Dallastown starting to 'believe' after beating New Oxford
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Dallastown girls' basketball coach Jay Rexroth knew the run was coming.
Taking on New Oxford at home Tuesday, the Wildcats led by 14 points heading into the fourth quarter. Still, Rexroth knew his team wouldn't be able to walk away with an easy win against the second-ranked team in District 3 Class 5A.
He was right. The Colonials opened the fourth quarter on 10-1 run to cut Dallastown's lead to five with about four minutes to play. But unlike previous games this season, the Wildcats answered, holding on for a 59-47 victory.
"We had a chance to beat West York and didn't finish, had a chance to beat York Catholic and didn't finish. This time we figured out a way to finish it," Rexroth said. "We've been in a lot of close games, and I think this has seasoned us a little bit."
The win improved the Wildcats to .500 on the season and boosted their District 3 playoff chances. Dallastown (9-9, 7-2 YAIAA Division I) entered the week in the 12th and final spot in 6A bracket.
Apart from that, Dallastown is starting to look like a contender for the YAIAA title. The Wildcats have now beaten the top two Division I teams in Central York and New Oxford and are on pace to grab one of the division's three tournament spots.
"You've got to believe, you've got to believe you can play with those people, and our kids are starting to believe," Rexroth said. "I hope it gives us confidence, but we've got two days to get ready for South Western. We can celebrate tonight, but tomorrow at practice start focusing."
On Tuesday, the Wildcats were able to limit the Colonials offensively while using their size advantage to score in the post. New Oxford scored just three points in the third quarter and saw its fourth-quarter run end when star Kaelyn Long fouled out down the stretch.
But the surprise of the night came from Dallastown senior Sabrina Stough, who scored 17 of her team-high 18 points in the first half to help the Wildcats build an early lead. An athletic post-player, Stough drove to the basket at will in the first half and grabbed a number of offensive rebounds.
"They definitely put a smaller guard on me and I took advantage of her and went up strong," Stough said. "Just being aggressive inside, some of the baskets I rolled it off my finger and hoped it was going in. It worked out for me."
Added Rexroth: "They had trouble matching up with her, having to leave a guard on her in the post and that was to our advantage. She was unbelievable in the first half. (17 points in one half) was unusual, but it was a great effort and that's what we expect from a senior."
Despite the loss, the Colonials (15-3, 8-2) remain in good position in both the Division I and District 3 standings. Coach James Kunkle said the team can't afford to miss as many layups and free throws (11-of-21 from the line), but that getting a loss out the way might not be bad for New Oxford.
"No coach wants to lose but I'd rather lose now than in counties or districts," Kunkle said. "They were hungrier and had more heart than us tonight."