Typically, nothing good happens when a team in foul trouble sits three starters for most of the first half.
That was the predicament facing Central York when it tangled with York Catholic, but the Panthers subs came through big-time in a 65-50 victory against York Catholic in the YAIAA girls' basketball tournament quarterfinals Saturday at Dallastown High School. Central's bench contributed 16 first-half points to help stake Central to an 11-point halftime lead.
Central York's victory snapped York Catholic's 10-game winning streak, handing the Irish their first lost since Jan. 5. Meanwhile, Central (21-2) has now won 10 straight games and will face Susquehannock in a semifinal Wednesday at Dallastown.
With a trio of starters pulled from the floor, Central head coach Scott Wisner turned to Teirra Preston, Nykkoya Stanton and Allison Wagner for significant first-half minutes. Preston turned in eight points, while Stanton connected on a pair of 3-pointers. Wagner beat the first-quarter horn with a baseline jumper.
"We've had a lot of balance and a lot of contributions from our bench all season," Wisner said. "Those girls work very hard in practice to try to prevent a big drop off when we have to sit the starters for a rest or because of foul trouble."
The Irish trailed, 42-29, followiing Nikson Valencik's free throws with 5:24 left in the third quarter. But Teslyn Sterner started a 12-2 run for York Catholic with an old-fashioned 3-point play a minute later. Sophomore Kate Bauhof posted the final eight points of the run with a pair of 3-pointers and a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to three points at the end of three quarters.
Bauhof, who finished with a game-high 27 points, missed her final five shots of the game and was scoreless over the final nine minutes of the contest.
"We didn't do a lot different against Kate in the fourth quarter," Wisner said. "We maybe helped a little bit more, but nothing too different than we'd done for the first three quarters. She's such a good player, we were hoping that she might get a little tired in the fourth quarter."
Central opened the final stanza with the first eight points to open a 52-41 lead. The Irish never inched closer than 52-43, when Jania Wright scored with 4:57 left.
"We didn't finish a lot of the opportunities that we had," York Catholic head coach Kevin Bankos said. "Too many missed free throws (14-of-24) and too many missed layups. They're a loaded team. They're eight (players) deep, and they have a lot of talent. They were able to solve every defense that we threw at them tonight."
York Catholic (18-5) fell behind 8-0 to start Saturday's contest before Bauhof got the Irish going with a 3-pointer at the 5:13 mark of the opening quarter. Bauhof's long ball ignited a 10-1 Irish run that gave them their only lead of the game, 10-9.
A hoop by Lydia Shellenberger gave Central an 11-10 lead with 2:08 to play in the first quarter and the Panthers never trailed again.
Emma Saxton paced Central with 22 points, while Valencik put in 14 to go with six boards and Preston posted 10 points and five rebounds.
Despite the loss, Bankos was pleased with the effort of his team.
"Our girls played hard tonight and this should serve us well going into districts," Bankos said. "Central is a very good quad-A team and if you're not excited to face a team like them, then I don't know what to tell you."
York Catholic (50)
Desseyn 0 2-4 2, Kate Bauhof 8 7-8 27, Brier 0 0-0 0, Wright 3 0-0 6, Sterner 1 4-5 6, Laslo 1 0-4 2, Rader 2 1-3 5, Citrone 1 0-0 2. Totals — 16 14-24 50.
Central York (65)
Nikson Valencik 4 6-6 14, Fabbri 0 0-0 0, Stanton 2 0-0 6, Wagner 1 0-0 2, Emma Saxton 8 6-11 22, Williams 1 1-2 3, Sepic 0 1-2 1, Shellenberger 1 3-4 5, Santana 0 2-2 2, Teirra Preston 4 2-3 10. Totals — 21 21-30 65.
York Catholic _13 _12 _16 _9 — _50
Central York _17 _19 _8 _21 —_65
3-point goals — YC 4 (Bauhof 4), CY 2 (Stanton 2).