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Somebody once told Dallastown boys' basketball head coach Mike Grassel, "Ugly wins are better than pretty losses."

The expression stuck out to Grassel on Thursday night after his Wildcats earned a thrilling, 58-56 overtime victory against Manheim Township.

"I'll take an ugly win over a pretty loss," Grassel said.

Dallastown improved to 7-1 overall after Brandon McGlynn sent a beautiful pass to Will Barton, who beat the buzzer for the winning layup in overtime. It was redemption for Barton after he missed a chance to end the game in regulation.

"They came out in zone and we weren't ready for it," Barton said of the final play of overtime. "The main thing was to get to the bucket and either draw a foul or finish a layup."

The Wildcats struggled with some missed layup opportunities during the game.

"I was mad that I didn't finish the layup at the end of regulation. I overthrew the ball, I thought about it too much," Barton said. "But, the second one (in overtime), I had to finish to bring my team home a victory."

The Wildcats battled back from being down by 11 points on two different occasions, the last one coming with 4 minutes to play in the third quarter.

"We just couldn't get the run that we wanted to," Barton said. "Offensively, it was bad passes and lack of hustle."

After posting 15 points in the first quarter, the Wildcats scored just five points in the second quarter and were held scoreless until the final 2:18 of that period.

"We didn't do a good job of executing the game plan in the first half," Grassel said. "We shared the ball in the second half and got good looks. Defense created our offense. The effort on the defensive end was the biggest difference. I felt we were lucky to be down six at halftime."

The defensive pressure by the Wildcats, specifically in the second half, forced the Blue Streaks into over 25 turnovers in the game.

"We had to get up on them defensively and make a run when we could," said Barton, who was one of three Wildcats to reach double figures in scoring. The junior finished with 12 points, McGlynn added 13 and Donovan Catchings led the home team with 18 points.

That diverse offensive output has put Dallastown right in the thick of a competitive YAIAA Division I field. Dallastown is currently 3-1 in division play, with notable wins against Central York and William Penn. The Wildcats open 2017 next week with games against South Western and a visit to Spring Grove.

"Everybody was doubting us at the beginning of the season," Barton said. "We just come to practice and work hard and then play hard in the games."

Even at 7-1, Grassel said he sees room for improvement for his team, with four junior starters.

"We haven't played our best basketball yet," Grassel said. "We need to put together what we have been doing in practice and put it into a game for a full 32 minutes and be more consistent. 7-1 is great going into the new year, but we are just focusing on one game at a time and getting a win."

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