In basketball, it's said that size isn’t everything.
It doesn’t hurt though.
In a rematch of last year’s District 3 Class 2-A title contest, the York Catholic girls’ basketball players were well aware of the massive size advantage that the Linden Hall girls enjoyed. The Lions, who rolled to a 56-27 triumph in last year’s final, were able to do it again Wednesday, when the Irish hosted the defending champs.
Led by a 17-point performance from junior Anastayia Astapenka, the Lions held off a late charge by the hosts to claim a 59-50 triumph.
“They’re not just big, they’re athletic too,” York Catholic coach Kevin Bankos said. “We had game film on them from the Delone game (a 54-34 Squirettes triumph on Friday night), but I think that Delone’s defense is better than ours. They were able to cause them to hurry more and cause some turnovers.”
Late Irish rally falls short: Despite all of the size and speed obstacles that the Irish were up against, Bankos felt his team had a chance to gain a measure of revenge from last year’s setback. A 20-point lead early in the fourth quarter was cut to as few as seven with just more than two minutes remaining.
“Yeah, we had every chance to win this game,” Bankos said. “We had 13 missed foul shots (in a 48-44 loss) against Trinity (on Friday) and then 15 missed foul shots tonight (going 22 for 37). And to lose by single digits, that tells me we don’t have to look far to figure it out.”
The interior size of forwards Favour Mbeledeogu and Jumoke Adaramoye — both well over 6-feet tall — proved to be a handful for the smaller YC girls to handle. A half-dozen shots were blocked, while many more were forced to be taken from unusual angles to avoid the towering interior presence of Linden Hall’s seniors.
The saving grace for the Irish came in the foul column. The Lions (3-1) racked up lots of fouls and got into the penalty quickly in each half.
For a good or great foul-shooting squad, that would be ideal. For the Irish (1-2), however, it only put more of a spotlight on an area that Bankos knows his team must improve upon as the season unfolds.
“The effort is there,” he said. “But the kids just need to understand that we have to put the ball in the basket and free throws are called that for a reason.”
Gabby Coley and and Sam Bulik combined to score 31 of the team’s 50 points in the setback.
Coley, who finished with 16 points, converted on 8 of 17 foul attempts. Linden Hall coach Ellen Bair, who is the daughter of Gettysburg coach Jeff Bair, was nevertheless impressed with what she saw from YC’s main post presence.
“She was very good and she knows what she’s doing,” Bair said. “And they utilized her really well. I was really impressed with her.”
Bulik had 15 points.
OTHER GIRLS' BASKETBALL
Eastern York 79, Donegal 49: At Wrightsville, Mara Weaver (21), Victoria Zerbe (15), Addison Malone (14) and Breana Grim (12) each reached double digit in the Golden Knights' nonleague triumph.
Eastern (3-1) scored at least 16 points in each quarter.
Kennard-Dale 40, Camp Hill 27: At Camp Hill, the Rams improved to 4-0 with the nonleague triumph.
Jaedyn McKeon erupted for 22 points to lead K-D. Lexie Kopko added 10 points.
Northeastern 48, Cocalico 36: Logan Jennings pumped in 19 points to power the Bobcats to the nonleague victory.
Jordyn Jennings added 10 points for the Bobcats, who used a 19-8 second-quarter edge to grab the win.
Central Dauphin 44, Central York 32: At Central Dauphin, the Panthers led 31-26 heading into the final period, only to get outscored 18-1 over the last eight minutes.
Emily Prowell and Abby McFerren each had eight points to lead the Panthers.
York Suburban 79, Biglerville 43: The Trojans (2-1) dominated this nonleague contest behind an 18-point effort from freshman Savon Sutton.
Anthony Brown added 13 points for the Trojans. Jorge Cervantes led Biglerville with 12 points, while Drew Parker chipped in 11.
Eastern York 59, Donegal 40: At Mount Joy, the Golden Knights earned their second win in two nights to improve to 3-1.
Trevor Seitz (15) and Tristian Sawmiller (11) reached double digits for Eastern in the nonleague contest.
Warwick 5, Central York 4: At the York City Ice Arena, Central dropped the Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Viola Division battle, despite holding a 41-32 edge in shots on goal.
Kaleb Wyman, Sean Barba, Benjamin Kasper and Cole Schmouder scored for Central. Logan Myers had two assists, while Evan Bean, Joe Raineri and Gabriel Hue had one assist apiece. Justin Meluzio made 27 saves.
Central fell to 4-6. Warwick improved to 5-1-2.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.