Troy Sowers has never been shy about the fact he runs his William Penn boys' basketball team in practice. A lot.

Or, as Bearcats senior guard Ryan Matthews put it, "we run more than the track team."

Good thing, because William Penn needed every bit of its conditioning to escape Dallastown's packed gym with a 76-68 comeback victory Friday night. The Wildcats led by nine entering the fourth quarter, before the Bearcats roared back behind a badgering press defense and clutch free-throw shooting (17-of-18 in the final frame).

William Penn outscored Dallastown 31-14 in the fourth quarter, and in the process found one more slice of validation for all those extra wind sprints.

William Penn head coach Troy Sowers yells out to his players in the last minute of the game Friday night.YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS- BIL BOWDEN
William Penn head coach Troy Sowers yells out to his players in the last minute of the game Friday night. YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS- BIL BOWDEN (Daily Record/Sunday News - Bil Bowden)

"After the game, guys were yelling the locker room, 'That's why we run so much, that's why we do what we do,'" Sowers said. "In a 32-minute game, I like our guys' conditioning over any team we play."

Matthews had a team-high 30 points for William Penn (10-1, 5-0 in YAIAA Division I), 16 of those coming in the final quarter. The senior gave the Bearcats the lead for good with two minutes to play when Jevaughn Murphy hit him for a wide-open layup.

"We run a lot, man," said Matthews, who was 12-of-12 from the foul line. "I don't know if there's any team out there more conditioned that we are."

William Penn needed that to fall back on, because for three quarters everything seemed to be going Dallastown's way.

The Wildcats (5-5, 3-3) led by as many as 13 in the second half, buoyed by star junior Four McGlynn's 36 points. The sharpshooting guard nailed five first-half 3-pointers -- each seemingly from further out than the last one.

McGlynn finished 13-of-18 from the field, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. He leads the league in scoring with 23.7 points per game.

"When everything is clicking like it was tonight, we can be a pretty good team," McGlynn said. "Everyone was ready. The crowd was into it. We practiced real hard for this game."

Meanwhile, William Penn's leading scorer, Kelvin Parker, scuffled. The junior finished with 10 points on 2-of-13 shooting, and struggled to contain McGlynn when the two were matched up in the first half.

Down nine entering the fourth, William Penn's pressure defense and transition game took over. The Bearcats forced eight fourth-quarter turnovers, harrying Wildcat ballhandlers and diving for loose balls.

Murphy, the Bearcats' sixth man, was the cause of several of those takeaways, and dished a pair of key assists to help put William Penn ahead.

First, he hit forward Malcolm Murray (13 points) for an easy layup to cut the Dallastown lead to 62-61. Then, after an errant Dallastown pass gave the ball back to William Penn, Murphy found a cutting Matthews to give the Bearcats their first lead since the first quarter.

That was part of an 18-4 run by the Bearcats in the fourth that didn't stop until the Wildcats were out of reach.

The final score was a blow to an impressive Dallastown side, after what coach Troy Smeltzer called his team's "best performance, probably, of the season."

As for the Bearcats, they were happy to escape with a win.

"I knew it was going to be tough," Sowers said. "I told my wife, I told all our kids that this is going to be playoff-like atmosphere battle, and it was exactly right.

"We just imposed our will defensively in the fourth quarter.

Malcom Murray of William Penn blocks a shot by Dallastown’s Bobby Doorn. Murray. A foul was called on the play.
Malcom Murray of William Penn blocks a shot by Dallastown's Bobby Doorn. Murray. A foul was called on the play. (Daily Record/Sunday News - Bil Bowden)
That's what we condition for."; 771-2045

   Murphy 3 2-4 9, Montouth 1 0-0 2, Lambert 1 1-1 3, Kelvin Parker 2 6-8 10, Newby 0 3-4 3, Malcolm Murray 6 1-2 13, Ryan Matthews 8 12-12 30, Efferson 2 2-3 6. Totals 23 27-34 76.
   Gemmill 0 0-0 0, Doorn 3 2-4 8, Ebersole 2 1-2 6, Small 2 1-2 6, Abakporo 1 1-1 3, Four McGlynn 13 5-9 36, Reinalda 3 0-0 6, Mossengo 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 3-4 3. Totals 24 13-23 68. 
William Penn  17  15  13  31 -- 76
Dallastown     18    22    14  14 -- 68

   3-point goals -- William Penn 3 (Matthews 2, Jevaughn Murphy), Dallastown 7 (McGlynn 5, Cori Ebersole, Matt Small).
   J.V. score -- William Penn 61, Dallastown 50.

Also of interest

· Sports book focus on championship York High Bearcat 2008 team.