Tuesday evening's three-point YAIAA Division I win over an up-and-coming New Oxford team was another step in the right direction for the Central York boys' basketball squad this season.
After losing a two-point contest to Lancaster Catholic and a six-point game at Dallastown during the first three games of the season, the Panthers finally emerged with a win in a tight game. Senior Tommy O'Neill's two free throws with 1.4 seconds remaining sealed a 52-49 win over the Colonials at Central York High School.
Those two nail biters earlier this season were not against slouches either. Undefeated Lancaster Catholic is the top-ranked team in District 3 Class 4A while Dallastown was fourth in the District 3 Class 6A rankings as of Tuesday evening.
"We like to put a tough schedule in," said sixth-year Central York coach Kevin Schieler, whose team is 5-4 overall and 3-2 in YAIAA Division I. "We are really happy because (Tuesday's win) is the first time all season we had back-to-back wins. We've been saying that since last week. We need to get some sort of winning streak going here. Hopefully, we can continue it Friday (at South Western)."
A third loss came at the hands of Division I next-door-rival Northeastern, which beat Spring Grove by 16 on Tuesday to remain undefeated and No. 1 in the District 3 Class 5A rankings.
"We still have a lot of divisional games to go," Schieler said. "It's a tough division. We just have to take it one game at a time right now."
A season after winning the Division I crown, advancing through the District 3 Class 4A field to the championship game in the Giant Center against Reading and qualifying for the PIAA state tourney, Central York is still working on its new identity.
Entering Tuesday's game, the Panthers boasted five players — junior Landyn Ray, junior Garrett Markey, senior Courtney Batts, sophomore Cade Pribula and senior Niko Sobestanovich — all averaging between 7.0 and 10.9 points per game.
Third-team all-state selection Jared Wagner led last year's team with 18.8 points per game. Wagner is now at York College.
"Technically, we brought back six lettermen and two starters," Schieler said. "But we have Cade playing, who did not play varsity last year and both Garrett and Landyn played limited minutes last year. I think we had four different leading scorers in our first four games. I think it could be like that in any four- or five-game stretch this year. I think we have that many guys who are versatile."
Markey topped Central York with 14 points Tuesday while Batts scored 12 and senior Evan Czulada added 10.
"I think we've had three, maybe four different starting lineups," Schieler said. "Our sixth man has been different in most games. We talked about it after the Christmas tournament. We were 4-4 then and said we had to take a look at things. Everything is going to be game to game for us right now, based on matchups, based on who is playing well and things like that."