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New Oxford's defense shuts down York Suburban

Even James Kunkle wasn't sure how New Oxford did it.

For the second straight game, the Colonials kept their opponent off the scoreboard in the third quarter. One night after they dominated Bermudian Springs in a 57-point win, the Colonials used another strong defensive effort to beat York Suburban, 47-27, at home in Saturday's tip-off tournament final.

The Colonials' performance left their head coach shaking his head and smiling.

"You tell me, they just started clicking (defensively)," Kunkle said. "The second half we stayed with our full-court man (defense), locked it down and just tried to wear them out. We just wanted to get them flustered."

New Oxford certainly seemed to throw York Suburban off its game in the second half. The Trojans scored just four points and went 2-of-10 from the field in the second half. The Colonials won by 15 after going into the locker room with a five-point lead.

What the Colonials lacked in size against York Suburban, they made up for with quickness and awareness. New Oxford forced numerous turnovers and consistently came up with steals throughout the second half.

"That's what we're focusing on ... last year it was our transition offense and now we're going to the defensive side," Kunkle said. "We're trying to see how many turnovers we can get."

Offensively, the Colonials scored 28 points in the first half by getting out in transition and wearing the Trojans down with their speed. While they hit just one field goal in the third, they consistently got the line and went 18-of-24 from the line.

Senior forward Haley Luckabaugh paced the team with 14 points and was named tournament MVP. She scored 10 points on Friday against Bermudian.

"Like the papers said, we've got a target on our back,"  Luckabaugh said. "We've taken it pretty well. We know this is the year. Everyone's back. All of the seniors, it's our last year playing together and it's all or nothing. And we want it bad."

Despite the Trojans' second-half offensive struggles, York Suburban head coach Jess Barley remained positive about her team's performance. She agreed with Kunkle that the Trojans were thrown off when New Oxford pushed the pace and kept pressing.

"They sped things up and we had too many turnovers in the front court," Barley said. "Take away the third quarter and the game looks a lot different. I'm proud of our effort."