The Dallastown girls' basketball team starts one senior, one junior and three sophomores. For a lot of coaches, leading such a young team could make it easy to think about the future, envisioning what the squad might look like in a year or two.
But not Wildcats' coach Jay Rexroth, who has no interest looking down the road like that.
The longtime coach doesn't even want to consider what the Wildcats will look like later this season. All he's interested in is the present
"I'm looking forward to our next practice," Rexroth said Friday, after his team dropped a 48-44 decision to New Oxford. "I like teaching our kids and they're eager to learn and get better. They work hard, and they listen to the coaches well."
Friday's tilt was the closest that anyone has come to beating undefeated New Oxford. Before that, the Colonials' closest game was a 57-42 victory against Spring Grove on Dec 20.
Dallastown (2-4) took a 13-9 lead against the Colonials after one quarter. New Oxford rallied back to build a seven-point lead in the third quarter, before the Wildcats whittled the deficit to 35-32 heading for the final stanza.
The Colonials pulled to a six-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but again Dallastown closed the margin to 42-41 on Grace Coyne's layup with 1:16 to play. New Oxford made six free throws in the last 33 seconds to seal the win.
"(New Oxford) is a very talented and experienced team and they did what they had to to close out the game," Rexroth said. "But our kids are starting to believe in themselves and we expect to have a chance every night."
We completely ignored their record coming into the game," New Oxford coach James Kunkle said. "They've played a tough schedule. They're young, but they're very talented and Jay is an excellent coach."
Rexroth is returning to the bench for the first time since the 2009 season, when he stepped away after a 17-year run as Dallastown's boys' coach.
The top scorer for the Wildcats is junior Julia Sutton who checks in at 13.8 points per game. Also in the starting lineup are senior Sabrina Stough (5.5) and sophomores Sam Miller (5.2), Lily Jamison (5.5) and Coyne (3.2). Junior Kaitlyn Rock, sophomore Brielle Berry and freshmen Sabria Royal (6.6) and Aniya Matthews see action off the bench.
"Their sophomores have improved a lot and they have an excellent freshmen class. That class has been beating everyone the whole time that they've been coming up," Kunkle said. "They're a good team now and they're going to be even harder to deal with here real soon."
Dallastown plays in Lower Dauphin's holiday tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday before returning to YAIAA Division I play when it faces South Western on Jan 3.