YORK -- The York Comprehensive High School girls basketball team raised more than a few eyebrows across the state following a 54-50 overtime win over No. 3 rated Spring Valley in the championship game of the Bank of York Preseason Tournament.
Trailing 50-49 with just over two minutes left in the overtime period, freethrows by junior floor leader Tikierra Anderson pushed the YCHS girls ahead 51-50.
Freethrows by Erika Shannon and Hikeya Davis in the game's final 10 seconds sealed the win.
Junior playmaking guard Gina Patton's freethrow in the waning moments of regulation knotted the score at 47-all, extending the game to a four-minute overtime period.
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Clinging to a 38-32 lead with 5:09 remaining in the third quarter, Spring Valley went into a deep freeze, holding the ball uncontested the remainder of the quarter.
YCHS head coach Paula Blackwell directed the Lady Cougars to line up in a stationary zone as seconds turned to minutes, with the Lady Vikings holding the ball.
"We had nine players and remained in a zone defense to offset their athletic ability and size advantage," Blackwell said of her countermove. "Their shortest player was as big as our tallest player."
With the score tied at 47 in the final minute of regulation, Blackwell praised the Lady Cougars for smart ball movement in consuming the clock for an opportunity to win in regulation.
"Our guards handled the ball well down the stretch," observed Blackwell. "I want our players to do their own thinking on the court. They don't need to look at me."
Anderson, a physical presence inside, said the Lady Cougars remained focused with the game on the line.
"We played smart and never gave up," she said. "It shows how much it means to play with heart."
Added Shannon, "A win like this is a confidence-builder, knowing we can play with the best teams in the state."
Blackwell agrees, looking at the bigger picture when region play begins.
"We were left out of the preseason rankings," she noted. "We've been a loss or two away from winning the region a couple years since moving up to 4A. We want to win the region."
With the Chester High football team competing for state honors, the Lady Cougars' game at Chester Friday was moved to tonight.