DALLASTOWN — Playing their last three games without junior Ellie Glass was difficult for Spring Grove girls' basketball coach Troy Sowers and his team.
One of the team's primary ball handlers, the skill, size and experience of Glass was missing the last time the Rockets squared off against York-Adams League Division I rival South Western.
Glass, however, was back Wednesday evening when Spring Grove faced off against the Mustangs in the Y-A semifinals at Dallastown High School.
The difference was noticeable.
The 5-foot, 7-inch Glass scored a team-high 15 points to help the Rockets avenge a last-second loss against South Western last week, garnering a 47-34 triumph.
Spring Grove (18-6) will take on Dallastown at 7 p.m. Thursday at Wolf Gym in York College's Grumbacher Center in the Y-A final. Dallastown cruised in the other league semifinal over Gettysburg, 41-19.
"Ellie ... she attacks the bucket and she finishes," Sowers said. "She also draws the defense and she's our go-to girl at the foul line late in games. She really showed up and had a great game tonight."
Head injury: Glass missed those three games — a 58-56 loss to South Western, a victory against Bermudian Springs and Friday's quarterfinal triumph over Division II champion Kennard-Dale — with a head injury.
"She got hit in the head," Sowers said. "She had some headaches and had to sit out all three games."
Not surprisingly, Glass was chomping at the bit to get back on the court with her teammates.
"It felt so good to be beck," she said. "I was waiting for this moment and my teammates were all super-encouraging. It was tough to be out."
Others played their parts: While the presence of Glass helped, the rest of the Rockets played their parts as well. After falling behind 16-9 early in the second quarter, the Rockets used a 10-0 run, spurred on by a 3-pointer from Haley Wagman, to take the lead for good.
"I felt pretty good at 16-9," South Western coach Kevin Klunk said. "But then we lose two people and they hit those big 3s."
Wagman's triple came a moment before Glass knocked down another from the top of the key to get the comeback on track.
Rockets' game plan works: Klunk was more than a little disappointed by that fact that the Rocket defense limited Ali St. Rose and Madi Wisensale, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer last Monday against Spring Grove, to just five total points.
"We have to look at ourselves and see what we could have done different," Klunk said. "We did a lot of standing and watching."
Part of that was the result of the Spring Grove defense, which focused on St. Rose and Wisensale. St. Rose had 16 points in the last game while Wisensale finished with 15.
"We were going to try to make (Taylor) Geiman beat us," Sowers said. "And she had a good game (16 points), but our other assignments we played to a 'T.' Last Monday, Wisensale lit us up and so did St. Rose and we held them to (zero) and (five)."
On to the final: With Wednesday's semifinal being postponed a day, the Rockets will have precious little time to get ready for the final. Fortunately for the players, Sowers and his coaching staff are shouldering the burden of preparation.
Sowers, who coached in many Y-A title games when he was the head coach of the York High boys, had a simple message for his girls in the locker room after the game. For all of them, it will be the first time they’ve been in a championship game at the high school level.
"I've experienced this," Sowers said. "But, thank you, now we've experienced this. I told the girls to just go home and relax and we'll game plan for (Thursday) the rest of the night."
South Western fell to 16-6.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.