SHILLINGTON — With under a minute remaining in Tuesday’s game, Dallastown girls' basketball coach Jay Rexroth allowed his five seniors to play together one last time.
It was an emotional time for both Rexroth, in his third season with the team, and his seniors — Lily Jamison, Sam Miller, Brielle Berry, Madi Moore and Skyler Wise. After a tremendous regular season, that culminated with a York-Adams League title and a runner-up finish at the District 3 championships, the Wildcats were nearing the end of the line.
“That’s a special group of seniors,” Rexroth said after his team dropped a 40-29 decision against Council Rock North in a PIAA Class 6-A second-round game at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School. “They all showed great senior leadership and, for me, they were all just sophomores when I took this job. So it’s a special, special group for me and it was a chance to see them go out together. They put together a really nice record. Just an amazing year.”
Through an eight-minute span that began near the end of the third quarter and stretched well into the fourth period, the Wildcats (25-4) were only able to muster four points. Despite a stout defense, the offense just wasn’t there to put the Y-A champs over the top.
“It’s always hard to see it end,” Rexroth said. “All of our kids, not just our seniors, everyone is just super tight and that’s how you get to be good. They have a remarkable chemistry both on and off the court and that’s why you’re good.”
Rexroth’s group was nearly good enough to make it to the state quarterfinals. After evening the score at 18-18 with 5:41 left in the third quarter, the Wildcats, who never led in the second half, were unable to find a way to string together a sustained offense. Instead, they saw the Indians piece together a 3-pointer here and a fastbreak layup there. Before you could blink, the CRN girls were up by six.
A couple of made shots, instead a couple of misses, and the outcome could have been different. Dallastown converted on just 12 of 32 attempts for the contest (38 percent). Those stats were hindered by a tough night from distance. The Wildcats finished just 1 of 11 on 3-point shots attempted (9 percent).
“We just didn’t shoot well,” Rexroth said. “And give them (the Indians) credit for doing that defensively. I thought that defensively we did a great job against them, but their transition game was amazing. They like to get up and down the court.”
On the occasions when the Wildcats were able to come away with points, the Indians (21-6) were looking to push the ball into the front court quickly in transition. Many times they were able to negate a Dallastown basket with one of their own.
Led by Sydney Blum’s game-high 15 points, and 11 more from Dana Bandurick, the seventh-place team from District 1 was able to keep the Wildcats at bay.
“You don’t get to win 20-something games out of District 1 without being a very good team,” Rexroth said of the suburban Philadelphia outfit. “We held them to 18 points at halftime and I thought that we would start to shoot better in the second half, but we just didn’t. We missed some shots that we normally make.”
So, with 41.4 seconds left, Rexroth was able to find the perfect time to pull his underclassman starters, such as freshman D’Shantae Edwards (team-high 12 points) and junior Aniya Matthews (seven points), in favor of senior reserves such as Berry, Moore and Wise, who all were critical in helping this year’s team achieve its success.
“I know that it stings right now, but I think that when we all look back at this, that we’ll all be proud of what we did,” Rexroth said. “I know that I’m proud of them right now. They exceeded our expectations that we had back in November. I knew we had a chance to be good, but to nearly be one of the top (eight) teams in the state is something special.”
Delone Catholic 73, Penn Cambria 64: At Lewistown, the Squirettes advanced to the PIAA Class 3-A girls' quarterfinals with a second-round win in a high-scoring affair at Mifflin County High School.
It will be Delone's first state quarterfinal appearance since 2012.
Brooke Lawyer powered Delone with a 32-point effort. Bradi Zumbrum added 13 points.
The Squirettes, the second-place team from District 3, jumped on top early and led throughout to beat the District 6 champion. Delone improved to 23-4, while Penn Cambria finished at 21-7.
In Friday's quarterfinals, the Squirettes will face District 7 champion Neshanock (25-2), which rolled to a 60-37 win over Avonworth (19-7), which was the third-place team from District 7. The site and time for Friday's game have not yet been determined.
York Catholic 42, Holy Cross 25: At Hamburg, the Lady Irish moved to the PIAA Class 2-A quarterfinals with a second-round state triumph.
York Catholic, the second-place team from District 3, improved to 20-7. Holy Cross, the District 2 champion, finished at 18-9.
Katy Rader led the Irish with 16 points. Gina Citrone added 10.
York Catholic steadily pulled away, leading 11-10 after one quarter, 17-14 at halftime and 28-19 after three quarters. York Catholic allowed just 15 points over the final three quarters.
In Friday's state quarterfinals, the Irish will face District 6 champion Bellwood Antis (24-3). Tuesday, Bellwood Antis earned a 47-45 win over District 4 champion Mount Carmel (16-11). The site and time for Friday's game have not yet been determined.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.