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Each team wins first-round games of Panther Holiday Classic

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For the second time in less than 10 days, two of the area's best girls' basketball teams — Susquehannock and Central York — will meet again, squaring off Wednesday in the Panther Holiday Classic championship after both squads easily dismissed their opening round opponents.

Central cruised by York Catholic 55-37 on Tuesday, using a relentless press defense that frustrated the Irish into 23 turnovers and just over 30 percent shooting from the floor.

In Tuesday's other first-round game, Susquehannock had its way with Brandywine Heights in 65-25 victory.

"I think our pressure defense helped us to get the tempo of the game to where we wanted it to be," Central York head coach Scott Wisner said following his team's first-round win. "We forced them to play at an up-tempo pace which allowed us to use our athleticism to get some steals in the backcourt."

The Panthers took control early thanks to a hot start by Emma Saxton, who outscored the Irish by herself, 10-8, in the first quarter.

"She's phenomenal," Wisner said of his junior guard. "I honestly believe if she's not the best player in the county, then she's one of them. She's so multi-dimensional and can do so many things both offensively and defensively."

The Irish cut a 10-point deficit to four late in the first half but that's the closest they would get. Three late turnovers by the Irish allowed Central to pick up three quick buckets in the final two minutes of the half. Sophomore Nikson Valencik scored all nine of her points in the second half and Saxton added nine more, bringing her total to 19 and helping the Panthers pull away late.

"They're one of the better pressure teams in the county," York Catholic head coach Kevin Bankos said of Central. "They're very good at it and they have the athletes to run it. Our kids handled it most of the time but when you're in a hole and you throw it away two or three times in a row, it's the difference in the game. We told them 23 turnovers isn't going to win many games especially against quality basketball teams."

The win for Central sets up a rematch with the Warriors, who the Panthers beat 63-44 just before Christmas.

"They're obviously going to have a lot of motivation to come back at us and atone for that loss," Wisner said of Susquehannock. "We just need to do the same things we've been doing well."

Susquehannock 65, Brandywine Heights 25 >> The Warriors dominated their Berks County opponents from start. Five players reached double digits in scoring for Susquehannock, led by Maddie Stone and Tyler Williams, who each chipped in with 12. The Warriors' defense held the Bullets to 2-of-17 shooting from the floor in the first half. Susquehannock led 34-1 before Brandywine Heights converted its first field goal.

Susquehannock 65, Brandywine Heights 25

Brandywine Heights (25)

Hannah Fenstermacher 4 0-0 10, DeLong 2 0-0 5, Winegardner 1 1-2 3, Harrison 1 0-0 2, Hertzog 1 0-0 2, Turbett 1 0-0 2, Mendoza 0 0-4 0 Totals —10 2-8 25.

Susquehannock (65)

Maddie Stone 5 0-0 12, Tyler Williams 6 0-0 12, Ashley Stone 5 0-0 11, Anna Mahan 5 1-2 11, Jayla Galbreath 3 3-4 11, McCullough 0 3-4 3, Walker 1 1-2 3, Tannura 1 0-0 2, Sisler 0 0-2 0, Acton 0 0-0 0. Totals — 26 8-14 65.

Brandywine Heights _ 1_ 4 _ 13 _ 7 _ — _ 25

Susquehannock_ 21 _ 20 _ 18 _ 6 _ — _ 65

3-point goals — BH 3 (Fenstermacher 2, DeLong), Sus 4 (M. Stone 2, Galbreath 2).

Central York 55, York Catholic 37

York Catholic (37)

Kate Bauhof 6 3-5 17, Jania Wright 3 2-4 10, Laslo 4 1-3 9, Rader 0 1-2 1, Duchek 0 0-0 0, Desseyn 0 0-0 0, Sterner 0 0-0 0, Citrone 0 0-0 0 Totals — 13 7-14 37.

Central York (55)

Emma Saxton 9 3-4 19, Valencik 3 3-4 9, Preston 3 2-2 8, Williams 3 1-2 7, Sepic 3 0-0 7, Stanton 1 0-0 3, Fabbri 0 0-0 0, Shellenberger 0 0-0 0. Totals — 22 9-12 55.

York Catholic _ 8_ 11 _ 11 _ 7 _ — _ 37

Central York_ 16 _ 12 _ 14 _ 13 _ — _ 55

3-point goals — YC 4 (Bauhof 2, Wright 2), CY 2 (Stanton, Sepic).

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