Saturday night’s YAIAA girls’ basketball quarterfinal between William Penn and Susquehannock lived up the billing.
Ashley Stone and Chyna Steele — two of the league’s best players — had stellar performances, and the two sides put on a performance worthy of the price of admission. In the end, the Warriors came away with a 63-52 win to advance to Wednesday’s semifinal against Central York. The Panthers beat York Catholic, 65-60, in the other quarterfinal at Dallastown.
“It was one of the toughest games as far being physical and being fast,” Susquehannock coach Dave Schreiner said. “Just had to make sure we were on top of understanding that people were always coming. You can’t take a break. I thought the difference was after we started settling down and running our offense, their defense started breaking down.
“We started getting to the basket and we got out of foul trouble, and I thought that was the key.”
It was a slugfest from the start that lasted all the way to the final buzzer. The Warriors took a 6-1 lead to start the game and ended the first quarter with a 13-8 advantage. The Bearcats stayed a step behind them in the second quarter before closing the gap off two free throws by Jasmine Beistline to even the score at 32. A bucket from Madey-Vania Redman moments later gave William Penn its first lead of the night, and the Bearcats went into halftime ahead by two.
After the break, Stone quickly tied the score at 29, and the Warriors went on a 9-2 run to pull ahead by seven.
The Bearcats stayed within reach of Susquehannock, but they couldn't get over the hump, even when the momentum appeared to be shifting in their favor. Steele cut the Warriors' lead to seven midway through the fourth quarter after she hit a jump shot and then hit two free throws on her squad's next possession, but Susquehannock managed to answer right back.
“We knew that (William Penn) beat some pretty good teams this year,” Stone said. “We did expect them to come out scrappy, and they were good.”
While the Bearcats held their own, they did struggle from the foul line, something coach Larry Corbin said has been an issue all season. William Penn shot 16-for-31 from the line, missing several foul shots in the second half that could have changed the outcome.
“It’s a problem for us,” Corbin said about his team’s free throw shooting. “It’s really late in the season. We work on it and we just have to try to push through it. I thought in the first half we were pretty decent from the free-throw line and then in the second half it just wasn’t there for us.”
In a matchup of teams that might have surprised observers with their success, Stone and Steele both finished with double-digit points.
“Chyna is a very good player,” said Stone, who guarded Steele in the first half. “She will take it to you anytime she can, but coach told me keep her in front of me. 'Don’t fall for her little moves,' and I’d say I did a pretty good job on her.”
Steele finished with a game-high 28 points, and Stone led the Warriors (21-2) with 20.
William Penn's season should continue with a berth in the District 3 Class AAAA tournament. The Bearcats (14-9) were ranked 16th in the final power rankings, with the top 20 teams qualifying for the tournament.
William Penn (52)
Beady 0 0-0 0, Hutchinson 1 0-0 3, Givens 2 1-2 5, Redman 3 3-8 9, Chyna Steele 10 7-15 28, Kinard 0 0-0 0, Dlamini 0 0-0 0 Beistline 1 5-6 7. Totals — 1716-31 52.
McCullough 0 0-0 0, Tennura 1 3-4 5,Walker 1 0-0 3, Jayla Galbreath 5 4-5 14, Tyler Williams 5 6-8 16, Ashley Stone 6 7-10 20, Madison Stone 0 0-0 0, Mahan 1 3-4 5. Totals — 19 23-31 63.
William Penn _ 8 _ 21 _ 6 _ 17 _ — _ 52
Susquehannock _ 13 _ 14 _ 18 _ 18 _ — _ 63
3-point goals — WP 2 (Hutchinson, Steele), Sus 2 (Walker, Stone).
Here are the matchups for the YAIAA girls' basketball tournament semifinals, set for Wednesday night at Dallastown.
Central York vs. Susquehannock, 6 p.m.
Red Lion vs. Delone Catholic, 7:30 p.m.