When Friday night ends there will be one less undefeated team in YAIAA girls' hoops.
Central York (6-0 overall, 4-0 in Division I) will square off with Red Lion (6-0 overall, 3-0 in Division I) in Red Lion. The Panthers and Lions are two of the remaining three girls’ teams in the York-Adams league that have not lost this season.
Susquehannock (Division II) is the only other undefeated squad.
Central is off to its best start in the previous five seasons. The Panthers already played and defeated four divisional opponents to open the year and have won by an average of 20.5 points in their first six games. The Lions are off to their first undefeated start since the 2011-12 season, when they won their first six games of the year, and have beaten their first five opponents by an average of 16.8 points.
Friday’s matchup between the two Division I heavyweights will be one to watch, but the Lions aren’t trying to over hype things ahead of the game.
“We’re just looking forward to getting out there and playing,” Red Lion head coach Don Dimoff said. “In the grand scheme of things, it’s just two good teams playing a game in December, but if everything continues the way it looks it will mean something for the division and maybe league playoffs. We’re looking at it, we’re trying to stay focused and be ready to play.
“But, we’re not going to put all our apples in one game either. We have a long season.”
The Lions will have to contend with several offensive weapons on Central’s end. Emma Saxton has been a scorer for the Panthers since the start of the year and is coming off a 17-point performance in Tuesday’s win against Dallastown. Nikson Valencik and Tierra Preston have also contributed early on.
Dimoff said the number of key players for Central will force his team to play solid basketball on both ends of the court.
“In one way, it’s the neat thing about the game for both teams,” he said. “It’s not like we’re trying to stop one or two. Both teams are going to have to play good, solid basketball defensively. Good solid basketball offensively. It’s actually fun. I’m sure it’s fun for both teams.”
The Lions have plenty of weapons of their own. Courtney Dimoff had 10 points in Red Lion’s overtime win on Wednesday vs. Red Land. They have also had contributions from Amy Maciejewski, Kynslee Shepherd, and Kami Harvey.
“We’ve got a lot of kids back that have played a lot of basketball together,” he said. “We’ve got some kids back from injury, so we’re relatively experienced. We have a lot of kids who can do a lot of things, and we’re not limited to one or two things.
“We’ve had different players lead us in scoring. We’ve had a lot of different people in different figures. We’re relatively versatile, and that’s helped so far.”