The Lions ended the third quarter on a 11-2 run
Don Dimoff expected it to be a dogfight.
The Red Lion head coach knew his team was heavily favored against Delone Catholic in Wednesday's YAIAA tournament semifinal game at Dallastown Area High School, but he still didn't expect it to be an easy game.
"You know what? This time of the year, they're all going to be tough," Dimoff said. "Delone is a tough team. They play hard, they're used to winning and (Delone head coach) Gerry (Eckenrode) runs a great program."
Although it was a tough game, the Lions held off a Delone Catholic rally to earn a 47-39 victory. Red Lion will play Central York in the YAIAA title game at 7 p.m. Friday at York College. (GameTimePA.com will livestream the championship game here.)
It'll be the third contest between the Lions and Panthers this season. The Lions won the first contest, 46-37, on Dec 18 before losing the second game, 43-36.
"I think that's what everyone expected, I know everyone kinda just thought we'd both walk to the finals," Dimoff said. "I'm just excited for this group to get back there, it's a great bonus at the end of the year for them."
For most of the first half against Delone, the Lions (21-2) looked as if they were in danger of getting upset. Star guard Courtney Dimoff spent most of the second quarter on the bench with two fouls, and the Lions went into halftime up by just four after Dimoff returned to hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Squirettes (17-6) started the second half hot, scoring six of the first eight points in the third quarter to tie the game. But the Lions responded with an 11-2 run in the quarter's final five minutes to go into the fourth up by nine.
Delone Catholic kept things interesting and trailed by just four with three minutes to play, but it couldn't complete the comeback. Dimoff was a difference maker in the second half, scoring 13 of her 19 points after halftime.
The Squirettes will now begin preparing for the District 3 playoffs. They host Linden Hall in the quarterfinals on Feb. 19.
"I'm extremely happy with the way we played, I thought we played hard and were very focused," Eckenrode said. "I'd love to have some minutes back in the third quarter, but we battled back. A couple more shots go down for us, it would have been different."
Tickets: Red Lion will sell advance tickets for Friday's championship game from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon Friday in the high school office.
Red Lion 47, Delone Catholic 39
Delone Catholic (39)
Laughman 0 0-0 0, Shipley 5 2-2 12, Knobloch 5 4-6 15, Singleton 2 2-3 6, Apgar 0 0-0 0, Vingsen 2 0-0 4, Miller 0 2-2 2, Zumbrum 0 0-0 0, Anderson 0 0-0 0. Totals — 14 10-13 39.
Red Lion (47)
Courtney Dimoff 6 4-4 19, Maciejewski 2 2-2 6, Harvey 2 0-0 4, Reba 3 3-6 9, Sheperd 0 5-6 5, Funke 2 0-0 4, Shingler 0 0-0 0 . Totals — 15 14-18 47.
Delone Catholic _ 7 _ 10 _ 8 _ 14 _ — _ 39
Red Lion _ 13 _ 8 _ 13 _ 13 _ — _ 47
3-point goals — Red Lion 3 (Dimoff), Delone Catholic 1 (Knobloch).