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DALLASTOWN — Sometimes having talent alone is not enough in competitive high school athletics.

While the Central York boys’ lacrosse program has never really had a shortage of talent over the years, there’s something different about this year’s squad.

“I think this year we’re more mature,” Panther coach Tom Mayne said. “I don’t know if we have more talent, but I think we have talent that has grown up.”

Evidence of that has been on display a lot over the past nine days, including Wednesday evening when Mayne’s Central squad traveled to face unbeaten Dallastown in a York-Adams League showdown.

The Panthers rallied back from a one-goal deficit early in the third quarter by scoring five unanswered goals to take the lead for good. The Wildcats tested Central’s poise in the fourth quarter by scoring three straight goals to pull within one, but the Panthers were able to hang on for a thrilling 9-8 triumph.

Central improved to 8-0 overall and 7-0 in the Y-A League, while the Wildcats fell to 5-1 overall and 5-1 in the league.

“We are really sophomore dominated with a couple of juniors and one starting senior in T.J. (Ross),” Mayne said. “We are a young team that is growing every game. And we just finished up a tough stretch of six games in like eight or nine days.”

Ross led the Panthers with three goals, which included back-to-back tallies that put his team ahead for good in the third period. It was no easy chore, however, to find the net against a stout Dallastown defense.

Ross, for one, was quick to heap praise on just how difficult it is to get open looks against the Wildcats.

“They have the best defense in the league,” he said. “And A.J. (Lentz), the guy that was guarding me, he’s just insane. It was definitely tough to get open in the fourth quarter.”

Central was able to score just one goal in the final quarter, but it was big one. After Dallastown drew within 8-7, Ryan Fahs found the back of the net with 2:14 remaining to extend the advantage to two.

That was key, since Dallastown trimmed the lead back to one after a goal from Tanner Haines with just 66 seconds left.

The Panthers looked to run out the clock after winning the ensuing face off, but a turnover gave the Wildcats a chance to tie it. With under two seconds left, Haines whipped a shot toward the goal, but it was deflected as time expired.

Having already defeated many of the league’s top-echelon squads this year, the Panthers have put themselves in position to succeed in the postseason. That is something that Ross and his teammates are looking forward to after quick exits in the league and district playoffs last year.

“We want to win the county championship so bad,” Ross said. “The captains this year — me, Alex (Kilgour), Kollin (Vaught) and Chris (Brandstedter) — all want it. They get everyone in there (to practice) at 6 a.m. months before the season started. We’re definitely working hard.”

Connor Hoch finished with two goals for the Panthers while Ethan Pickett scored three goals to lead Dallastown.

OTHER BOYS'

LACROSSE

Spring Grove 13, York Catholic 12: At York Catholic, Dylan Griffiths (five goals, one assist), Tanner Bolton (four goals, two assists) and Zeb Hollinger (two goals, four assists) each recorded six-point games for Spring Grove. Eli Doyle had a team-high three goals for York Catholic, while Matthew Cassidy, Steven Nigro, Ian Schlough and Dimitri Amalfitano each tallied two goals.

York Suburban 16, Dover 8: At Dover, Riley Purcell, Austin Sipes and Bryce Gavin each scored four goal for the Trojans. Dover got its own four-goal performance from Cole Jesmer.

Red Lion 14, Eastern York 9: At Red Lion, Trevor Rider scored four times and Sam Emig registered a hat trick for the Lions. Dominick Particelli scored four goals and Jim Kurnik scored two more for the Golden Knights. Red Lion is 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the York-Adams League. Eastern fell to 6-3 and 4-3.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Eastern York 13, Red Lion 11: At Wrightsville, the Golden Knights outscored the Lions by two in the second half to prevail in the tightly contested game. Briana Pfeiffer was unstoppable for Eastern, scoring seven goals, while Kylie Nikolaus scored four. Emily Harrington led Red Lion with four goals, while Alyssa Adams netted three and added an assist.

Dover 7, York Suburban 6: At Suburban, Paige Lantz did most of the damage for the Dover attack, scoring five of the team’s goals. Katherine Mooney and Eryn McBride each scored twice for Suburban, while Christina Cologer was the team’s leading point getter, netting a goal and tallying two assists.

Central York 12, Dallastown 9: At Central York, Abby McFerren led the Panthers by scoring three goals and adding three assists. Also for Central, Madison Kurland scored four goals, Emily Kurland had two goals and one assist and Bayleigh Keator scored two goals. For the Wildcats, Melissa Clapsaddle had three goals and one assist, while Georgia Prindle and Olivia Orendorf each scored two goals.

York Catholic 14, Spring Grove 3: At Spring Grove, Lauren China led the Irish offense with four goals. Also for the Irish, Anna Linthicum had two goals and two assists, Kayleigh Pokrivka had one goal and two assists, Amanda Burns scored two goals, Jamie Mullen had one goal and one assist and Kirsten Lake made 12 saves in goal. For the Rockets, Cassidy Patchel scored two goals.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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