SPRING GROVE — Surely, one or two big questions would be answered on Tuesday night in Papertown, right?
After all, Red Lion and Spring Grove were squaring off for the first time this season in a battle of York-Adams League Division I unbeatens.
Are the Lions, coached by the ultra-successful Don Dimoff, for real?
Is this the year that the Rockets will take home the program’s first division crown since 2011?
While those questions weren't answered definitively, a new, and bigger question, emerged: Just who is Makiah Shaw?
Well, right now, she's one of the best players in Y-A League.
The league's second-leading scorer at more than 20 points per game, Shaw again stood out on Tuesday. The RL standout scored a game-high 22 points, including 10 in the third quarter, to help the Lions cruise to an unexpectedly comfortable 45-30 triumph.
“Spring Grove is a good team,” Shaw said. “But we executed well. All we did is go out and do what we were supposed to do.”
Tall Lions a tough task for shorter Rockets: Shaw and the Lions (5-0 overall and 3-0 in D-I) made it tough on the smaller Spring Grove players right from the get-go. The Rockets (4-1 and 2-1) had little space inside of the paint to operate, which forced a slew of shots from the perimeter.
On most nights, that is a recipe for success. The Rockets are one of the better shooting teams in the league. Against the Lions, however, missed shots could not be followed up by second-chance opportunities. Shaw and fellow forward Julia Beiler grabbed seemingly every errant shot off the glass.
“Most teams we play have maybe one big, but they have two,” Spring Grove coach Troy Sowers said. “And we struggle against a side with two bigs. Those two (Shaw and Beiler) owned the glass tonight.”
Shaw a more dangerous scorer: Shaw was especially effective in scoring the ball whenever she was in a position to do so. The 6-foot forward has always been a force inside the paint, but her ability to score from outside of that area has made her even more dangerous.
“She can really knock down that 15-footer now,” Sowers said. “And she’s also just a gigantic presence inside that can clean everything up. And she can catch anywhere on the court. She’s tough.”
The Rockets aren’t especially built to handle a team such as Red Lion on most nights. With a slew of 5-8, 5-9 and 5-10 girls, girls such as Shaw and Beiler, a fellow 6-footer, pose match-up problems for Sowers’ squad.
“When we tried to double-down to take some of their size away, they made us pay,” Sowers said. “And when a team does that, it makes for a very long day.”
Lions lead division: The night was big for Shaw, not just because she had a big game personally. No, the night was great because it is the first time in her high school career that she's playing for a team that leads its division.
“It feels great,” she said. “But you know we just have to keep staying humble. We just need to keep going out and doing what we’re supposed to do.”
For Dimoff, who is fast approaching 500 career victories in his illustrious career, coaching a player such as Shaw is gratifying, because she’s one of the most selfless players he’s coached.
“You can ask her, but I know she’d tell you that winning as a team is more important,” Dimoff said in reference to Shaw’s position near the top of the scoring leaders in the league. “She just wants to win.”
Notes: Ella Kale led Spring Grove with 12 points …The Rockets managed just six points in the paint all night … Beiler, who entered the night 10 for 10 from the foul line, made 3 of 4 attempts en route to seven points … Tuesday’s win was No. 497 in Dimoff’s career.
OTHER GIRLS' BASKETBALL
Dallastown 57, New Oxford 39: At Dallastown, the Wildcats rolled to the York-Adams Division I victory. Aniya Matthews led the home team with a 13 points. Dallastown improved to 2-0 in the division and 4-2 overall.
Eastern York 44, Kennard-Dale 36: At Fawn Grove, the Golden Knights led 22-11 at the half and went on to capture the York-Adams Division II victory. Addison Malone and Mara Weaver led the Golden Knights by scoring 13 points apiece. For the Rams, Jaedyn McKeon scored 13 points, while Caroline Henning scored 10. Eastern improved to 3-0 in the division and 5-1 overall. K-D fell to 1-2 in the division and 4-2 overall.
Gettysburg 49, Northeastern 35: At Manchester, Gettysburg pulled away in the second half for the York-Adams Division II victory. Camryn Felix led the Warriors with 12 points. Teammate Cheyenne Proctor scored 10 points. For the Bobcats, Jordyn Jennings poured in 20 points. Gettysburg improved to 1-1 in the division and 4-1 overall.
Susquehannock 43, Dover 27: At Dover, Kelsey Gemmill pumped in 20 points to power the visitors to the York-Adams Division II win. The Warriors improved to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the division.
West York 51, York Suburban 47: At Suburban, the Bulldogs won a close one to improve to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in York-Adams Division I. Alayna Harris sparked West York with 20 points, while Makennah Hoffman added 14. Suburban fell to 3-2 and 1-2. Alyssa Hocker paced Suburban with 15 points, while Kiyanna Dowling added 11.
York Catholic 32, Hanover 15: At York, the Lady Irish won a defensive struggle. York Catholic's Gabby Coley scored 11 points. She was the only girl in the game to crack double digits.
Central York 44, York High 29: At York High, the Panthers improved to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in York-Adams Division I.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.