TUESDAY'S GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Red Lion rallies for OT win, hands Spring Grove its 1st loss

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
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Red Lion's Makiah Shaw gets a shot off with Spring Grove's Leah Kale defending during action at Red Lion Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.  Red Lion went on to win in overtime 62-60. Bill Kalina photo

RED LION – Just about every high school girls’ basketball coach in the York-Adams League has had to deal with a bit of uncertainty this season.

Despite COVID-19 postponements and limited practices, coaches are doing their best during trying times.

The ride has been rougher than usual for longtime Red Lion coach Don Dimoff. Normally, Dimoff-coached teams are hitting their stride in mid-January.

This campaign, however, has been a little rocky for the Red Lion boss. The Lions stood at 2-2 heading into Tuesday evening’s clash with unbeaten Spring Grove.

Every opposing coach knows that a Dimoff team is going to apply a ton of defensive pressure. While the Lions offense is still finding its footing as February quickly approaches, the Lion defense shined brightly on a night when it was desperately needed.

Led by a defense that helped to create more than a dozen Spring Grove turnovers, the Lions rallied late. A layin by Makiah Shaw with 16.8 seconds left in regulation helped send the contest into overtime.

Shaw, who finished with 26 points, drew her team within a point with 9.9 seconds left in overtime on a free throw. After Shaw missed the game-tying attempt, however, teammate Julia Beiler grabbed the rebound and scored while being fouled to put the Lions on top.

Beiler converted her free-throw attempt and the Rockets were unable to get off a shot before the buzzer, sending the Lions to a thrilling and much-needed 62-60 triumph.

Red Lion improved to 3-2 overall and 3-1 in Division I, pulling within a half-game of the Rockets, who dropped to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the division.

“That’s a really good team,” Dimoff said of Spring Grove. “And we had a lot of really self-inflicted wounds where we would keep getting it to a four- or five-point game and we would turn it over or miss a shot.”

Shaw struggled at times with her scoring touch against Spring Grove freshman Laila Campbell, who led the Rockets with 19 points. When it came time to get a basket late, however, it was the Red Lion senior who came through time and time again.

“We missed a lot of shots that were relatively makeable,” Dimoff said. “And that’s kind of been our Achilles heel all season so far. We missed some shots around the hoop (last Saturday) against Central that kept making it harder and harder. But we kept grinding and grinding.”

Shaw keeps attacking: Shaw, on a more efficient shooting night, could have surpassed 40 points. The Lions' leading scorer, however, wasn’t about to give up on herself.

“I knew I just needed to keep shooting,” she said. “(Campbell) was guarding me very well, but I knew I had to attack and attack.”

That’s exactly what the Red Lion defense did in the second half, when the Rockets began to feel the pressure whenever they had the ball. Despite getting whistled for 10 team fouls in the third period alone, the Lion defense was effective in taking Spring Grove out of its rhythm.

“We have to play downhill when they try to press us like that and I felt we did an OK job with it,” Spring Grove coach Troy Sowers said. “And if we get that rebound (off the Shaw missed free throw), then we probably win the game.”

The Rockets, who led by four to eight points for much of the second half, did manage to score some easy baskets after beating the press, but they also turned the ball over at times, which aided the Red Lion comeback.

D-I race gets tighter: The loss certainly resets the Division I race. The Lions and Panthers (3-1, 3-1) are both even in the loss column with the Rockets and Dallastown (5-1, 4-1), who are tied atop the standings.

“This one is going to hurt,” Sowers said. “But I’ve been doing this for 20-something years now and I know we have to learn from this. Maybe next time we get that rebound or maybe make some more foul shots and be a little stronger with the ball to not even get into a situation like that.”

Ella Kale and Addyson Wagman tallied 14 points each for the Rockets, while Asia Eames scored 16 points for the Lions.

OTHER GIRLS' BASKETBALL

Central York 61, Northeastern 45: At Central, the Panthers improved to 3-1 both overall and in York-Adams Division I. Central has won three straight. Northeastern led 26-22 at halftime, but Central used a 39-19 second-half surge to grab the win. Sarah Berman's 18 points paced the Panthers. Mackenzie Wright-Rawls and Georgia Panopoulos added 10 points each for the winners. Northeastern got 10 points each from Jordyn Jennings and Kenzie Gross.

Susquehannock 38, New Oxford 36: At New Oxford, Kelsey Gemmill led the Warriors to the York-Adams Division II victory by scoring 17 points, including three from downtown. As a team, the Warriors went 7 for 8 from the charity stripe. Ella Billman had 14 points for New Oxford. Riley Strausbaugh added 10 points.

Hanover 58, Fairfield 18: At Hanover, the Hawkettes captured the easy York-Adams Division III victory. Cassidy Conover and Jaycie Miller each scored 16 points for Hanover. Teammate Reagan Wildasin knocked in 11 points. 

Biglerville 62, York Tech 60: At Biglerville, the Canners outscored the Spartans 23-4 in the final quarter to complete the big comeback. Katie Woolson led the Canners with 26 points. Teammate Morgan Martin knocked in 11 points. For the Spartans, Rhylin Rouse scored 26 points. Teammate Karrington Brown scored 15 points, including five from behind the arc.

Bermudian Springs 54, Littlestown 11: At York Springs, the Eagles improved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in York-Adams Division III. Bailey Oehmig's 19 points led Bermudian. Hannah Chenault added 11 points.

Dallastown 53, York High 21: At York, the Wildcats cruised to improve to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in York-Adams Division I. Bria Beverly's 15 points paced Dallastown.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com. David VanO'Linda contributed to this report.