Losing a championship game is always extremely discouraging. Falling by two points, in overtime, goes to another level of discouragement.
Harrisburg outlasted York, 78-76, in a 36-minute, hard-fought clash of city titans that the Bearcats came agonizingly close to winning in regulation.
With the score tied at 68, York had two shots in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, but both rolled off the rim.
The Bearcats also led in the overtime, 76-74, but the Cougars scored the last four points of the game.
"I feel really bad right now, but one shot that rolls in for us, and we're elated, and they're feeling like we are," York coach Troy Sowers said. "My guys, they got themselves out there in front of 6,000 fans, and the way they battled, I'm proud of them. All you can is that you give everything you have, and I think they did that."
Four York players finished in double figures. Tavon Parker led the way with 24 points followed by super substitute Ramel Stephens (17), Derek Wilson (15) and Jahaire Wilson (12).
Parker delivered a perfect bounce pass to Stephen Dickson who scored on a layup at 1:07 of the overtime for York's final points.
Harrisburg's Steven Stoney then knocked down two foul shots at the 59.2 mark to tie the game.
Nineteen seconds later, York High missed a shot, and the Cougars controlled the rebound.
Harrisburg worked the clock down, and Jerel Patterson was fouled with 12.8 remaining on the clock. He hit both shots.
York committed a turnover with just 3.8 on the clock, and even though, Harrisburg failed to connect on two foul shots, the Bearcats weren't able to get off another shot.
York High, distinct champions two years ago, had to settle for runnerup honors this year.
"That's the worst part about a loss, you have to look back and say, what if this happened, what if that happened," Parker said. "You have to live your life with what ifs."
The Bearcats trailed by as many as 12 points in the game (28-16 and 30-18) in the second quarter, but they rallied to close within three at halftime (38-35). Stephens, who was seven for seven at the foul line in the game, contributed seven points in the second quarter, and Derek Wilson supplied six.
"We knew they were going to come back," Harrisburg coach Kirk Smallwood said. "We're 25-2 (going in), they're 26-2, we knew the kind of game it was going to be."
Smallwood's team pulled ahead again, by nine in the third quarter, but the York again responded forging ties at 55, 57, 59 and 68.
Both teams shot very well from the foul line. Harrisburg was 15 of 18, and York was 16 of 21.
Shaquon Sheppard, a 6-3, senior, did major damage down low for Harrisburg by piling up 24 points.
"He (Sheppard) was the difference)," Sowers said. "He was the man down low."
Both the Cougars and Bearcats will now turn their attention to the upcoming state playoffs.
"We lost the district title, but we have to regroup and make a state run," Parker said. "At least, it's not the end of the season."