It was a showdown between the top two teams in YAIAA I girls' basketball, but Central York sped past New Oxford for a decisive 61-32 road victory Tuesday night.
Both teams entered the game undefeated in division play and with just one loss each overall. Early on it looked like it would be tight all the way.
The teams were even following the opening stanza, 15-15, and the Colonials ended the frame on an 8-0 run. Bre Sauter gave the hosts an 18-15 lead with a 3-pointer to open the second quarter.
But Central (9-1, 4-0) scored 19 of the final 21 points of the first half to carry a 34-20 lead into the locker room, and it was the Panthers' bench that keyed the run as their reserves put in nine of the points.
Sarah Sepic buried a pair of 3-pointers and Taylor Marley connected for another.
"Our bench did a nice job for us tonight," Central coach Scott Wisner said. "Sarah started for us last year, but we've been bringing her off the bench as she's been making her way back from an ACL injury."
New Oxford (7-2, 4-1) failed to gain any traction in the second half as the visitors eventually doubled them up (48-24) with 2:58 left in the third quarter.Central's 33-6 run pushed the Panthers' lead to 52-28 heading for the final stanza.
"We didn't execute tonight and they outplayed us in every possible way," New Oxford coach James Kunkle said. "They came in and took it to us. They were the better team. Fortunately, we get another shot at them and hopefully we play better. We'll have to, to give ourselves a chance."
The teams meet on Jan 27 at Central.
Central received double-doubles from Emma Saxton (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Teirra Preston (10 points, 10 rebounds) and a quality effort from Nikson Valencik (14 points, eight rebounds).
"We were very excited coming into the game," Valencik said. "We didn't want to be cocky, but we were confident in ourselves that we would win."
Afterwards, Wisner downplayed the significance of the victory.
"It was a big game due to the teams' records, but nothing more than that," he said. "It's only our 10th game of the season, so it can't be too big."