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WEDNESDAY'S GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Spring Grove holds off defending D-I champion Central York

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
  • The Spring Grove girls' basketball team earned a 52-47 victory over Central York on Wednesday night.
  • The Rockets improved to 3-0. It was the season opener for the Panthers.
  • Spring Grove returns two starters, but features four freshmen in the rotation.
Spring Grove's Addyson Wagman, left, works to get past Central York's Gia Pacheco during girls' basketball action at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Spring Grove would win the game 52-47. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Troy Sowers knew the pressure-packed games were eventually coming for his team, but he wasn’t exactly sure how his players would respond.

The Spring Grove High School girls’ basketball coach watched his team open the season with a pair of blowout wins, but he knew Wednesday night’s game vs. Central York would be the first true test of the season.

Spring Grove proved ready for the test on the home court of the reigning York-Adams  Division I champ. The Rockets jumped out to an early lead and still held an 11-point margin with one minute left in the game.

Then it was time for Sowers to see how his team — with just two returning starters and four freshmen in the rotation — would handle the intensity.

The Panthers, playing their season opener, clawed their way back and trimmed the lead to two points with 10.2 seconds remaining. The Rockets, however, survived a string of turnovers, bad fouls and poor defense to hold onto a 52-47 victory, improve to 3-0 and impress their coach.

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“This was a great experience on how we want to continue to attack the basket, even though we’re up late in the fourth quarter,” Sowers said. “We played backwards a little bit at the end, but Central is a very good basketball team, so to walk out with a win knowing we have a lot of things to tidy up, it feels good and I’m proud of the effort my girls gave.”

Strong efforts from young players: Junior guard Addyson Wagman and senior guard Ella Kale led the way for Spring Grove, as Sowers expected, with 16 and 14 points, respectively. It was the performances of a pair of underclassmen, however, that drew praise from Sowers after the game —  although he doesn’t want expectations to soar too high.

Sophomore Leah Kale and freshman Laila Campbell stepped into starting roles for the Rockets and proved to be ready for the challenge against the Panthers. Kale scored seven points and hit a pair of 3-pointers, while the 6-foot Campbell showed the versatility to bring the ball up the floor, hit an open jump shot and score around the basket.

MONDAY GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Delone wins early showdown, York Tech earns breakthrough victory

“Even though we’re young, we’re humble and hungry,” Sowers said. “We don’t want to walk out of here thinking we lit up the world. It’s Game 3 and we know we have good things ahead of us if we continue to attack our weaknesses.”

Spring Grove started off the game strong and led 14-3 with two minutes left in the first quarter. Central York answered with a run from the end of the first quarter into the middle of the second quarter to cut the deficit to one point.

Wright-Rawls leads Central: Central sophomore Mackenzie Wright-Rawls split a pair of free throws that would have tied the contest, but Ella Kale went on a personal 6-0 run with a pair of 3-pointers to pull away and help the Rockets build a lead just big enough to close out the win.

Wright-Rawls led the Panthers with 10 points, while senior Sarah Berman added eight points and sophomore Bella Chimienti chipped in seven. Chimienti and Wright-Rawls each scored four points in the final quarter to push the Panthers close to a comeback victory in the final minute.

Rockets have high ceiling: After a 3-0 start, including the road victory over the reigning champs, Sowers was excited about his team’s performance. Another tough test, however, looms Friday when Spring Grove faces Dallastown. That means Sowers' future includes late-night film, study and lots of coffee, but if that’s what it takes to help his players realize their potential, he doesn’t mind.

“We have a high ceiling with the pieces we have,” Sowers said. “This team has a high ceiling, but we know we have a lot to work on, and that’s a good feeling because we’re not nearly as good as we can be yet.”

OTHER GIRLS' BASKETBALL

Eastern York 44, York Suburban 25: At Suburban, the Golden Knights pulled away in the second half, outscoring the home team 27-8 to secure the Y-A D-II victory. Mara Weaver led the Golden Knights with 10 points. Teammate Breana Grim knocked in nine points. For the Trojans, Madison Perring and Brooke Sargen each scored eight points. Both teams entered the game 1-0.

Dallastown 53, Dover 21: At Dover, the Wildcats led 26-11 at the half and went on to capture the Y-A D-I victory. D'Shantae Edwards led the Wildcats (2-1) with 16 points. Teammate Olivia Stein knocked in 10 points.  

West York 47, Susquehannock 36: At West York, the Bulldogs trailed 25-20 at halftime, but used a 27-11 second-half surge to capture the victory. West York improved to 2-0 both overall and in Y-A D-II. Susquehannock fell to 0-3 and 0-2. Alainna Hopta (12 points) and T’Azjah Generett (11 points) led West York. Susquehannock didn't have any double-digit scorers.

York Catholic 60, Wyomissing 41: At York Catholic, Drew Kile led the Irish to the nonleague victory by scoring 24 points, including three from behind the arc. Also for YC (2-1), Gabbie Tully and Samantha Bulik each scored 10 points. The Irish shot 15 for 20 from the charity stripe. 

Delone Catholic 52, Hanover 14: At Hanover, the Squirettes took a commanding 21-2 lead to end the first quarter and went on to capture the Y-A D-III victory. Makenna Mummert led the Squirettes with 11 points. Teammate Giana Huddinott scored 10 points. Delone improved to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in D-III.

Biglerville 57, Littlestown 42: At Littlestown, Brylee Rodgers led the Canners to the Y-A D-III victory with 20 points. Also for Biglerville, Morgan Martin and Katie Woodson each knocked in 13 points. For the Thunderbolts, Kylah Green and Aracell Portillo each scored 14 points.

Bermudian Springs 56, Fairfield 25: At York Springs, Hannah Chenault led the Eagles to the Y-A D-III victory by scoring 15 points. Also for Bermudian, Bailey Oehmig knocked in 12 points, while Lillian Peters scored 10 points. 

Gettysburg 51, Kennard-Dale 10: At Gettysburg, the Warriors had no trouble with the Rams to improve to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in Y-A D-III. K-D fell to 0-3 and 0-2. Camryn Felix (12), Skye Shepherd (11) and Anne Bair (10) each hit double digits for the winners.

Northeastern 62, York High 34: At York, Northeastern improved to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in Y-A D-I with the victory. York  High fell to 1-1, 0-1. Jordyn Jennings had 26 points for Northeastern. Ciarra Gibbs led York High with 17 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and two blocks.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.