The New Oxford girls' basketball team lost three games in late January when multiple players were struggling with illnesses. But the Colonials are healthy again and looking toward a deep playoff run. Matt Allibone
The New Oxford girls' basketball team is finally healthy.
They survived the flu and all the ugliness that came with it at the end of the season.
They made it through one practice where only five healthy girls made it to the gym.
"I kid you not ... we had to scrimmage against our five coaches," Kaelyn Long said.
"It was not a good combination with the flu and injuries. It was crazy."
But even now, after defeating YAIAA Division II champion Susquehannock in a YAIAA tournament quarterfinal, the New Oxford girls aren't assuming they have an easy path to the league title game. New Oxford expects a tough game from Delone Catholic in a YAIAA tournament semifinal at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Dallastown High School.
New Oxford defeated Delone, 66-47, in the regular season, but New Oxford expects a test in the next round.
"What do they have? Three 6-foot girls. How many do we have? I don't think we have any," New Oxford coach Jim Kunkle said laughing. "That's the difficult part for us."
It shapes up to be a matchup of speed vs. size.
New Oxford loves to run, and Delone Catholic can overpower with its height. Delone Catholic advanced after surviving a 45-44 thriller against Dallastown.
Delone Catholic frustrated Dallastown with its zone and its rebounding dominance in the first half. When Dallastown adjusted after halftime, the Wildcats nabbed the lead when they attacked the zone by driving the lane.
"We wanted to attack their zone by getting in the paint, and when everything clogged we passed the ball outside," Dallastown's Julia Sutton said.
The Wildcats also did a better job pulling down offensive boards, putting together a 16-8 run in the third quarter.
Delone Catholic bounced back in the fourth quarter, and held on for the win. A big part of that was overcoming foul trouble, with leading scorer Catie Apgar successfully finishing the game despite playing much of the second half in foul trouble.
That could be an issue against New Oxford, which somehow managed to hang five fouls on three of Susquehannock's starters in the quarterfinals.
"Especially with me being a driver, I kind of start to say, 'Oh, (this girl) has four, let me get her a fifth (foul),'" Long said.
Delone Catholic, though, has embraced its small-school identity.
"We expect (the semifinal) to be like what we saw tonight," Delone Catholic's Elise Knobloch said after topping Class 6A Dallastown. "There's no room for error, we know we have to play our best."
New Oxford, a 5A team that competed in YAIAA Division I, should be another big test for the 3A program. But playing larger schools is just fine with Delone Catholic coach Gerry Eckenrode. He said it's all about intense effort.
"Actually, from a competitive standpoint, it's better for us," Eckenrode said. "It gets us ready for states and districts."
And historically, he knows his girls always seem to show up when it matters.
"We've done well at this tournament," he said.
If you go
Who: New Oxford vs. Delone Catholic
What: YAIAA girls' basketball tournament semifinals
Where: Dallastown High School
When: Tuesday at 6 p.m.