They first met in sixth grade when Arrion Sorrell attended school in Dallastown for one year, but her friendship continued with Wildcats standout Amari Johnson even after she left the school.
Red Land's Sorrell played Tuesday night at Dallastown for the first time. A 5-foot-4 senior guard, she had never played in the district tournament — let alone won a postseason game — at Red Land.
That changed when the No. 11 Patriots upset sixth-ranked Dallastown, 64-57, in the first round of the District 3 Class AAAA girls' basketball bracket.
"I'm glad I got to share this with my teammates my senior year," Sorrell said. "To win this game is a big accomplishment for us."
Winning seasons have been rare for the program at the Lewisberry school.
Even going back to 2006, when Red Land coach Beth Holt was still in high school — and a 1,000-point scorer at Lancaster Catholic — Red Land struggled.
"The mentality is the biggest thing we've fought all season long," said Holt, who began coaching at Red Land in October. "They would walk into gyms and expect to lose games. That's not part of something I was ever raised or understood."
The Patriots (18-5), who finished third in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division behind Palmyra and Mechanicsburg, have finally overcome that mindset. Going on the road to face Dallastown (18-7), they trailed for only a brief moment in the first two minutes.
After Johnson gave the Wildcats a 4-3 lead, Red Land senior Ashley Carroll sank a 3-pointer to spark a seven-point run.
Carroll had two of Red Land's seven 3-pointers.
"I don't care how good your defense is," Dallastown coach Mary Manlove said. "That team knows how to score and put points on the board."
Not shy about taking big shots, Red Land took 27 attempts behind the arc.
Junior Rileigh Devine also hit two 3s and scored a team-high 15 points. Junior Bella Ricci added another 11 points, and senior Brittany Carroll scored 13 off the bench.
Sorrell had just four, but her contributions came at key spots: She extended a five-point lead to seven in the second quarter while drawing a foul on Katie McGowan, and then she capped a six-point run to answer Dallastown's final rally.
"We know this is a really good team and we know we can hit shots," Sorrell said. "We needed to keep them below the 60s."
The Patriots' lead grew to 12 points in the third, but Dallastown cut to within 50-45 after McGowan hustled down a steal and set up Debria Hendricks' jumper.
Hendricks scored 18 points in her final game. So did Johnson, who added game highs of 13 rebounds and seven blocks, but the efforts weren't enough.
Red Land built too big of an advantage by creating second-chance shots in the early minutes. The Patriots grabbed 12 of the game's first 15 rebounds and had six of them on the offensive end. For the game, Red Land owned a 36-28 edge on the boards.
"That kills you," Manlove said, "especially when you give them four or five extra chances."
The deficit and end result left a somber conclusion for the coach, who bit her lip and fought back tears while talking after the game.
This was the last time she would coach four of her players, including Johnson and McGowan, after they helped Dallastown to a YAIAA tournament title two years ago as sophomores.
Instead of advancing to the district quarterfinals Friday at Carlisle, it will be Red Land that gets a shot against third-ranked Central Dauphin East, which dominated Ephrata, 59-28.
Sorrell remained as ecstatic about advancing as she was last week when learning Red Land would play Dallastown. She even broke the news to Johnson, who welcomed Sorrell as a sixth grader from Maryland and kept in touch when she moved to Spring Grove and, finally, Red Land.
For Sorrell, there wasn't a better place to play her first district tournament game.
Contact Matt Goul at 771-2045.
Red Land 64, Dallastown 57
RED LAND (64)
Sorrell 2 0-1 4, Bella Ricci 3 4-6 11, Carroll 2-3 8, Alderman 3 1-1 7, Rileigh Devine 5 3-4 15, Brittany Carroll 6 0-2 13, Bell 2 1-2 6.
Totals — 23 11-19 64.
Gettle 0 2-2 2, Stough 3 2-2 8, Debria Hendricks 7 2-6 18, McGowan 1 0-0 2, Amari Johnson 7 4-6 18, Smith 2 1-1 7, Snyder 0 0-0 0, Brockway 1 0-0 2, Anders 0 0-0 0.
Totals — 21 11-17 57.
3-point goals — RL 7 (A. Carroll 2, Devine 2, Ricci, B. Carroll, Bell), Dt 4 (Hendricks 2, Smith 2).