York High’s Tavon Parker, center, shoots between Hempfield defenders Drew Johnson, left, and Brandon Criswell. Parker poured in 32 for the Bearcats.
York High's Tavon Parker, center, shoots between Hempfield defenders Drew Johnson, left, and Brandon Criswell. Parker poured in 32 for the Bearcats. (John A. Pavoncello photo)

York High's Round of 16 encounter with Hempfield in the District 3 Class AAAA basketball playoffs was a tale of two remarkably different halves.

The first half belonged to the Bearcats as they connected on 15 of 27 shots from the field (55.6 percent) to open a huge lead (43-21) at halftime.

York, which hadn't lost a home game all season, appeared like it wouldn't have any trouble keeping the streak alive.

Hempfield, though, had other ideas.

The Black Knights found the range from the field in the second half. They knocked down seven three-point shots and ended up outscoring the Bearcats, 45-31.

The rally, though, fell short as York had enough of a cushion to earn a 74-66 victory.

York High’s Derek Wilson, left, drives around Hempfield’s Brandon Criswell. Wilson, who scored 11, was one of four Bearcats in double figures.
York High's Derek Wilson, left, drives around Hempfield's Brandon Criswell. Wilson, who scored 11, was one of four Bearcats in double figures. (John A. Pavoncello photo)

The Bearcats advanced to the quarterfinals where they will take on defending district champion Chambersburg. The game is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Giant Center in Hershey.

"This is what happens in Quad A district playoffs, everybody's good," York High coach Troy Sowers said.

"I was surprised we were up 22 at the half. In that second half, I give more credit to them offensively than to take away from us defensively. They were knocking down shots all over the place."

Hempfield placed three players in double figures, but York did even better with four twin-figure scorers.

Tavon Parker, the Bearcats' leader on and off the court, had a monster game with 32 points, Parker connected on eight two-point baskets and three three-point baskets and was seven of 11 from the foul line.

"For the seniors, this was our last game on this court, and we didn't want it to end in a loss," Parker said.

"When they (Hempfield) started coming back, I didn't think that much about it. I just wanted to keep playing because I know that all good teams go on runs."

Jahaire Wilson (12 points), Derek Wilson (11 points) and Ramel Stephens (10 points) joined Parker in double figures for the Bearcats who improved their record to 24-2.

York High s Ramel Stephens, right, puts a shot up over Hempfield defender Zach Walter in Wednesday night s District 3 Class AAAA game. The Bearcats
York High s Ramel Stephens, right, puts a shot up over Hempfield defender Zach Walter in Wednesday night s District 3 Class AAAA game. The Bearcats advanced with a 74-66 win over the Black Knights. (John A. Pavoncello photo)

Jahaire Wilson, a 6-3 sophomore, delivered four baskets after first grabbing an offensive rebound.

"Jahaire was a man down low," Parker said. "Our rebounding was really good. We had four or five guys with two or three rebounds.

"In the first half, our defense was tremendous, but in the second half, they made shots. They hit three threes in a row, and they were all contested."

Hempfield, which led just once in the game (5-4), got as close as six points in the fourth quarter, but that was in the final seconds. Parker nailed two foul shots with 3.6 seconds remaining to complete the scoring for the night.

"Tavon, wow, he was on fire," Sowers said.

"We ride him when he's on fire. I'll call a quick hitter (to get the ball to Parker) on every out-of-bounds play. Tonight, for him, was an all-around good game. I'll take it."

Sowers and his players will also take the 'W' and hope the experience of having played a highly-competitive opening game will help them as they pursue a district title.

"I don't think we took care of the ball well enough in the half-court set to be district champs," Sowers said. "So we have some things to iron out."

Tyrell Wickersham led Hempfield with 23 points. Drew Johnson supplied 18 points, and Zach Walter, 11.

OTHER BOYS' DISTRICT 3 BASKETBALL

CLASS AAAA

CUMBERLAND VALLEY 47, SOUTH WESTERN 36: At Hanover, the Mustangs trailed by five entering the final quarter, but were unable to rally and dropped the Round of 16 matchup. Mike Duffy led the Mustangs' offense with a game-high 21 points, including three from behind the arc. Teammate Parker Bean scored 11 points. The Eagles shot 16 of 19 from the foul line, while the Mustangs were just 7 for 14. With the loss, South Western has been eliminated from districts and finishes with an overall record of 17-8.

CLASS AA

HANOVER 59, TULPEHOCKEN 39: At Hanover, the Nighthawks led 29-18 at the half and went on to capture the Round of 16 victory. Dylan Krieger led the Nighthawks' offense with a game-high 20 points. Teammate Nick Trish knocked in 18, including four from behind the arc, while Drew Vogel scored 10 points. With the victory, Hanover (14-9) moves on to the quarterfinals to face York-Adams League Division IV rival Delone Catholic on Saturday at 1 p.m. in McSherrystown.

Reach Dick Vanolinda at dvanolinda@yorkdispatch.com