West York girls advance to quarterfinals
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By RYAN DIXON
For the Daily Record/Sunday News
CHAMBERSBURG -- After a nearly 90-minute long bus ride and a movie to get pumped up, the West York girls' basketball team arrived at Chambersburg High School in good spirits.
The team was loose, but didn't play the way it wanted to in the first half of their PIAA Class AAA second-round game against District 6 champion Forest Hills.
The second half, however, West York played with the swagger and intensity that has driven the program to record-breaking heights.
The Bulldogs pulled away from the Rangers over the final 16 minutes and advanced to the quarterfinal round with a 53-44 win on Wednesday night.
"The third quarter has been a weakness for us," senior Ann Deibert said. "We needed to come together and pass the ball well, rebound and make our shots so we could set the pace for the rest of the second half."
Mission accomplished for the District 3 runner-up Bulldogs, who will play on Saturday at a site and time to be determined against District 7's New Castle (22-3), who beat Indiana (22-2), 68-67.
West York (29-2) outscored the Rangers, 30-22, in the second half, and the Bulldogs opened up a double-digit lead midway through the fourth quarter.
"We didn't really change our game plan," West York head coach Jon Shultz said. "We just reinforced that we needed to go through and not fade away. We just needed to attack the basket and increase the pressure."
The Bulldogs, whose regular plan of attack is to get the ball inside to Deibert, were able to get the senior going in the second half. Deibert scored a team-high 14 points, getting 11 of those in the final 16 minutes.
The Bulldogs watched the movie "300" on the journey to Chambersburg.
"After the movie, Coach Shultz said that should make you want to go out and dominate," Deibert said, noting that she changed the movie title from "300" to "197" because 300 was too round of a number.
Defense and bench play also played a big role in the Bulldogs' victory.
During a stretch in the second quarter, the Rangers (19-7) turned the ball over on 6-of-8 possessions. That helped the Bulldogs take their first lead of the game at 23-22 on a Paige Elliott free throw with just 13 seconds to play in the first half.
Elliott finished with 12 points, including an 8-for-12 showing from the line.
In the first half, the Bulldogs bench helped keep them within striking distance of the Rangers. West York finished with contributions from eight different players.
Hannah Sweitzer scored all four of her points in the first quarter, and Olivia Manges scored six of her eight points during the second quarter.
"That's what you have to do coming off the bench," Sweitzer said. "You just have to bring everybody up."
That spark certainly wasn't lost on the five senior starters.
"That's what we need from our bench," Deibert said. "Our practices are where we get better as a team because they push us so hard."
The Rangers, who like the Bulldogs recorded their program's first state playoff win in the first round, scored 15 points from the 3-point arc. Becky Bard (14 points) and Casey Gallaher (12 points) paced Forest Hills.