So it wasn't always pretty. At this point of the season William Penn boys basketball coach Troy Sowers isn't concerned about aesthetics.
Even after the Bearcats turned the ball over eight times in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's YAIAA Division I game at Dallastown, Sowers said it was a part of "every game having it's ebb and flow."
Obviously Sowers is right. William Penn still managed to counter any momentum the Wildcats got and the Bearcats remained unbeaten in the league behind a 67-49 victory.
With the win, William Penn improved to 12-0 in the YAIAA and 17-2 overall. The Bearcats can wrap up another Division I crown with a win at South Western tonight.
Providing few open looks for the home team, William Penn took a 30-13 lead to halftime. A 17-4 run that stretched from late in the first quarter to the final two minutes of the second essentially did Dallastown in.
"Defense is where we won this game. I thought this may have been our best defensive game," Sowers said. "We made a goal to hold a team to less points than the first time we played them. That is how you win championships."
Wildcats coach Mike Grassel noticed another difference from the first meeting between the two teams, a 70-61 Bearcats win in early January.
"Rebounding .... The last time we had a plus-4, this time they doubled us up, 44-22. That was huge," he said. "I don't care who you play (with that big a
Tavon Parker led all scorers with 17 points and Ramel Stephens added 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench for William Penn.
Stephens scored nine of his points during the fourth quarter. His free throw started the nine-point run and a short while later, his offensive rebound put-back gave the Bearcats a 61-45 lead with less than three minutes remaining in the game. He followed a Wildcats turnover with another layup, giving William Penn a 20-point lead.
"We've been able to spread minutes out and keep everyone fresh. They would be starters on most teams," Sowers said of his reserves. "Ramel likes coming off the bench. He had a crazy workout routine over the summer. He just wants to win. He never talks about points. It's all winning."
Still, with 33 points in two games it would appear that Stephens is on a roll, coming off an 18-point performance in Saturday's scintillating win at Reading.
"As a senior I felt I had a lot to prove," Stephens said. "I am very comfortable coming off the bench. I get to see everything on the floor. It all starts at practice and being fundamental."
The Bearcats led 12-7 when DaiQuest Casiano entered the game and nailed the first of his two 3-pointers to end the first quarter. Parker drained a 3-pointer and a minute later, Derek Wilson dunked an offensive rebound.
Stephen Dickson's free throw ended the run and gave William Penn a 21-7 lead.
Despite falling to 8-4 in Division I and 12-7 overall, Dallastown remains in the hunt for a YAIAA tournament berth. Ethan Sutton led the Wildcats with 16 points and Mike Gibbs added 15. Gibbs had 12, Sutton nine in the second half when Dallastown managed 36 points.
"I was proud of our kids to keep fighting in the second half. But York High is tough. There is a reason they are 17-2," Grassel said. "Everybody is fighting for their playoff lives right now, including us. Our young guys are figuring that out."
Schedule note: William Penn hosts Red Lion on Tuesday, Feb. 5, not on Monday as the school first reported.
WILLIAM PENN (67)
D. Wilson 4 0-0 9, Casiano 2 0-0 6, Rivera 0 0-0 0, Ramel Stephens 7 1-4 15, Dickson 3 1-2 8, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Beard 2 2-4 6, Shifflett 0 0-0 0, J. Wilson 3 0-3 6, Tavon Parker 6 4-4 17. Totals27 8-17 67.
Mike Gibbs 6 0-0 15, Small 2 1-5 5, Ethan Sutton 6 3-3 16, J. Sutton 2 0-0 4, Henry 0 0-0 0, Robertson 1 0-0 2, Doorm 2 3-4 7, Ludwig 0 0-1 0. Totals19 7-13 49.
William Penn 15 15 18 19 -- 67
Dallastown 7 6 16 20 -- 49
3-point goals -- William Penn 5 (Casiano 2, D. Wilson, Dickson, Parker); Dallastown 4 (Gibbs 3, E. Sutton).
JV score -- William Penn 59-34.