A little more than a month after the William Penn boys' basketball team clawed out a five-point win against Central York, Wedesday night's game was a slightly different story.
The Bearcats used a huge third quarter to burst past the Panthers, 79-57, in a YAIAA Division I clash at Central York.
"We watched the game film from the first time we played them and gave up 71 points," Bearcats coach Troy Sowers said. "I was angry after watching it. That's not us. They had a lot of open looks. We worked extensively in practice yesterday on our defense.
"I think we have gotten a lot better since then. Game 5 of the season. I only had back two starters. Two other kids played junior varsity ball and one played freshman basketball. We were a puzzle with a few of the pieces just coming together. We were playing okay then, but I think we are playing better team basketball now. We've matured."
William Penn (15-2, 11-0) held a 41-34 halftime lead and then put the Panthers away with a 21-4 third quarter, sparked by six points from 6-foot-3 sophomore Jahaire Wilson and four points each from senior guards Derek Wilson and DaiQuest Casiano.
"Jahaire has been starting all year for us," Sowers said. "He's got a long wingspan and can do a few things for us. He played freshman ball last year but had a crazy good summer and has really improved."
After shooting better than 50 percent in the first half, Central York (9-9, 7-4) went 1-of-8 from the field. That basket came with 1:34 left in the period by senior Corey Hartz. Central also turned the ball over eight times in the quarter after chalking up 15 first-half turnovers.
"At halftime, we just went over again what we wanted to do," Sowers said. "Crazy ball pressure and sagging into the paint. I think we were overly aggressive in the first half, trying to trap when the traps weren't there. That is a good passing team and they took advantage of that a few times."
The Bearcats played Central York even in the final quarter, and the Panthers finally went to mass substitutions with 3:29 left.
"We did not do as good of job of handling their pressure this time," Central coach Kevin Schieler said. "We still turned the ball over a lot the first time, you're always going to against a defense like theirs, but we did a better job before.
"They are a good team, but we gave them a lot of easy buckets in that third quarter because we turned it over so much. They feed off the turnovers."
The teams were deadlocked at 11-11 halfway through the opening quarter before the Bearcats went on an 11-5 run. Guard Tavon Parker keyed the outburst with seven of his 14 first-quarter points. In the midst of the run, the 6-2 senior threw down a dunk off a steal with 2:51 remaining.
The Bearcats continued to hold the lead throughout the second quarter behind five points from Derek Wilson and four more from Parker, who finished with a game-high 25 points.
Central's leading scorer, Darian Hampton, picked up a first-quarter technical foul and sat for the rest of the game to finish with two points. Another starter, 6-4 senior forward Ryan Gardner, also got into foul trouble and sat sizable portions of the game, finishing with four points. Sophomore Sam Saxton led the Panthers with a team-high 14 points.
With five regular-season games remaining, William Penn is ranked No. 3 in the latest PIAA District 3 Class AAAA power ratings. Central York is ranked No. 23 in Class AAAA with four games left. The top 20 Class AAAA schools make the tournament.
"We said last week that we felt we needed to be 13-9 to have a chance," Schieler said. "At this point, we pretty much have to win out. A 12-10 record would really, really be pushing it."
WILLIAM PENN (79)
Casiano 4 0-0 8, Dickson 4 1-3 9, Beard 1 0-0 2, Jahire Wilson 6 0-0 12, Tavon Parker 9 4-6 25, Derek Wilson 4 2-4 11, Rivera 0 0-0 0, Stephens 3 0-0 7, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Shifflett 2 0-1 5. Totals33 7-14 79.
CENTRAL YORK (57)
Hampton 1 0-0 2, Sauers 2 4-6 8, Sam Saxton 5 2-2 14, Royce Clemens 4 0-0 10, Gardner 2 0-0 4, Hartz 1 0-0 2, Snyder 0 0-0 0, Falci 1 2-2 5, Shaffer 0 0-0 0, Salter 2 0-0 5, Wagner 0 2-2 2, Gingrich 1 3-4 5. Totals19 13-16 57.
William Penn 22 19 21 17 -- 79
Central York 16 18 4 19 -- 57
3-point goals -- William Penn 6 (Parker 3, Shifflett, Stephens, D. Wilson), Central York 6 (Saxton 2, Clemens 2, Salter, Falci).
JV score -- William Penn 64, Central York 58, OT.