York, PA -
A typical Dallastown boys' basketball practice includes a drill in which coach Mike Grassel puts 2 minutes on a clock. During that time, the offense must maintain possession and do nothing else.
Grassel's players found themselves needing to do just that Tuesday night at Central York.
They trailed until late in the third quarter, but once the Wildcats (8-5, 4-2 YAIAA Division I) got a lead, the Panthers (5-7, 3-2) could not recover. That was when Dallastown's patience took form and allowed it to leave with a 57-47 victory.
The Wildcats guards picked their spots, whether it was Mike Gibbs or Andrew Henry. In each of the first three quarters, one of them knocked down a basket before the buzzer. The biggest was Henry's 3 to end the third.
"It might have been a little quick, but I knew I was open so I had to put it up even though there were still 11 seconds," said Henry, referring to the time left on the clock. "I knew I could come up big. I had been hitting that shot in practice and warmups, so I took it."
Henry's 3 to end the third spurred an 11-0 Dallastown run that put it up 50-40 midway through the fourth. The basket would not have been possible, though, without Ben Doorn driving to the hoop before he found Henry open in the left corner.
Doorn, who had a pedestrian five points in the first half, scored eight in the third -- giving the Wildcats their first lead on two free throws with 3 minutes, 16 seconds left. The difference, Doorn said, in his game was a passive attack. He was not attacking the rim or cutting as hard to shake a defender, both things he did to find Henry for that 3.
Doorn finished with a game-high 16 points and was not done there.
Late in the fourth, with his team up by seven and playing a long, drawn-out possession, Doorn put back a Mitch Small miss and was fouled. The three-point play with 2:27 left gave the gym a sense of closure and Dallastown a 53-43 lead.
"We know, since we're primarily a guard team that if we have a lead and we can hold the ball, teams are going to have difficulty getting the ball from us," said Doorn, one of the taller guards at 6-foot-2. "We have five guards usually on the court, so we do the best we can to wear teams down. That's sort of our identity."
It's also where Grassel's 2-minute drill paid dividends. Even in the final minute, with the game hardly in doubt, the coach affirmed to his players to control the basketball. For the previous 31 minutes, they accomplished that and committed only 15 turnovers to Central's 21.
Sometimes, Grassel will add a sixth defender for greater difficulty in the drill. Doorn said it's reserved for higher-tempo teams. Monday was one of those practices.
"We came back on Monday and were ready to work. I think they were a little ticked off," said Grassel, whose squad came off back-to-back losses last weekend to William Penn and non-league foe Gettysburg.
"We get up seven or eight, we're looking to spread it out. We have five guards who can handle the basketball, and you're either going to have to come get it from us or send us to the free-throw line."
Jon Robertson 0 0-0 0, Ben Doorn 4 8-10 16, Mike Gibbs 2 2-4 7, Mitch Small 3 1-2 7, Ethan Sutton 3 4-5 11, Jonny Sutton 2 2-2 7, Andrew Henry 4 0-0 9, Kevin Ludwig 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 17-23 57.
CENTRAL YORK (47)
Royce Clemens 1 1-1 3, Sam Saxton 6 3-3 15, Ryan Gardner 4 0-0 9, Corey Hartz 3 0-0 6, Darian Hampton 3 4-4 10, Peter Falci 1 0-0 2, Nate Snyder 0 0-0 0, Brandon Shaffer 0 0-0 0, Nick Salter 0 0-0 0, Andrew Sauers 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 8-8 47.
Dallastown 15 8 19 15 -- 57
Central 16 10 14 7 -- 47
3-point goals -- Dallastown 4 (Gibbs, E. Sutton, J. Sutton, Henry); Central 1 (Gardner).
JV score -- Central, 62-34.