Central York's standout girls' basketball season ends with loss in District 3 6-A final

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
717-505-5403/@ydsports
  • Central York's standout girls' basketball season came to an end on Thursday night.
  • The Panthers fell to Cumberland Valley, 64-41, in the District 3 Class 6-A title game.
  • Central York finished the season at 17-4. Cumberland Valley improved to 20-1.
Central York Head Coach Scott Wisner embraces Sarah Berman as she leaves the court in the final quarter during District 3, Class 6-A girls basketball championship action at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg, Thursday, March 11, 2021. Central York would fall to Cumberland Valley 64-41. Dawn J. Sagert photo

MECHANICSBURG — Central York girls’ basketball coach Scott Wisner knew his team would have its hands full Thursday night.

A number of things would need to go right for the Panthers to win at top-seeded Cumberland Valley in the District 3 Class 6-A title game.

Unfortunately for Wisner and the Panthers, most of those things never materialized. The visitors saw their terrific season draw to a close after falling, 64-41.

“I just told them that I’m really proud to be their coach,” Wisner said after the game. “How far you get is dependent upon a number of things. It has a lot to do with matchups and it has a lot of do with how things go on certain nights.”

On Thursday, the third-seeded Panthers (17-4) needed to make a good percentage of their shots, take care of the basketball and limit the Eagles (20-1) to just one shot. None of those keys materialized, which resulted in the lopsided outcome.

Fast start for CV: CV got off to a blistering start, scoring the game’s first 14 points before Sarah Berman got the CY girls on the board with 27.2 seconds left in the opening quarter.

While the Panthers fought back valiantly, the iniitial hole was far too big to escape. CV extended its 11-point lead at the half with a dominating third stanza in which the Eagles controlled the boards while finishing on a 19-3 run to extend the advantage to 25 points.

“They certainly were firing on all cylinders,” Wisner said. “We thought that we were going to be able to contest their shooters on the perimeter, but they were knocking everything down. I think they were at the top of their game tonight.”

That was evidenced by a 5-for-5 shooting first half by CV guard Reagan Basehore. She is not normally one of the players that opponents key on, not with the Jekot sisters (Jill and Julie) and Abbie Miller and Deja Hill on the floor. Basehore’s 10 first-half points proved to be big, helping the Eagles to a 31-20 lead at the break.

Panthers show resiliency: Finding themselves down 14 late in the first quarter, the Panthers displayed a trait that made Wisner proud — resiliency. The CY girls cut the deficit to seven points (21-14) with 4:22 left in the first half after Berman knocked down her second 3-pointer of the half.

The Panthers had a chance to cut into the deficit even further, but a turnover sparked a 7-3 run for the home team that extended the lead back to double figures.

While the Jekot sisters draw a lot of attention from opposing teams, the Eagles made things tough on the CY girls by getting contributions from every player on the court. CV finished with four players — led by Jill Jekot’s 16 points — in double digits.

“It was pretty much a team effort,” said CV coach Bill Wolf, who is a New Oxford grad “We are just so balanced. We played good team basketball, shared the basketball and everyone scored. It was just a great effort.”

Hitting the end of the line: In a normal year, the silver medals that the Central girls earned Thursday would mean the Panthers would still be playing basketball next week in the state tournament. But because of the COVID-19 restrictions, only the District 3 champion will play in the PIAA bracket.

So Thursday was the final game for a trio of CY seniors: Georgia Panopoulos, Makeala Frey and Berman, who finished with a game-high 19 points.

“Sarah has just been a fantastic leader in every aspect,” Wisner said. “She’s the first one in the gym at practice. She just sets a fantastic example for the rest of the kids to follow and then goes on to the floor and just backs it up.”

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.