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Red Lion earns spot in PIAA tourney

Heading into Thursday's District 3 Class AAAA seventh-place game, the Red Lion and Central York girls' basketball teams had met three previous times this season, and all the contests were decided by single digits.

That trend came to an end at Dallastown High School, as the Lions dominated the final 16 minutes to pull away for a 54-36 win and clinch a spot in the state tournament.

"I thought we executed very well on both ends of the court," Lions head coach Don Dimoff said. "They definitely showed they wanted to keep playing."

Red Lion, the No. 3 seed in districts, will be the seventh seed, when the PIAA Class AAAA tournament begins Friday, March 4. The Lions will face the top seed out of District 1.

Playing a team four times in a season can create problems when trying to throw something new at the opponent. However, Red Lion (25-4) found something to use against Central thanks to a loss to Lower Dauphin on Monday.

"We worked on that zone for literally 20 minutes Wednesday," Dimoff said. "I have to give Lower Dauphin some credit, it was the zone they played against us, and it was such a tough zone that we decided to try it. The kids bought in and did a really good job."

Leading 30-25 at halftime, the Lions outscored the fourth-seeded Panthers, 24-11, in the second half.

"We executed well. We moved well. We contested well and jammed up the paint," Dimoff said.

The Lions, who shot 20-of-39 from the field, were led by Courtney Dimoff's 21 points.

"We are having a good season and a good year, and we just want to keep playing as long as we can," Courtney Dimoff said. "The defense worked great. We got great ball pressure and on the offensive end, we just knocked down shots."

As Red Lion kept up its solid shooting performance from the field, the Panthers cooled off in the second half. Central shot just 4-of-20.
Red Lion also forced 13 Central turnovers.

"I was more concerned about our mind frame coming in after losing on a last-second shot the other night," Don Dimoff said. "Obviously, we feel like we have a team that's good enough to compete for the entire district."

Central (23-6) was led by Emma Saxton's 11 points and Nikson Valencik's 10 points.

Amy Maciejewski added 13 points for the Lions.

Red Lion (54)
Johnson 0 0-0 0, Wolf 0 0-0 0, Klunk 0 0-0 0, Shepherd 3 2-2 9, Reba 0 3-4 3, Amy Maciejewski 6 0-0 13, Kocman 0 0-0 0, Courtney Dimoff 7 2-2 21, Funke 2 0-0 4, Harvey 2 0-0 4. Totals — 20 7-8 54.

Central York (36)
Nikson Valencik 4 2-2 10, Fabbri 1 0-0 3, Stanton 0 0-0 0, Wagner 0 0-0 0, Emma Saxton 4 3-4 11, Williams 1 1-2 3, Sepic 2 0-0 5, Shellenberger 0 0-0 0, Santana 1 0-0 2, Preston 1 0-0 2. Totals — 14 6-8 36.

Red Lion_14_16_11_13_ —_54
Central York_15_10_4_7_ —_36

3-point goals — RL 6 (Dimoff 5, Sheperd, Maciejewski); CY 2 (Fabbri, Sepic).