Division II.
Susquehannock 45, Kennard-Dale 30: At Glen Rock, Anna Mahan scored 13 points and teammate Jayla Galbreath added 11 for the Warriors. Galbreath’s total included three baskets from beyond the arc. Megan Halczuk led K-D with 11 points. Susquehannock improved to 8-3 overall and 4-1 in York-Adams Division II.
West York 56, Northeastern 21: At West York, Alayna Harris and Catie McCarty led the winners with 12 points each. Alyssa Zorbaugh (11) and Emma Tyndall (10) also scored in double figure for the victors, who improved to 8-2 overall and 3-2 in York-Adams Division II.
Dallastown 49, South Western 43: At Hanover, Sabria Royal and Julia Sutton each had 13 points to pace Dallastown. Taylor Geiman had 24 points for South Western, including four 3-pointers.
Christian School of York 45, Mount Calvary Christian 32: At Christian School of York, Mekenzie Smith led the home team by scoring 14 points. Bailey Stauffer knocked in 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds for CSY, while Kendis Butler scored 12 points.
Red Lion 75, York High 48: At York, the visitors cruised to victory. No other details were reported.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.