SPRY -- The game plan was straight out of Basketball 101.
Hit enough outside shots to pull your opponent out of its zone defense and then focus on getting the ball inside to your forwards.
York Catholic executed the plan to perfection on Thursday night and earned a 67-56 victory over arch-rival York Suburban in the opening game of the Robert H. Griffith Holiday Classic at York Tech.
The Fighting Irish will take on another parochial school, Bethlehem Catholic, in Friday night's championship game. The Golden Hawks defeated South Western, 62-53, in the second game of the doubleheader on Thursday night.
Joseph Rost and Alex Williams scored 17 points each for York Catholic, and Erich Hartman delivered 14 points.
The 6-foot, 4-inch Hartman connected for all of his points in the second half, 12 of them coming in the fourth quarter when the Fighting Irish won the game by outscoring the Trojans, 23-12. The junior converted four entry passes into layups and nailed all six of his attempts at the foul line.
"This was the best game for me on the line," Hartman said. "I usually shoot around 70 percent. This was definitely our best win. York Suburban and York Catholic is a great rivalry."
Rost and Williams complemented Hartman's inside play by each connecting on three 3-point shots.
"We have good 3-point shooters, but we don't want to shoot 3-pointers all the time," York Catholic coach Joe Keesey said. "We wanted to get the ball inside to Erich. He's pretty talented, and we felt we had a mismatch there."
Hartman and Williams accounted for all but three of the Fighting Irish's points in the fourth quarter. Hartman's two foul shots at the 7:19 mark broke a 46-46 tie and put York Catholic ahead for good.
Suburban, though, didn't go down easily. The Trojans pulled within one, 50-49, and were still just four points down (56-52) with 3:45 remaining in the game.
Williams then knocked down a 3-point shot from the left wing to ignite an 8-0 Fighting Irish run that sealed the deal.
Manny McDowell led Suburban with 17 points, and Evan Eberhardinger and C.J. Boxley finished with 13 points apiece.
"York Suburban is a young team, but they're going to be pretty good," Keesey said.
York Catholic, which has won five titles in the Griffith Classic, will bid for its first crown in seven years.
"We hadn't won a game in this tournament in five years," Keesey said. "We have seven seniors, and they made a focal point of getting into the championship. That was huge winning tonight."
Bethlehem Catholic rolls: In the second game, Bethlehem Catholic built a 24-point lead through three quarters and held off South Western in the fourth quarter to move into the title game for the first time.
Darwin Saint-Cyr and Freddie Simmons combined for 27 points for the Golden Hawks, who are making their third appearance in the tournament. Matt Husek, a 6-11 senior, added 10 points for the winners.
South Western's one-two combination of Parker Bean and Mike Duffy accounted for 39 of the Mustangs' points.
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin email@example.com.