The Central York girls' basketball team entered the season with high expectations, and with good reason.
After all, the Panthers finished second in YAIAA Division I behind division champ Red Lion and then fell to the Lions in the league tournament title game by just one point. Overall, the team cranked out 23 victories and returned almost its entire team from a season ago.
Tuesday, Central faced New Oxford, another team with almost its entire team back following a successful season. The Colonials finished fourth in YAIAA I a year ago, won a district game for the third year in a row and finished with 15 wins.
What was anticipated to be a showdown turned into an easy win for the Panthers as they cruised past the homestanding Colonials, 61-32.
"We knew that Central was the team to beat in our division and they proved it (Tuesday)," New Oxford coach James Kunkle said. "They outplayed us in every possible way."
There wasn't a consensus preseason choice for clear cut favorite in the division, as there was support for both teams among pundits.
"We knew that they were good," Central junior Nikson Valencik said. "We saw all of the articles in the paper saying that they were the team to beat. It helped us to be extra focused and ready to go."
Valencik and senior Emma Saxton each tossed in 14 points and Tierra Preston added 10. Saxton and Preston each corralled double digit rebounds.
Central used a 33-6 run to put the game out of reach as the Panthers were never threatened after the middle of the second quarter.
"We played a complete game, except for the last two minutes of the first quarter," Central coach Scott Wisner said. "They're a very good team and I felt that we played an excellent game, especially defensively."
Central is looking for its first division crown since capturing YAIAA Division I back-to-back in 1998 and 1999.