When his team needed him the most, Central York's Jared Wagner stepped to the forefront and helped the Panthers avoid an upset at the hands of New Oxford, 73-70, in YAIAA Division I boys' basketball action Friday night at New Oxford.
With nine seconds to go and his team behind, 70-69, Wagner missed a pair of free throws. But he pulled in the offensive rebound and scored to put Central in front by one point with five seconds to go.
"My legs were so tired late in the game," Wagner said. "I knew that the shot was short so I broke toward the rim and got it and was able to put it back."
New Oxford (4-10, 1-6) called a timeout but never had a chance to attempt a game-winning shot as Wagner stole the inbound pass and laid it in to seal the win. The bucket capped the York College commit's night at a career-high 33 points to go along with eight rebounds.
"Jared is the most competitive young man that I've ever coached," Central head coach Kevin Schieler said. "It doesn't matter what it is, he competes at everything he does. It can be basketball, soccer, video games, checking out at a grocery store. He tries to win at whatever he does."
Wagner scored six points in the final 43 seconds of the game. He also scored 11 points in the final 64 seconds of the third quarter. The senior had 21 points in the final nine minutes of the game.
"We did a great job on Wagner for most of the night," New Oxford head coach Sean Bair said. "I thought that we frustrated him at times, but he's a great, great player and he came through for his team tonight."
Central (12-1, 7-0) trailed, 49-40, late in the third quarter before Wagner went to work in the frame's final minute, including hitting back-to-back 3-pointers in the last 20 seconds of the stanza to give his team a 51-49 advantage.
New Oxford built its lead largely on the long-range shooting of John Wessel and Jordin Brown. Brown finished with six 3-pointers and Wessel hit four. Brown tied Devon Duvall for team-scoring honors with 20 points, while Wessel scored 17.
For the night, the Colonials shot 11-of-24 from beyond the arc and out-rebounded (36-29) Central. Duvall added eight boards and five assists.
"Things set up well for us to win tonight," Bair said. "It really was a perfect storm, but it just didn't happen. We had so many things go right and (Central) didn't play its best game, either. But they're one of the best teams in (District 3) and they did what they needed to do to win."
Central, which was coming off of an overtime win against William Penn Tuesday, returns to the floor against Northeastern at 8 p.m. Saturday at York College.
"Anytime we travel, we struggle, and that has to stop," Schieler said. "We lacked intensity and focus. And to New Oxford's credit, they came to play tonight. I told Coach Bair after the game that we didn't deserve to win tonight. His guys played their tails off and deserved to win this game."
Central York (73)
Batts 3 1-2 9, G. Markey 2 0-0 5, Ray 0 0-0 0, Edmonds 3 3-3 9, O'Neill 3 0-1 8, N. Markey 4 0-0 9, Jared Wagner 11 9-12 33, Sobestanovich 0 0-1 0, Czulada 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 13-19 73.
New Oxford (70)
Rudisill 0 0-0 0, Myers 0 0-0 0, Rex 0 0-0 0, Floyd 1 4-4 7, Jordin Brown 7 0-0 20, Devon Duvall 7 6-9 20, Lehman 3 0-0 6, John Wessel 5 3-3 17, Gruver 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 13-16 70.
Central York _17 _15 _19 _22 - _73
New Oxford _18 _15 _16 _21 - _70
3-point goals — CY 8 (Batts 2, O'Neill 2, Wagner 2, G. Markey, N. Markey), NO 11 (Brown 6, Wessel 4, Floyd).
JV score — Central York 61, New Oxford 43