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Central York boys' basketball secured a 71-58 victory against Spring Grove Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. The loss denied Spring Grove the chance to win the YAIAA Division I title. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com

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The Central York boys' basketball team has shown improvement throughout the 2016-17 season. 

The Panthers continued the trend Friday night during a thorough victory at Spring Grove.

Led by five players in double figures, the Panthers pounced on the Rockets early and never let up, winning 71-58. The victory marked the eighth win in nine games for the Panthers, who are 15-7 overall and 10-4 in YAIAA Division I play.

Central entered the night already guaranteed a third-place finish in the division and a spot in next week's YAIAA tournament.

A Spring Grove win would have given the Rockets (15-5, 11-3) at least a share of a Division I title and a No. 1 seed entering the YAIAA tournament. But the Rockets' loss, coupled with Northeastern's 79-64 win over New Oxford, granted the Bobcats an outright division championship.

After Friday's win, Panthers head coach Kevin Schieler hearkened back to his team's 63-60 loss to Spring Grove on Jan. 11. Schieler said his team's offense wasn't very good that night, and since then Central has made a concerted effort to get better.

Schieler said pointed to over-dribbling as a reason for the earlier loss, and added his team's movement away from the ball has improved.

It showed Friday. The Panthers came out with good energy from the start and out-hustled, out-scrapped and out-executed the Rockets. Central York scored 20 first-quarter points and another 21 in the second. The team led, 41-28, at halftime and took a 61-47 lead after three quarters.

Garrett Markey led the way for the Panthers with 17 points while Courtney Batts added 15. Three more Panthers reached double-digits: Landyn Ray (14), Niko Sobestanovich (11) and Tommy O'Neill (10).

"I think we've had six different leading scorers this year," Schieler said. "We thought that would be one of the things that made us difficult this year. We didn't have a guy to key on."

READ MORE: Who make the cut for the YAIAA tournament?

Schieler was his usual intense self on the sideline Friday, sporting a green shirt and an animated attitude. The Panthers entered the contest with a plan of attack and played confidently from start to finish.

"He works really, really hard. Just as hard as us. He always has us prepared," Sobestanovich said. "You should see his scouting reports. They're something special."

The Rockets, on the other hand, couldn't get enough defensive stops to draw close down the stretch.

"We gave them too many points," coach James Brooks said. "If the points stay down ... If we keep the game in the 50s, we're right there to win the game. We let them get to the 70s. That's our bad."

Eli Brooks led the Rockets with 37 points.

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