The shorthanded Red Lion boys team left the floor at halftime to a huge ovation from the big home crowd at the school's Fitzkee Athletic Center.
Playing without top scorer Mike Fox, who was home sick, the Lions managed to go to the intermission tied with first-place William Penn.
However, the Bearcats found the perfect way to respond and quickly ruined any hopes of an upset. William Penn scored the first 16 points of the third quarter and went on to post a 78-49 win.
As was the case the entire second half, the Bearcats spread the ball around en route to outscoring Red Lion 51-22 over the final 16 minutes. Six different players scored in the first four minutes of the third when a 27-all halftime tie turned into a 43-27 William Penn lead.
"Sometimes it takes a half to wear a team down," said Bearcats coach Troy Sowers after his team improved to 10-2 overall and 7-0 in Division I. "Eventually our conditioning came through. That is what we are all about. We talk about saving our conditioning for when we are going to need it."
Tavon Parker scored six of his team-high 19 points during the pivotal run. Jahaire Wilson, Stephen Dickson, Ohsajid Beard and Dai-Quest Casiano (12 points) also hit layups as William Penn forced six turnovers during the first three minutes of the second half.
"We run like dogs at practice. That is what gives us the conditioning," Parker said. "We made our shots in the second half and started converting on turnovers."
Jason Rebuck's basket with 3:20 left in the third marked the first points of the half for the Lions, who fell to 8-5 overall and 3-4 in the league.
The Bearcats went on a 10-point run that stretched into the fourth quarter and increased their lead to 59-32. Red Lion's Kevin Hutchinson, who scored a game-high 21 points, drained a 3-pointer, but Dickson answered that with a trey.
"Stephen Dickson did an outstanding job on their point guard and he knocked down a big 3. He had a very good game," Sowers said.
Every William Penn player reached the scoresheet. Wilson and Dickson scored nine each, while Beard and Ramel Stephens added eight apiece.
"We have good team balance. We like to share the ball," Parker said.
"That is a strength of this team. We saw a lot of unselfish play in the fourth quarter. It is really nice to coach these guys," Sowers said.
Despite falling behind 11-5 in the first five minutes, the Lions fought back. Hutchinson's early-second quarter layup tied the game at 13. A minute later, his two free throws gave Red Lion a 16-15 lead and he followed 40 second later with a 3-pointer that made it 19-15.
Two Stephens free throws gave William Penn a 27-25 lead, but Stone McCreary converted a layup that sent the teams to the break all even.
"We played a great first half. We had great energy," Lions coach Steve Schmehl said. "It seemed like a blur in the second half. They can do that to you. Unfortunately it's a 32-minute game. This was everybody's first time playing (varsity) against York High."
WILLIAM PENN (78)
D. Wilson 1 0-0 2, Dai-Quest Casiano 4 4-4 12, Rivera 1 0-0 2, Stephens 3 2-2 8, Dickson 4 0-0 9, Jackson 2 0-0 5, Beard 4 0-0 8, Shifflett 2 0-1 4, J. Wilson 3 3-4 9, Tavon Parker 8 0-3 19. Totals 32 9-14 78.
RED LION (49)
Miller 1 2-2 5, Huson 4 1-2 9, McCreary 1 0-0 2, Kevin Hutchinson 6 6-8 21, Tyson 1 0-2 2, Cahill 0 1-2 1, Rebuck 1 1-2 3, Wambaugh 3 0-1 6. Totals 17 11-19 49.
William Penn 13 14 26 25 -- 78
Red Lion 11 16 5 17 -- 49
3-point goals -- William Penn 5 (Parker 3, Dickson, Jackson); Red Lion 4 (Hutchinson 3, Miller).
JV score -- William Penn 57-43.