Usually, high school basketball games are decided by factors such as shooting, defense and other physical attributes.
Sometimes, however, the intangibles come into play.
That certainly appeared to be the case during the York-Adams League girls' basketball playoff championship game between rivals Central York and Dallastown on Friday, Feb. 16, at York College.
The Panthers, playing in their third-straight league title tilt, were both comfortable and prepared for the environment under the bright lights on a college court.
The Wildcats, who shared the Division I title with Central, were making their first appearance in the title game in five years.
On paper, the contest figured to be close. In reality, the opposite was the case.
The Panthers cruised to a 15-0 lead early in the first quarter and things never got much better for Dallastown after that. Central scored an impressive 40-19 triumph to repeat as league champion.
“We were a bit surprised (by the score)," said Central York's Nikson Valencik, who scored a team-high 11 points. "It was just a great game overall and I loved it.”
Valencik, who clutched a piece of the net that she helped cut down after the game, was happy for not only herself, but her teammates.
“Everyone contributed equally scoring and I love to see that on the scoreboard," she said. "It was amazing to see everyone contribute equally.”
Only teammate Teirra Preston, who scored 10 points, joined Valencik in double-digits in scoring. Sam Miller paced Dallastown with seven points.
Both coaches — Central's Scott Wisner and Dallastown's Jay Rexroth — figured things would come down to their defenses. Both, however, realized that there was a lot more to it than just that.
“Classic example of a team that's been here three years in a row versus a team that it's their first time here," Rexroth said. "I thought we were very tentative and very nervous early and they played extremely well early.”
Wisner kind of had an inkling that his team was ready moments before tip-off.
“I kind of expected our defense to be really good, but again the benefit of being back here three years in a row and some of these kids having played meaningful minutes three years in a row," Wisner said. "I could just tell in the locker room that they were really loose and relaxed.”
The Panthers knocked down three of their first four shots to jump out to a 7-0 advantage. Moments later Valencik drained a 3-point shot to push the advantage to 10-0 with 4:28 left in the first quarter.
Dallastown remained scoreless until Claire Teyral made a layup just more than five minutes into the contest.
“They made their first (three) shots and they get the big lead," Rexroth said. "Once we settled down, it was hard to crawl back.”
Especially not when Central is playing defense like they have been over the past month or so. The Panthers entered the night with the third-best team defense in the Y-A League.
“The way we've been playing defense for the past month ... to get out to that lead was just a super, extra bonus," Wisner said. "But on the other side of that we earned that. We went out and, you can never go out counting on knocking down all those shots, but we executed, got the shots that we wanted.”
By intermission, the Panthers were ahead 21-10. Rexroth was hoping his team could make a dent into that come the third quarter, but his team managed to score just two points in that period.
“We needed to come out and gamble," Rexroth said. "Sometimes you'll get some steals, but eventually they're going to find the holes and that's what they did.”
Both coaches will now have to get their teams reset. The District 3 playoffs begin next week. The Wildcats will host Conestoga Valley in a first-round game Monday, Feb. 19. The Panthers have a first-round bye before entering play in the quarterfinal round Thursday, Feb. 22, against the winner of the Cedar Cliff-Central Dauphin East first-round contest.
Central York (40)
Taylor 0 0-2 0, Markel 0 0-0 0, Borsa 0 0-0 0, Valencik 3 4-4 11, Fabbri 2 0-0 6, Wagner 1 0-0 3, Sepic 3 1-2 8, S. Godfrey 0 0-0 0, Craig 0 0-0 0, Preston 4 2-2 10, Prowell 1 0-0 3. Three-point field goals: Fabbri 2, Valencik, Sepic, Prowell. Totals: 14 7-9 40.
Jones 0 0-0 0, Sutton 1 1-4 3, Teyral 1 1-3 3, Rock 0 0-0 0, Harbold 0 0-0 0, Berry 0 0-0 0, Jamison 0 3-4 3, Moore 0-0 0, Matthews 0 1-2 1, Wise 0 0-0 0, Miller 3 0-0 7. Three-point field goals: Miller. Totals: 5 8-15 19.
Central York - 15 6 8 11 - 40
Dallastown - 5 5 2 7 - 19
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.