SPRING GROVE — The York Suburban girls’ basketball team has had to weather quite a storm over the past week.
After taking down York-Adams League Division II leader Susquehannock and Northeastern two weeks ago, the Trojans dropped three straight games to division rivals Eastern York, Dover and West York last week.
If that wasn’t enough, the Suburban girls went into the contest Monday, Jan. 29, against Division I leader Spring Grove with their coach under the weather as well.
Despite all of that, there’s no debate that playing in a rugged Division II has made all seven teams in that division much better. That includes the Trojans, who helped demonstrate that teams from D-II must be considered real contenders to capture the York-Adams League playoff title next month.
Suburban played far from flawless basketball against the Rockets, but the visitors used their poise and experience to claim an important 38-36 triumph.
The Trojans improved to 12-7 overall while handing Spring Grove just its fourth loss of the season (13-4).
“Last week was a trying week,” Suburban coach Jess Barley said. “We just kept saying that 'it’s a test. It’s either going to destroy us or make us better.' And we made sure that it made us better.”
It was unclear whether Barley would even be on the sidelines just a few hours before tip-off. The ailing Suburban coach, however, gutted it out, driving herself to the game to try to avoid spreading any germs to her team.
Reinecker shines: Suburban played unselfishly on the offensive end, sharing the basketball whenever they could. Nevertheless, it turned out to be a big night for senior Ali Reinecker, who poured in a game-high 20 points.
“It was,” Reinecker said with a smile, after being asked if it was her night. “But I think that we play really well as a team.”
Many of Reinecker’s points came off of passes from her teammates, with six of her eight made shots coming off assists. Reinecker pointed out that playing that way is really the recipe for success for the Trojans in ultra-competitive D-II.
“When I’m off, Katherine (Mooney) and Briana (Embrey-Banks) step up,” she said. “And even Kiyanna (Dowling) has stepped up as of late. We all have a team mindset. We play team defense and, on offense, it’s whoever’s night.”
The night certainly wasn’t one that that Rockets will remember fondly. The hosts got off to a sluggish start, trailing 16-5 early in the second quarter. But like they have done on a handful of occasions already this year, coach Holly Strait’s team shrugged off their offensive slump in time to keep the game close.
Strait just wishes her team wouldn’t keep making a habit of slow starts.
“Now they are known throughout the league for their defense,” she said of the Rockets. “But we just cannot start out slow like that. It just feels like we’re playing catch-up all night and we can’t do that.”
The Rockets held Suburban to two points in the second quarter, which allowed them to enter the intermission with the lead at 19-18. But the third period was similar to the first. The Trojans regained the lead, extending it to as many as 10 points before the home team rallied back.
Ella Kale helped the Rockets rally in the second quarter and the fourth period. Kale led her team with 14 points, including eight in the second. Kale also knocked down a big 3-pointer in the final minute to pull Spring Grove to within 38-36.
Strait’s team was able to force a much-needed turnover with just under 13 seconds left, but sophomore Haley Wagman was unable to get her runner in the lane to fall before Embrey-Banks secured the rebound with no time left.
Red Lion 45, Conrad Weiser 32: At Red Lion, Kayla Johnson led the winners with 12 points. Red Lion led 16-4 after the first quarter and never looked back.
Kennard-Dale 45, Bermudian Springs 43: At York Springs, Lexie Kopko poured in 17 points to lead the Rams to the non-league win. K-D improved to 11-6 overall. Bermudian fell to 8-10. K-D's 19-10 third-quarter edge proved to be the difference in the game.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.