YORK -- It didn't take long for the York Comprehensive High School girls' basketball team to recover from a 64-39 loss to perennial power Dorman in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
"We'll get past this and next year we'll do better in the playoffs," assured sophomore sparkplug Hikeya Davis, who finished with a team-high 15 points. "It was their night."
Using a towering front line and defensive tenacity to their advantage, the state's No. 1 team bolted to a 15-2 first-quarter lead.
To their credit, the Lady Cougars fought back into contention in the second quarter.
Senior Ashley Barron's three-point play against the Dorman skyline made it an 11-point game with four minutes to play in the half.
But the Cavaliers responded with a 14-1 run that included four consecutive 3-pointers enroute to a 38-13 halftime lead.
The Lady Cougars refused to fold their tents, battling the Dorman girls on near even terms in the third quarter and finishing the game on a 16-0 run sparked by Davis.
"Dorman's fast start was difficult to come back from," YCHS head coach Paula Blackwell told reporters after the game. "Our kids played hard from start to finish."
Blackwell made it clear of the Lady Cougars' mindset entering the game.
"We never thought we were coming over here to lose," she stated with emphasis. "If I get to the point that I think we're going to lose before the game, I'll get out of coaching."
The YCHS girls reached the second round with a 51-38 road win against South Pointe.
The cross-county rivals battled to a near standoff in the first half, with the Lady Stallions clinging to a 20-19 lead.
York used balanced scoring in building a 35-29 lead to start the fourth quarter.
South Pointe stayed within striking distance until the Lady Cougars built a double-digit lead down the stretch behind the shooting of senior mainstay Ashley Barron and junior playmaking guard Gina Patton.
Barron led the scoring with 13 points. Patton was next with 9 points and freshman Ashanti Wilson had 8.
Reflecting on the season after the loss to Dorman, Barron said her senior year was special.
"I enjoyed being a part of the team and the success we had," she said. "I knew I had to step up and be a leader."
Blackwell expressed her appreciation for the avid fan support this season.
"We had more fans than the home team in both our playoff games," she noted. "With the loyal fan support and kids playing with character, we have a lot to be proud of."
Blackwell thanked assistant coach Cristi Kemp for assuming a more active role while the head coach was recovering from surgery on a torn Achilles tendon.
"I wasn't able to coach from sidecourt like I usaually do," Blackwell said. "Cristi did a great job.
"The players responded to both of us. We all pulled together."
Blackwell also thanked assistant athletic director John Moorefield for his help at practice during playoff preparations.
The YCHS coach views next season with optimism.
"We basically return our starting five," she said. "Our returning players are ready to work on their game in the offseason."
Barron looks for the Lady Cougars to take home another championship trophy next season.
"The future is bright for this program," she said.