West York clinched a spot in the Lower Dauphin Holiday Tournament championship game with a 41-40 victory against the host team, rallying from an 11-point deficit early in the game. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
HUMMELSTOWN - Halftime is a special time for West York girls' basketball this season. With a young roster, it has to be a time to learn.
After struggling to manufacture any offense for long stretches in the first half Tuesday, West York came out after halftime looking like a different team.
Relentless on offense, West York took the lead in the second half and then used a defensive stop in the final minute to knock off Lower Dauphin, 41-40, in the Falcons' holiday tournament.
It was Angie Hawkins who came up with the final key stop, stealing the ball from Amber Schweiger with around 10 seconds to play. Hawkins raced the length of the court and her layup attempt in the final seconds bounded off the iron right before time expired.
"I figured she would try to score," Hawkins said of Lower Dauphin's final offensive possession.
After falling behind, 20-9, to start the game, West York rallied in the final moments of the first half to cut the deficit to 20-15.
"We came out of the locker room and had our heads down at first," Hawkins said.
With a young team, sometimes it's all about building confidence.
"We had that little run, I thought, at the end of the second quarter, which was huge because we were struggling to score ... that gave us a little bit of confidence," West York coach Darrell Wildasin said.
Looking confident after halftime, the Bulldogs rallied behind Catie McCarty (team-high 14 points) and Hawkins (13 points) to take the lead in the third. Suddenly needing a comeback, Lower Dauphin rallied to erase a four-point deficit thanks to the shooting of Grace Day (game-high 19 points), but West York kept responding with go-ahead buckets.
"Basically we tell each other, 'We can do it, we can do it,' " Hawkins said.
West York's narrow win set up a championship matchup against Greencastle-Antrim at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The tournament showcased two of the YAIAA's younger teams. Dallastown has a young roster, as well, but Greencastle senior guard Jenay Faulkner pointed to all of the Wildcats' height, and not their youthful players, after Greencastle's 35-34 victory.
"We don't have any bigs ... so boxing out was obviously a big problem the whole game," Faulkner said.
Faulkner, at 5-11, is the lone Blue Devils player who fits that bill, and she spends a chunk of time playing offense on the perimeter.
Faulkner finished with a game-high 23 points, sinking a key 3-pointer in the fourth to keep Greencastle on top. She frustrated Dallastown, snatching two in-bound passes out of the air while defending on the baseline. She added several blocks, and only one other Greencastle player scored more than two points.
Even with Faulkner playing well, Dallastown could have pulled out the win with a better effort from the free-throw line. The Wildcats hit 9-of-20 free throws.
Dallastown returns to play Lower Dauphin in the consolation game at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Greencastle held a seven-point, second-half lead that Dallastown erased. And the Wildcats heaved a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer that hit the rim and bounced out.
"We know even though we lost, we played well," Dallastown's Sam Miller said. "We need to get over the hump of losing by one or two or three, and we need to convert on offense,"
Dallastown almost pulled off the come-from-behind victory, using a full-court press to frustrate Greencastle and cause turnovers in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats also made an effort to pound the ball into the low post late with solid results.
"We didn't really play our best game," Dallastown's junior Julia Sutton said. "We pressed them a lot, and we found out if we pressed them they would turn the ball over."
Miller, who is a 6-foot sophomore, scored all eight of her points in the fourth quarter. Sabrina Stough and Sutton shared team-high scoring honors, posting 11 points.
"Honestly I just got mad at myself, I was just done with them pushing me around," Dallastown's Sam Miller said.
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