DALLASTOWN — It's no secret that the Dallastown girls’ basketball team played its worst game of the year on Friday, Feb. 16.
That was the date of the York-Adams League championship game against Division I rival Central York. In that game at York College, the Wildcats started flat, falling behind 15-0, and never recovered in a 21-point loss.
Monday, Feb. 19, was a new day for Dallastown, when the fifth-seeded Wildcats hosted 12th-seeded Conestoga Valley in a District 3 Class 6-A first-round contest.
Like Friday against Central, however, the home team continued to sputter. The Wildcats scored just four points in the second quarter before eventually trailing by as many as nine points in the second half.
Coach Jay Rexroth and his team, however, finally got things together just in time.
Aniya Matthews scored on a layup with 2 minutes, 3 seconds left in the game and the Wildcats held on to claim a 35-34 victory.
Dallastown (19-7) will now advance to the quarterfinals opposite No. 4 seed Central Dauphin (14-5). The Rams, who had a bye Monday, will host that contest Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. Conestoga Valley's season ended at 11-12.
There’s no question that Monday’s triumph was anything but pretty, but Rexroth will take it.
“Survive and advance,” he said. “Survive and advance.”
Rexroth can thank his defense for making the comeback a reality. CV managed just two points over the final nine minutes, including several shots from inside the paint that could have made a big difference.
“I think our kids locked down on defense,” Rexroth said. “And that’s something we hoped would happen for four quarters, but I think that when they felt they needed to lock it down they did.”
Matthews, a 6-foot, 4–inch forward, wasn't much of a factor over the first three quarters. The sophomore, however, stepped up in the final stanza, including a couple of big rebounds and several blocks in addition to two field goals, including the game-winning basket.
“I was struggling the whole game, but I just had to keep my head in and play the whole game,” she said. “I’m glad I was able to make a big basket for my team.”
Matthews' bucket came immediately after teammate Julia Sutton (16 points) missed a shot. The Dallastown forward used her size to secure the rebound before scoring the putback.
“I thought that when we put her back (on the court) in the fourth quarter that she had a big impact on the game,” Rexroth said of Matthews. “Defensively, and she even had a couple of big buckets there that we needed, and that’s what we expect from her.”
Rexroth also expects quite a bit from Sutton. Against Central, the Dallastown standout was limited to a season-low three points. Monday, Sutton made sure that wouldn’t happen again. She buried a 3-pointer to get her team going in the first quarter.
“This was big,” Sutton said. “I definitely wanted it for the team.”
Rexroth certainly could tell that was the case, not just by his team’s reactions on the court, but also by what was written on the dry-erase board in the locker room afterward.
“They wrote: ‘Practice, Tuesday 3:15,’” Rexroth said. “And I’ve been telling them that my goal was for us to practice (Tuesday) and have a shoot around at 3:15. They want this season to continue.”
Red Lion Christian 38, Upper Bucks Christian 16: At Lebanon Christian, the Swordsmen held Upper Bucks Christian to four points at the half to secure the Keystone Christian Education Association playoff victory. Destiny Hollingshead led RLC with 20 points. RLC advances to the KCEA semifinals at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Upper Bucks Christian vs. Canaan Christian.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.