DALLASTOWN — When the Dallastown girls’ basketball team gets to play games, instead of practice, it’s a bit of a relief.
In games, you see, the other team is only allowed to have five players on the court at a time.
In practice, it’s a different story. Coach Jay Rexroth will sometimes put eight girls on defense in an effort to put his starters through a grind.
All of those practices clearly have paid off for the Wildcats. After dominating the field en route to winning the York-Adams League title for the first time since 2013, Rexroth’s club continued to play lights-out Thursday evening against Wilson in a District 3 Class 6-A quarterfinal contest.
Playing on their home court, the Wildcats raced out to a 13-2 lead after the first period. The visiting Bulldogs would only cut the lead to under double digits once after that and the Wildcats cruised to a 57-31 triumph.
Dallastown (23-2) moves on to the semifinals next Monday at 7 p.m. against No. 3 seeded Cedar Cliff, a 58-53 winner over Gov. Mifflin in the quarterfinals. As the No. 2 seed in the draw, the Wildcats have earned the privilege to host that contest against the Colts (18-5).
“Getting off to a good start really, really helps,” Rexroth said. “And I think that we did a really good job against them defensively.”
Senior Sam Miller, a St. Francis (Pa.) recruit, gave credit to her coach for getting the team prepared to play against high-caliber competition during practices.
“Practices are always harder than games,” said Miller, who finished with nine points in the victory. “Coach makes it tough. He sometimes puts eight people on defense and us five (starters) have to make sure we beat the press and doing things (like that). He does a really good job of preparing us.”
Defense does it again: During its three-game run to the Y-A title, the Wildcats did not allow any opponent to score more than 29 points. They nearly repeated that feat against Wilson (16-11), a team that was coming off a 53-40 triumph over Manheim Township Monday.
“It all comes down to our defense,” Miller said. “Keeping them to just 31 points (proves that). And they’re a great shooting team. You don’t make it to the quarterfinal round without being good.”
The Wildcats were able to spread the scoring wealth around. Aniya Matthews led Dallastown with 12 points, while D’Shontae Edwards and Claire Teyral each chipped in 10 points.
Scoring from the starters, however, is a bit expected. For Miller and the rest of the starting five, however, it’s not as fun as it is to watch the Dallastown bench players fill the basket.
The Wildcat starters were able to enjoy just that Thursday. Rexroth emptied his bench midway through the fourth quarter. Shortly thereafter, freshman Olivia Stein and junior Danika Moose knocked down 3-pointers that brought a roar from Miller, Matthews and the other starters from the bench.
“They work their butts off in practice,” Miller said. “And they deserve to get that playing time and when they score, it just makes it really, really amazing for us.”
York Catholic 67, Antietam 20: At York, the top-seeded Lady Irish were never threatened by fourth-seeded Antietam in a District 3 Class 2-A semifinal.
The Irish improved 18-6 overall, while Antietam's season ended at 13-9.
Sam Bulik (14), Gina Citrone (11) and Gabby Coley (10) each reached double digits in points for the winners.
York Catholic will compete in the district title game at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Hershey's Giant Center against third-seeded Linden Hall (17-3), which downed second-seeded Steel-High (17-3) in the other district 1-A semifinal on Thursday. 60-48.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.