DALLASTOWN — Dallastown girls’ basketball coach Jay Rexroth has been both a head and assistant coach on both the boys’ and girls’ side for many years around the York-Adams League.
If there’s one thing that Rexroth, now in his second year leading the Wildcats' girls' program, has learned, it is this — be prepared.
Rexroth and his coaching staff did some serious scouting of their opponent, Delone Catholic, before their York-Adams League semifinal showdown on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Dallastown High School.
Rexroth knew sets and plays that the Squirettes were likely to use. His team was clearly ready for most of it.
The Wildcats scored the game’s first seven points and used a big night by senior guard Julia Sutton (23 points) to cruise to a 52-42 triumph.
Dallastown (18-6) will see a familiar foe in the league title game on Friday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. at York College — the Central York Panthers. Central (19-4) shared the Division I title with the Wildcats.
The Panthers punched their ticket to the final earlier in the night after rallying past Division II champion Susquehannock, 33-29, in the first semifinal at Dallastown High School. Dallastown and Central split their two regular-season contests, with the road team claiming victory in each case.
One play in particular, when Sutton stole a pass and drove the court for a basket that was eventually scored by junior Sam Miller (15 points), highlighted Dallastown’s preparedness.
“That was all scouting report,” Rexroth said. “That’s our kids knowing the scouting report. We knew the play and we’d gone over it for the last two days at practice. We saw it coming and (Julia) read it and made the steal. That was huge.”
It was those sort of plays that made a big difference against a Delone squad that entered the night at 20-3. But as prepared as Rexroth had his girls for certain situations against Delone, the veteran coach was worried about the outside shooting ability of the Squirettes.
Delone’s Brooke Lawyer was coming off a big night in a first-round victory over Dover on Saturday, Feb. 10, when Lawyer drilled five 3-pointers. The Squirettes, however, had trouble connecting on those same shots Wednesday, especially in the second half. Delone was able to convert on just 6 of 26 second-half shot attempts.
“You worry about them making shots and they made some shots early on,” Rexroth said. “Lawyer and (Colleen) Anderson … those kids shoot the ball really well. And then they have Clabaugh inside and she is a handful.”
Delone, who leads the Y-A League in scoring offense at 59 points per game, was held in check for much of the night. No Squirette player hit double-figures in scoring, which was a clear disappointment to their coach, Gerry Eckenrode.
“We have to shoot better on offense,” Eckenrode said. “We have to execute the offense in the way it’s designed to be executed. Until we do that, we’re going to struggle.”
Dallastown had its share of issues with the Delone defense, which also entered the night as the top outfit in the Y-A League at 32.4 points per game. The Squirettes have the size — four players over or very near the 6-foot mark — as well as the overall depth that most teams covet.
It was the Wildcat defense, however, that really stood out in Rexroth’s eyes as the difference Wednesday.
“I thought tonight that we played unbelievable on defense,” he said. “And (Delone’s) a good team, and to hold them to 42 points, that’s a great job on defense.”
Dee McCormick led Delone with nine points, while Clabaugh, who picked up two fouls in the first quarter, finished with eight points.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.