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York College senior Katie Wagner became the 15th player in York College women's basketball history to reach 1,000 career points during Wednesday's win vs. Wesley. Wagner and head coach Betsy Witman discussed the achievement after the game. Elijah Armold, York Dispatch

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Dallastown girls’ basketball coach Jay Rexroth is known as one of the most prepared coaches throughout the entire York-Adams League.

Rexroth, however, won’t have too much studying to do about his team’s opponent in the Y-A League final on Friday, Feb. 16.

Dallastown, fresh off a convincing 52-42 victory over Division III co-champ Delone Catholic in the semifinals, will face fellow Division I rival Central York for the league title at 7 p.m. at York College's Grumbacher Center. The Panthers are the defending league champions after defeating New Oxford in the title game a season ago.

Central and Dallastown shared the D-I title this season with 10-2 marks. The Panthers earned a 51-44 triumph at Dallastown back on Dec. 12, while the Wildcats earned some revenge on Jan. 17 by claiming a 42-40 victory on Central’s home court.

Because of the familiarity of the two programs with each other, neither Rexroth nor Central coach Scott Wisner is too concerned with doing much, if any, advanced scouting ahead of the title showdown. They expect few surprises on Friday.

“Having played them, obviously, we’re very familiar with Dallastown,” Wisner said after his team’s 33-29 victory over Susquehannock in the semifinals. “They were both two really tight games and I know what to expect.”

“We know their sets and they know our stuff,” Rexroth said. “So, honestly, whoever makes shots and plays the best defense is going to win that game. We’re looking forward to it.”

 

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Priding themselves on defense: There’s a saying that defense wins championships. Both sides can point to their strong defensive play as reasons why they're playing for gold medals Friday.

While each team has been strong defensively over the year, both have progressively improved throughout the season.

Central, who is tied for third in the league in team defense at 36.0 points per game, was able to limit the Warriors to just 29 points in the semifinals — barely half of Susquehannock's season average of 49 points per game. Even more impressively, the Panthers held the D-II champs to just 12 points in the second half.

“Since Christmas, as a team, we have played defense just really well,” Wisner said. “I’m just really happy with how our kids have bought into it defensively.”

Dallastown, fifth in the league in defense, is coming off a similarly impressive effort against a Delone team that was averaging nearly 60 points per game heading into Wednesday’s semifinal. The Wildcats limited the Squirettes to 42 points while holding every Delone player under double figures.

 

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Offensive standouts: While both teams live and breathe defense, the outcome will likely hinge on shooting.

For Central, that comes down primarily to the duo of Nikson Valencik (team-best 13.6 points per game) and Teirra Preston (12.1). Valencik led her team with 18 points in December’s 51-44 victory over Dallastown, while Preston chipped in 14. In the rematch in mid-January, Valencik was limited to a season-low six points, while Preston had 10, as Dallastown claimed a 42-40 triumph.

Allison Wagner could be the X-factor for Central. While Wagner has reached double digits in scoring just five times this season, she’s led the team in four of those contests, including 13 points in the loss to Dallastown.

Sarah Sepic also could be pivotal. Sepic leads the Panthers this season with 29 made 3-point shots.

“They definitely have shooters,” Dallastown senior Julia Sutton said of the Panthers. “It’s not just (Teirra and Nikson). Every one of them plays well, but I feel that we’ll match up well with them. I’m excited for it.”

Dallastown relies heavily on the trio of Sutton, Sam Miller and Aniya Matthews to shoulder the scoring load. Sutton (team-best 13.6 points per game) was limited to eight points in the loss to Central, but bounced back with a big night by scoring a game-high 18 points in the Wildcats' victory over the Panthers.

Like Sutton, Miller had a rough night in the first game against Central, scoring just six points. The Dallastown junior, however, scored 12 in the rematch.

While Sutton and Miler struggled in the first showdown, Matthews poured in a game-high 19 points in the loss to Central. The 6-foot, 4-inch sophomore, who is averaging 10.5 points per game, was limited to four points in the second contest.

Claire Teyral and Lily Jamison could play big roles for the Wildcats. Teyral is second on the team with 24 3-pointers converted, while Jamison has shown the ability to reach double figures in scoring on any given night.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

 

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