York High head coach talks about the Bearcats' loss to Muhlenberg in the District 3 Class 5-A semifinals. JACOB CALVIN MEYER, 717-505-5406/@jcalvinmeyer
York High’s District 3 Class 5-A boys’ basketball playoff game against Muhlenberg on Monday night had everything but the kitchen sink.
Clutch 3-pointers, free throws in crunch time, technical fouls and even a few skirmishes between fans after the final buzzer made the semifinal contest a wild one.
Among the craziness of scoring discrepancies, foul trouble and an ejection, No. 3 York High didn’t do enough in the fourth quarter to defeat No. 7 Muhlenberg, falling 66-63 at home. The Bearcats now fall into the third-place game on Thursday before competing in the PIAA tournament.
“We have two options,” head coach Clovis Gallon Sr. said. “We can feel sorry for ourselves. Or we can talk about the turnovers we had or that we were 50 percent from the foul line. We can use this as something to catapult us into the state tournament.”
York High went 16 of 32 from the charity stripe, with five of the misses in the fourth quarter. They shot a worse percentage from the line and from behind the arc than the Muhls, while also turning the ball over 16 times.
“Tonight, things just didn’t go our way,” Gallon Sr. said. “We have to try to find a way to lick our wounds, regroup and get ready for the third-place game on Thursday. Hopefully, we can use this as a momentum builder heading into the state tournament.”
Foul trouble: Both teams topped 20 fouls in the contest, with the Bearcats (22-4) putting the Muhls (18-8) in the bonus in the first quarter. Muhlenberg made 23 of its 39 free throw attempts, with 11 of the misses coming in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t want to beat up on officials publicly. That’s not who I am,” Gallon Sr. said of the Mid-Penn crew. “... I told the kids we can’t control the way the game was officiated.”
Six of York High’s nine players who appeared in the contest tallied four or more fouls, with Jaevon Woodyard fouling out and Seth Bernstein being ejected in the fourth quarter. Gallon Sr. said the foul trouble presented major problems for his team.
Marquise McClean had two fouls early in the game, causing him to sit out for the rest of the first half. With the Bearcats in foul trouble, Dayvon Cortez and Woodyard led York with 21 of the Bearcats’ 31 points in the first half. Despite trailing for much of the half, York High entered halftime tied at 31. Originally, the scoreboard gave Muhlenberg a 31-29 lead, but a closer look at the scorebook later gave the Bearcats a 31-31 tie going into the second half.
Technical fouls: While the game was complex, Gallon Sr. said the main reason his team lost was the three technical fouls his team was given.
The first was on McClean, who tossed the basketball at a Muhlenberg player after he was pushed. The second was on Cortez, who was accused by an official of giving him the middle finger. The third was a flagrant foul on Bernstein, who was then ejected after his third hard foul of the night. He will have to sit out the third-place game on Thursday.
The back-breaker was Cortez’s technical. Down by two points, the Bearcats had a chance with about 15 seconds left to tie or take the lead, but Clovis Gallon Jr., who led his team with 16 points, was called for a charge while driving to the hoop with about 10 seconds left.
Cortez was then hit with a technical after the inbounds play, which turned Muhlenberg’s two free throws into four foul shots and possession. Gallon Sr. said Cortez told him that he didn’t give the gesture the official accused him of, and the coach said after the game that he will “stand by him that he didn’t do that until the day I die.”
“(Dayvon) wouldn’t do that. He didn’t do it. … He has very high character. His father was sitting up in the stands right there. We don’t teach our kids to behave like that. … For (the official) to say something like that, I’m disappointed. It says a lot about the integrity of that guy.”
3-point shooting: Muhlenberg came out on top thanks to its 3-point shooting. They went 9 for 15 from behind the arc, making more 3-pointers than 2-pointer. Fifty of the Muhls’ 66 points came from behind the arc or at the charity stripe.
The biggest 3 of the night came late in the fourth quarter from Jacob Stoudt to put the Muhls up five. He led all scorers with 17 points, including five 3-pointers.
“Those guys made some big shots,” Gallon Sr. said. “They have some kids who could knock down some open 3-point shots. They shot the ball well from the perimeter.”
Playoff bracket: York High now drops into the third-place game at home on Thursday evening vs. No. 4 seed Northern York (22-4). Northern lost its semifinal on Monday at No. 1 seed Lower Dauphin, 51-33.
Muhlenberg has already upset the No. 3 seed (York) and the No. 2 seed (Lampeter-Strasburg). The No. 1 seed (Lower Dauphin) looms in the district final at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Giant Center.
Littlestown 85, Eastern York 53: At Wrightsville, Jayden Weishaar scored a new career high of 30 points to lead the visitors to the win in a District 3 Class 4-A consolation game
Logan Collins added 17 points, 10 assists and six rebounds for the winners. Demonte Martin led Eastern with 12 points.
No. 4 seed Littlestown improved to 23-3. Top-seeded Eastern sees its season end at 19-6.
Littlestown advances to the fifth-place game on Wednesday vs. No. 6 seed ELCO (14-11). With a win there, Littlestown will secure a state playoff berth. ELCO beat No. 7 seed Octorara on Monday, 51-48.
Lampeter-Strasburg 65, Northeastern 33: At Lampeter-Strasburg, the Bobcats fell behind early and could never catch up in a District 3 Class 5-A consolation game.
No. 11 seed Northeastern fell to 14-11. No. 2 seed L-S improved to 22-4.
The Bobcats, who have already clinched a state berth, will play in the seventh-place game on Thursday at home vs. No. 12 seed Garden Spot (16-11), which lost its consolation game on Monday vs. No. 9 seed Elizabethtown, 63-46.
Andrew Brodbeck led Northeastern with eight points.
Milton Hershey 66, Gettysburg 39: At Hershey, the Warriors' season came to an end with a District 3 Class 5-A consolation loss.
The No. 14 seed Warriors finished at 13-12. No. 10 seed Milton Hershey improved to 18-7.
Zach Ketterman led Gettysburg with 14 points, while Josh Topper added 10.
Cocalico 43, New Oxford 42: At New Oxford, the Colonials' season ended with a District 3 Class 5-A consolation setback.
No. 5 seed New Oxford finished at 20-8. No. 16 seed Cocalico improved to 15-10. Cocalico rallied from 13 down at halftime.
Abdul Janneh led New Oxford with 17 points.
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at email@example.com.