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Central girls find a way, advance past Dover

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After two quarters, the Central York girls' basketball team found itself in an unfamiliar spot.

The Panthers can count on one hand the number of times they've been behind at halftime this season.

And Friday night during their YAIAA tournament quarterfinal, Central trailed Dover by four points.

"I felt like we let the weight of the situation and being the favorite kind of get to us, and we just played way too tentatively in the first half," Panthers head coach Scott Wisner said. "We just talked (at halftime) about getting more aggressive defensively and attacking the basket like we typically do."

The Panthers, who registered just 16 points in the first half, poured in 40 points over the final two quarters. They took their first lead of the game with 3:20 to play in the third quarter and never looked back, earning a 56-40 win at Dallastown High School.

"We played more true to character in the second half," Wisner said.

Central (21-2) advances to play York Catholic in the semifinal round at Dallastown High School at 7:30 on Tuesday night.

Nikson Valencik scored eight of her team high 18 points in the third quarter when the Panthers took control of the game. Central outscored the Eagles, 20-7, during those eight minutes and outrebounded them, 13-5, in the quarter.

Teirra Preston (16 points) and Emma Saxton (14 points) also finished in double figures for Central.

Dover was led by Rajah Fink's 22 points. Rayah Fink added 10 for the Eagles (17-6), who shot just 14-of-43 for the game, after shooting six of 10 in the first quarter when they played very deliberately on offense.

"They are an aggressive team and if you don't try to equal their aggression, you will be down by a lot early," Dover head coach Kevin Glover said. "We played a good first half and the second half, our energy dropped and they started getting offensive rebounds and knocking down shots."