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When fan look back to Saturday’s highly anticipated matchup between Northeastern and Central York, they’ll quickly see the turning point of the game was the third quarter.

After a back-and-forth first half, the Bobcats went into the locker room trailing by three. But something changed during halftime, and Northeastern quickly took the lead. They put some cushion in between themselves and their opponent on the way to a 63-58 win in the nightcap of the Donnie Swartz Memorial Classic at York College.

“I think we executed better in the second half than we did in the first half,” said Kobi Nwandu, who led the Bobcats in scoring with 19 points. “We knew what plays we’d have to run. We executed better in the second half, and we just played better defense. It got us going, it got us some easy fast break buckets, and we just extended the lead.”

Northeastern exploded for 19 points in the third quarter and held Central to just nine. The 10-point difference would be key in game’s final quarter as the Panthers kept things interesting until the end. Trying to replicate his performance from the previous night, Jared Wagner put up 12 of his 24 total points in the fourth.

Despite the effort, it wasn’t enough, and the Bobcats came away with their second win in 24 hours.

“We wanted to put some pressure on (Central) in the second half,” Northeastern head coach Jon Eyster said. “We got some great efforts out of (Fred Mulbah) to put some pressure on the basketball. And Kobi and Brandon (Coleman), and Antonio (Rizzuto) came in and gave us some good pressure, too. We were able to speed them up and get some transition buckets for us.

“And then when you have the lead you can make some mistakes, and you don’t have to play perfect… They’re a good team, and we were fortunate to come out of here with a win.”

The Grumbacher Center was packed for the battle between Central and Northeastern. The atmosphere — which included both schools’ student sections — made the game that much more fun for the payers.

“Our student section shows up to every game, but normally we don’t have a student section that is comparable,” Nwandu said. “(Central) came out big. It was energetic, and we knew we had to get the W. We were hyped coming into the game, and we showed (that) throughout the game.”

Central York (58) 

Batts 2 0-1 5, Markey 1 0-0 3, Landyn Ray 4 0-2 12, O’Neill 1 0-0 2, N. Markey 2 2-2 6, Jared Wagner 8 6-12 24, Sobestanovich 2 0-1 4, Czulada. Totals — 20 10-20 58.

Northeastern (63) 

Coleman 3 0-0 8, Donovian Maxfield 3 5-6 12, Mulbah 4 0-0 8, Reynolds 3 0-2 6, Kobi Nwandu 6 4-6 19, Antonio Rizzuto 3 3-3 10. Totals — 22 12-17 63.

Central York _ 13 _ 17 _ 9 _ 19 _ — _ 58  

Northeastern _ 16 _ 11 _ 19 _ 17 _ — _ 63 

3-point goals — NE 7 (Nwandu 3, Coleman 2, Maxfield, Rizzuto), CY 8 (Ray 4, Wagner 2, G. Markey , Batts).

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