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New Oxford didn't have a chance. Not when Central York plays the way it practices. And Central certainly accomplished that Friday night, running away from the Colonials, 68-43.
Central York put on a clinic.
The Panthers scored 18 of the game's first 22 points.
And while Central's offensive outbursts might grab everyone's attention, it's actually Central's defense that makes those buckets at the other end come in such quick succession.
"When we get a stop, we just have to execute and finish," Central senior Emma Saxton said.
Then it's a simple game. The pressure is on New Oxford to bounce back, and if Central gets another defensive stop, the Panthers simply look to add to their lead.
"They look to push into their post, so we have help side, and they can also shoot, so we have to get a hand in their face," Saxton said. "It's everyday stuff we go over in practice."
Repetition makes the Panthers (18-2, 9-1 YAIAA Division I) what they have become: the top team in the league.
"It's no secret, our mantra is not who we play but how we play," Central coach Scott Wisner said. "When we hit the floor in the first quarter, we focus on that defensive end."
Look at the scoring sheet for proof: Central allowed New Oxford to sink just three field goals in the first half.
"It's simple stuff, and it's stuff we drill every single day to get that consistent performance. Now, we slip up from time to time, but for the most part those girls are really on their game."
So when Central struggles through a difficult quarter — like Friday when they scored just eight points in the second quarter — the Panthers don't need to panic, since they'd only allowed New Oxford to score seven points.
After regrouping at halftime, the Panthers put the game away with a 27-7 run in the third. Central pulled all but one of its starters for a big chunk of the third quarter, coasting to another victory.
Saxton led all scorers with 26 points and a model of consistency: She scored seven points in each of the first three quarters. Her big night allowed her to move within 18 points of becoming just the fourth girl at Central to score 1,000 points. Nikki Valencik added 18 points for Central.
New Oxford's Briana Smith came off the bench and scored all 14 of her points in the final quarter to lead the Colonials offense. Of the Colonials' starting five, Haley Luckabaugh led the way with nine points.