WRIGHTSVILLE — There’s no question that the York Catholic girls’ basketball program is one of the best throughout District 3 over the past 15 years.
The evidence is clear from the banners commemorating District 3 and PIAA titles inside of the Fighting Irish gym.
Winning that much for that long has sometimes skewed expectations from fans and parents. Winning is a given, but doing so while dominating is something fans have come to expect.
Winning consistently, however, is not easy, and doing it while being compared to the other great York Catholic teams is even harder.
Which brings us to this year’s team. Coming off its first non-District 3 title season in more than a decade, the Irish are still racking up the Ws this year. They had a chance to pick up another one Wednesday when they faced Eastern York.
At times it wasn’t pretty, but the Irish proved that they still know how to do one thing — win. In an up-and-down battle, the York Catholic girls were able to sustain more highs than lows in a 74-56 triumph.
“You never know how the game is going to flow,” coach Kevin Bankos said after his team improved to 16-4. “They pressured us and we panicked, but we made a recovery. This gym and this team … they’re hard to beat, so I’m happy with the win.”
Junior Kate Bauhof led the Irish with 33 points. The one true consistent scorer for the Irish all season, Bauhof was able to pile up the points —18 of which came in the fourth quarter after Eastern drew to within six points. She did it despite a box-and-one defense employed against her for much of the contest.
What worries York Catholic fans is that no one else really is a consistent threat to reach double figures. Abby Pilkey and Jania Wright both average less than nine points a game and only one other player (Gina Citrone) is above five points per game.
“Come playoff time everyone has one or two (great) kids,” Bankos said. “And a lot of times those cancel out and it comes down to who is your No. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8? And can they win the game against the other team’s No. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8?”
It should come as a good sign for the Irish and their fans that Pilkey poured in 14 points, while reserve Katy Rader matched Wright with eight points.
Bankos, however, pointed to another key reserve.
“Kara Duchek doesn’t get to play a lot and we tell her that she has to be ready,” he said. “She doesn’t do a lot of flashy stuff, but she’s fast on defense and she hit a three there right before the half.”
While the Irish are getting contributions from their role players, the Knights (14-7) are still looking for a consistent presence behind standout Hannah Myers. Their junior leader matched Bauhof with 33 points, but only one of her teammates (Cassidy Arnold, 11) was able to score more than four points.
“Offensively it has to be everyone moving in a motion offense,” Eastern coach Brad Weaver said. “And we stood around a lot. I think we played hard, but I think we need to play a lot smarter.”
The good news/bad news for both teams is that Wednesday’s showdown is just a prelude to their inevitable playoff pairing in next week’s York-Adams League Tournament. Eastern has already secured the No. 2 seed from Division II, which means the Golden Knights will face York Catholic, the No. 1 seed from Division III, when the league playoffs begin Feb. 10.
“We have to go back to the drawing board,” Weaver said. “I thought the plan to go box-and-one on Bauhof was successful at times, but it didn’t quite play out the way we wanted it to. I thought in the second half that our pressure traps were working. But we have a week to come up with a new plan and maybe try some other stuff that we have.”
Bankos figures that every team from here on out will make stopping Bauhof priority No. 1.
“We’re probably going to see (junk defenses) the rest of the year,” he said. “It’s just the way it’s going to be against us, but I’m glad that we had some other kids that stepped up tonight when they had to. They hit some key shots at key times.”
Lancaster Catholic 59, Eastern York 41: At Lancaster Catholic, Danny Bomberger led all scorers with a game-high 22 points for Lancaster Catholic. Bryce Henise paced the Golden Knights with eight points and teammate Seth Bernstein added seven more.
Susquehannock 72, Hanover 47: At Hanover, Adam Hedgeland led the Warriors by scoring 28 points, including five from behind the arc. Also for the Warriors Jordan McMillion knocked in 15 points, while Jacob Mahan scored 10.
District 3 2-A Tournament
Bermudian Springs advances to championship match: The top-seeded Bermudian Springs wrestling team advanced to Saturday's District 3 Class 2-A title match against Bishop McDevitt with two victories at home on Wednesday.
The Eagles got past Y-A League Division III rival Delone Catholic in the quarterfinals, 50-21, before slipping past Northern Lebanon, 34-32, in the semifinals.
The semifinal match went back and forth between the two teams, with the Eagles (21-1) eventually grabbing control with back-to-back pins from Lucas Gladfelter (145) and Ashton West (152) to build an 11-point lead with two bouts remaining. All Bermudian had to do in the final two bouts was avoid getting pinned and it would be into the finals, which it did when Northern Lebanon (16-2) only scored a decision at 160 pounds. The Eagles forfeited the final bout.
Bermudian got pins from Gladfelter, West, Noah Fleshman (220) and Ryan Forsythe (285) in the match.
In the quarterfinal match, Delone (10-5) entered the night as the No. 8 seed, but had to forfeit three bouts.
Dover 42, Littlestown 21: At Dover, Matthew Rodriguez (113) picked up the lone pin for the Eagles. For the Thunderbolts, Corbin Brown (145) and Dylan Morley (195) each picked up pin victories. Dover was helped by seven forfeit victories.
York Suburban 42, York Tech 42 (Suburban wins on criteria): At Spry, the Trojans won the match based on the criteria for greater number of nearfall points (5-3). The Trojans received pins from Daoud Ilayan (126), Anders Thoman (152), Andrew Frey (170), and Adoniyah Johnson (285). For the Spartans, Travis Keiser (145) and Jacob Sharp (195) each picked up pins.
Central York 10, Manheim Central 1: At York City Ice Arena, the Panthers strengthened their hold on the No. 2 seed in the Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League's Tier 2 playoffs. Central York (11-4-2) got a hat-trick from Sean Barba, who also tallied three assists. Seven other Panthers scored a goal each in the rout, with Thomas Knapp and Chase Wagner each adding three assists to finish with four-point games. Central York is locked into the No. 2 seed heading into the playoffs with one game remaining on Friday against Hempfield.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.