Watch the top high school basketball plays around the YAIAA from Jan. 14-20. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
The Northeastern boys' basketball team came into Friday's game against Central York with an undefeated record. Only one victory had been decided by single digits.
And in this season's first meeting between the Bobcats and Panthers, Northeastern claimed a 17-point victory.
Friday's game couldn't have been any different.
In a game that featured 12 ties, neither team held a lead of more than four points. The back-and-forth contest in front of a sold-out crowd at Northeastern wasn't decided until the waning minutes.
With the score tied at 54 with 4 minutes to play, Central's Garrett Markey made one of two foul shots to give the Panthers a one-point lead they wouldn't relinquish. Central held on for a thrilling, 68-64 victory and handed the Bobcats their first loss of the season.
"The third quarter was different for us this time around," Central York head coach Kevin Schieler said. "They are a great second-half team, and they came out with a lot of energy, and I thought our boys did a nice job of responding."
Northeastern (17-1, 9-1 YAIAA Division I) cut the lead to 66-64 with 3.5 seconds left in regulation following Fred Mulbah's basket, but Central's Carter Luckenbaugh converted two foul shots with 2.9 seconds left to seal the win for the visitors.
"They moved the ball well all night against our man-to-man defense," Northeastern head coach Jon Eyster said. "We seemed to be stuck in quicksand for a lot of the game, and it looked like we were tired. But, give them credit, they worked hard offensively and showed a lot of patience."
Central (11-6, 6-4) used a 39-point second half to pick up its fourth straight win. The Panthers came into the game ranked No. 12 in the District 3 Class 6A power rankings. The top 12 teams make the district playoffs.
"This keeps us alive in the league tournament and that's big for us and it's just nice to put some wins together," Schieler said.
Niko Sobestanovich led the Panthers' charge in the third quarter, scoring 10 of his 14 total points during the frame.
"We got a different guy who can surprise you every night," Schieler said.
Garrett Markey led the Panthers with 18 points. Courtney Batts and Tommy O'Neill each scored 10 points.
"That's what I like about our team this year. It's hard to key in on one guy," Schieler said.
For Northeastern, who came into the game as the top ranked team in the District 3 Class 5A power rankings, Antonio Rizzuto (21 points) and Fred Mulbah (20 points) led the offensive charge.
The Bobcats held leads at halftime and after the third quarter, but they converted just 12-of-28 shots in the second half, compared to Central going 13-of-23.
"We didn't have any energy," Eyster said. "We didn't defend well. We just couldn't get into a rhythm defensively. You got to give Central credit, they just played better than we did."