Central York girls' basketball team gets back on winning track with District 3 6-A win

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
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Bella Chimienti, seen here at left in a file photo, had 18 points on Monday in Central York's win over Lebanon.
  • Central York earned a 64-58 victory over Lebanon on Monday night in girls' basketball action.
  • The victory came in the first round of the District 3 Class 6-A playoffs.
  • Bella Chimienti led Central York with 18 points. Mackenzie Wright-Rawls added 15 points for Central.

EMIGSVILLE – Things appeared in good shape when Central York girls’ basketball coach Scott Wisner was preparing his team for the District 3 Class 6-A playoffs.

Wisner saw his Panthers initially listed as the No. 4 seed in the 12-team draw. As such, the CY girls would have a bye into the quarterfinal round. Before the seeds were finalized, however, a missed computation on a nonleague contest instead vaulted Central Dauphin past the Panthers and into the No. 4 seed.

The result, while unexpected, probably ended up having a silver lining for Wisner and his squad. Instead of spending a few more days getting ready for the quarterfinals, the CY girls were instead hosting a first-round battle with a scrappy Lebanon side.

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“We probably needed to play,” Wisner said after his team beat the Cedars 64-58 Monday night. “We knew they were going to give us a game and they have some kids outside that can knock down (3-pointers).”

No. 5 seed Central improved to 19-5 with the victory, ending a two-game losing streak. The Panthers were coming off disappointing losses to rival Dallastown in the York-Adams Division I regular-season finale and an upset at the hands of eventual Y-A champ Bermudian Springs in the first round of the league tournament.

Central York has earned a clash with Central Dauphin (17-4) for a third year in a row. That contest is slated for 7 p.m. Thursday at Central Dauphin.

Bouncing back: The psyche for the CY girls entering the night was likely a step down from where it’s been all year. The Panthers were atop the D-I standings for much of the season and were only knocked off that perch with the loss to Dallastown in the regular-season finale.

“Coming off those two losses was pretty hard on us,” CY senior Bella Chimienti said. “But I think our work ethic and the work we put in practice and our coaches just made it seem like something that we were going to do. I knew we would come back strong and get this win.”

More:Bermudian Springs earns its first-ever York-Adams girls' basketball playoff title

Chimienti led a quartet of Panthers in double figures in scoring Monday with 18 points. Mackenzie Wright-Rawls, who battled inside all night long, tallied 15 points, while Marley Bond (12) and Karli Bacha (10) also helped fuel the offense.

Mackenzie Wright Rawls, seen here at right in a file photo, had 15 points on Monday in Central York's win vs. Lebanon.

“I thought we did a really good job offensively,” Wisner said. “We did a good job of attacking.”

Freshman phenom shines for Lebanon: Lebanon (15-9), a team that edged Ephrata to make the draw as the No. 12 seed, presented two primary challenges for the Panthers in sensational freshman point guard Kailah Correa as well as a pair of big post presences in Dorthie Zechman and Liliana Harrison.

Correa led all scorers with 22 points, 17 of which came in the second half when the Cedars closed to make it a two-possession contest on a handful of occasions.

“She just decides she’s going to take over,” Wisner said of Correa. “And that’s the kind of player that she is. She can and she made some really difficult shots.”

Central Dauphin up next: Zechman and Harrison combined for 14 points, using their size to take advantage of Central’s smaller girls in the post. That will also be a primary concern Thursday against a Rams side that features 6-foot 3-inch forward Caroline Shiery.

“Their size and strength will be tough,” Wisner said of CD. “And they have some good guard play, but I don’t think they’ll knock down as many outside shots as Lebanon did tonight.”

Shiery will likely be more than a little excited for Thursday’s clash personally. In CY’s district semifinal victory a year ago, Shiery suffered an ACL injury that forced her to rehab her knee all summer.

“She’s back,” Wisner said. “And she’s played pretty much all year. It’s amazing that she was able to come back as quickly as she did. It’ll be a little like tonight except she has a little bit more talent.”

Monday’s victory didn’t officially lock up a PIAA berth for the CY girls yet. They are one of the final eight teams in the draw. Only one quarterfinalist will miss out on states. District 3 is afforded seven berths in 6-A.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.