Mike Gibbs had never had a game like it.

One after another, the shots fell for the Dallastown junior. And in a game the Wildcats desperately needed to win with the league and district tournaments looming, the timing couldn't have been better.

Gibbs hit six 3-pointers and finished with a game- and career-high 28 points as Dallastown held off a late Central rally to pull out a 71-64 win.

"He can shoot the ball," Dallastown head coach Mike Grassel said. "He's got confidence. We always tell him, you miss and it's the next shot. He didn't miss tonight."

Gibbs was 9-of-11 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from the foul line.

"I never felt like that before in my life," Gibbs said. "It felt pretty good, but I couldn't do it without my teammates. Central came back and that was scary, because they're a really good team."

The Panthers (9-12, 7-6 YAIAA Division I) faced a 19-point deficit to start the fourth quarter but closed within 68-64 with 27 seconds to play. They wouldn't get any closer, though, as the Wildcats converted 3-of-4 foul shots to close out the game.

"We don't like to make it easy," Grassel said. "They like to give me gray hair."

The story from the foul line was also one to note, as Dallastown knocked down 21-of-30 attempts compared to Central's 2-for-3 showing.

"We just kept attacking the rim," Grassel said. "We can shoot the basketball, but we don't want to rely on that outside shot. I thought our guys did a nice job of attacking the rim and not settling."

Dallastown's Ethan Sutton and Ben Doorn did most of their damage from the foul line. Sutton scored 18 points, eight of which came from the foul line. Nine of Doorn's 11 points came via the foul line.

With the game tied at 30 at halftime, the Wildcats (13-7, 9-4) outscored the Panthers 26-7 during the third quarter.

The Wildcats were a perfect 7-for-7 from the field during the third quarter, including four 3-pointers from Gibbs during the frame.

"It only takes one person one shot to get going -- that's how it is on the team," Gibbs said.

Grassel focused on the other side of the ball, where the Wildcats held the Panthers to just seven points in the third period on 3-of-10 shooting.

"We did well defensively in the third quarter," Grassel said.

For Panthers head coach Kevin Schieler, the third quarter was an all-too-familiar scene.

"We went really cold in the third quarter," Schieler said. "You have to give credit to their defense. We had a lot of contested shots.

"It's the third quarter that always kills us. I think for the whole season, it's the only quarter we've been outscored by our opponents."

The fourth quarter followed the lead of the rest of the game as a see-saw battle.

Central's Royce Clemens scored nine of his team-high 24 points during the fourth quarter, and teammate Darian Hampton added eight points during the final frame to finish with 16.

Central shot 9-of-14 in the first quarter, and Dallastown answered with a 6-of-8 showing from the field in the second quarter to bring the game even at halftime.

Dallastown entered the game 13th in the latest District 3 Class AAAA power rankings. The top 20 teams qualify for the district tournament.

"It was a must win," Grassel said of Friday's game.

For Central, which entered the game on the outside looking in at 24th in the district rankings, the loss was devastating.

"I think this completely eliminates us from any postseason contention," Schieler said.

 
CENTRAL YORK (64)
   Corey Hartz 5 0-0 10, Snyder 0 0-0 0, Falci 0 0-0 0, Darian Hampton 7 2-3 16, Sauers 0 0-0 0, Salter 2 0-0 4, Saxton 4 0-0 8, Royce Clemens 10 0-0 24, Gardner 1 0-0 2, Gingrich 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 2-3 64
DALLASTOWN (71)
   Mike Gibbs 9 4-4 28, Small 2 0-0 4, Valentine 0 0-0 0, Sherron 0 0-0 0, Ethan Sutton 5 8-11 18, J. Sutton 2 0-0 6, Henry 0 0-2 0, Marks 0 0-0 0, Ben Doorn 1 9-12 11, Warner 0 0-0 0, Ludwig 2 0-1 4. Totals 21 21-30 71
Central York   18  12    7  27 -- 64
Dallastown   14  16  26  15 --71
   3-point goals -- Central York 4 (Clemens 4); Dallastown 8 (Gibbs 6, J. Sutton 2).
   J.V. -- Central York 51, Dallastown 29.