POTTSVILLE -- For the first eight minutes Tuesday evening, the York Catholic girls' basketball team appeared to have met its match.
In the first quarter of the second-round PIAA Class AA state playoff game at Martz Hall, Dunmore scored eight of its nine points in the paint to lead by one over York Catholic going into the second quarter.
The Fighting Irish adjusted by shifting to a 3-2 zone defense to take away Dunmore's inside game. Then York Catholic's leading scorer, Morgan Klunk, got in foul trouble and stayed on the bench for nearly the entire second quarter. Teammate Hannah Laslo soon joined Klunk when Laslo picked up her second foul and went to the bench with 4 minutes, 21 seconds to play in the half.
The 5-foot, 9-inch Echevarria pumped in a game-high 21 points.
"I think we all know that we all need to step up if one player is in foul (trouble)," Echevarria said.
Klunk spent roughly half of the game's 32 minutes on the bench. She picked up her third foul with 7:01 to play in the second quarter and stayed on the bench through halftime. With Laslo joining Klunk in the final 4:21 of the half, York Catholic (26-1) remarkably held its own to take an 18-13 lead into the second half.
Wanting to redeem herself, Klunk led York Catholic on a 6-0 run in the opening minutes of the third quarter to push the Irish lead to 24-13. Klunk hit two free-throws, dished a fastbreak assist to Echevarria and hit a lay-up on the run.
"I was in foul trouble but I just still need to go out there and try," Klunk said. "Even though I had a lot of fouls I had to keep playing."
Klunk hit another
But Echevarria kept pushing the pace and scored 11 of York Catholic's final 24 points. Despite the pressure to step up with Klunk out, Echevarria said she wasn't scared of the moment because she has been in plenty of big games before.
"(I got comfortable) probably (in big games) somewhere last year and especially leading up to this year," Echevarria said. "And it helps having the confidence in the players, too, knowing I can do it."
York Catholic grew its largest lead to 44-26 in the final minutes. The Irish shot a stellar 46.3 percent from
The Irish move on to the state quarterfinals and will next play District 11-AA runner-up Pine Grove (24-4) on Friday night at a site and time to be determined. Pine Grove beat District 4-AA champion Mount Carmel (23-5) on Tuesday, 50-43.
OTHER PIAA CLASS AA GIRLS' BASKETBALL
ST. BASIL 47, DELONE CATHOLIC 40: At Coatesville, the Squirettes saw their season come to a close with a loss in a second-round state game. Delone finished at 20-8, while District 1-AA champion St. Basil improved to 19-8. Allyson Shipley led Delone with 12 points, while Abbey Sponseller added 11. Delone's leading scorer, Maddie Comly, was held to six points. Delone fell behind 9-4 early and trailed throughout the game. The Squirettes were hurt by a 6-for-17 effort at the foul line, including a 1-for-11 effort in the fourth quarter.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.