DALLASTOWN — It was almost a year ago that the Dallastown girls’ basketball team played a game it would like to forget.
Coach Jay Rexroth sure has.
That contest was the 2018 York-Adams League championship game at York College. It was a game in which Central York raced out to a 15-point lead before the Wildcats were able to find the scoreboard. Not surprisingly, Rexroth and his team lost by 21 points.
Wednesday evening, on their home court at Dallastown High School, the Wildcats flipped the tables on Division II runner-up Gettysburg. Rexroth’s team raced out to a 13-0 lead midway through the first quarter en route to a 41-19 triumph.
The Division I champions, who improved to 21-2, will get their chance at redemption for last year’s disappointment when they take on fellow D-I rival Spring Grove at 7 p.m. Thursday at York College. The Rockets (18-6) cashed their ticket to Thursday’s title game by virtue of a 47-34 victory over South Western in the other semifinal at Dallastown Wednesday.
“Obviously, the start of the game was huge,” Rexroth said, noting that he had already forgotten about last year’s title game vs. the Panthers. “We got off to a quick start and we made some shots. I think that defensively that we did a phenomenal job. We took (Cheyenne) Proctor away, we took (Anne) Bair away and we did a pretty good job on (Taylor) Richardson. Those are their three studs and I think we did a really good job.”
The Warriors (19-5) didn’t get on the board until Bair connected on the second of two free throws with 3:27 remaining in the first period. The Gettysburg girls were able to get the deficit down to single digits (21-12) by the intermission, but Dallastown used a 9-3 blitz to start the third quarter to stretch the lead to 30-15.
“We just did a really good job of executing the game plan,” Rexroth said. “And I’ll say this … my coaching staff did an unbelievable job of scouting them. I bet we watched eight of their games throughout the season just to make sure we knew everything they were doing. But the thing is that it doesn’t matter that I know what they’re doing, it’s having the kids absorb it.”
It certainly didn’t hurt that Rexroth got big contributions from Dallastown’s Aniya Matthews and Sam Miller. The 6-foot, 3-inch Matthews led the team with 14 points, while Miller scored eight of her 10 points in the first quarter.
By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Rexroth’s biggest decisions were when to pull his starters. He was able to get nearly all of his reserves several minutes of action while allowing his starters to rest up for Thursday’s title match with the Rockets.
That contest figures to be a favorable one for Rexroth and his team. The size of Miller and Matthews — who are both over 6-feet tall — poses a glaring mismatch against Spring Grove’s undersized, but athletic guards.
In the two match-ups during the regular season, the Wildcats won both. The first showdown, however, was very close. Dallastown clawed out a 38-36 victory in a game in which Matthews was held to just four points. In the second contest, Matthews and Miller combined for 24 points in a 50-37 triumph.
Rexroth, however, is taking nothing for granted.
“They don’t match up well with us,” Rexroth said of Spring Grove. “But we also don’t match up well with them either because Aniya now has to go and guard a perimeter person. They are all athletic and they all shoot it and can drive it. They’re just … they’re a handful.”
No Gettysburg player reached double digits in scoring. The Warriors were held to their lowest point total of the season — the previous low was 40 against Eastern York.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.