HERSHEY — Unpredictable and unforgettable.
Both adjectives fit when describing York High's run to its second District 3 Class AAAA championship in the past four seasons.
The youthful Bearcats, who don't have a senior starter (three sophomores and two juniors) completed their amazing quest on Saturday with a stirring 54-52 comeback victory over Cedar Crest.
Kristopher Johnson delivered the game-winning shot when he connected on a jump shot from just to the left of the foul line with only four seconds remaining in the game to break a 52-52 tie.
Johnson's bucket capped a rally during which York High wiped out a 14-point deficit (44-30 with 2:40 left in the third quarter).
"When I saw him (Cedar Crest's Andrew Eberhart) backing off, I shot it," Johnson said.
"I knew it was going in."
Johnson and his teammates turned the tide in the title game with clutch shots and tenacious defense (York outscored Cedar Crest, 16-5, in the fourth quarter).
"We always stress that it's a 32-minute game," Johnson said. "Everyone was still confident even when we were down."
The Bearcats' pressure defense forced six turnovers in the fourth quarter.
"We saw that they were handling our sagging man (man-to-man defense) pretty well," York's Trey Shifflett said. "We felt we could get what we wanted better through pressure."
Shifflett, a 5-11, sophomore, led all scorers with 21 points. He connected on four three-point shots for the game and scored nine of the Bearcats' points in the fourth quarter.
"When Trey's in a big game, it's Trey Shifflett time," York High head coach Troy Sowers said.
Shifflett called Saturday's victory one he won't forget.
"It relieves a lot of pain from the county championship game (York lost, 59-41, to Central in that game). I'm going to enjoy this."
The loss to Central is the Bearcats sole' setback in the past 15 games.
"When we were 8-5 this year, it was like the sky was falling down, and the naysayers starting coming around," Sowers said. "Winning the district title is quite satisfying. I didn't anyone picked us to be here (in the championship game)."
York High entered the 16-team tournament as the No. 8-seeded team.
Sowers called the victory the best in his eight seasons as the team's head coach.
"No. 1, district titles don't come around very often. We won that (district championship) game with Red Land in 2011, but we were ahead most of that game."
In addition to Shifflett, Jahaire Wilson finished in double figures for York with 13 points.
"Wilson had to sit the very last part of the third quarter and first two and one-half minutes of the fourth quarter with foul trouble. However, he contributed two of York's last three baskets of the game, one on a layup and another on rebound.
Following Wilson's putback with 1;37 to play, Cedar Crest was called for a charging foul, giving the ball back to York with 1:13 left in the game.
The Bearcats ran the clock down to 20.9 seconds before calling a timeout.
A little more 16 seconds later, Johnson's jumper dropped through the net.
"Kris made the big shot for us, but it was a total team effort," Sowers said.
York High (22-6) will now move on to the state tournament where it will take on Haverford in the opening round. The game is scheduled for next Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
Tickets for the game will be on sale in the York High athletic office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The cost is $6 for adults and $3 for students.