HERSHEY — For the second night in a row, a top-seeded York-Adams League girls’ basketball team had trouble putting the ball in the basket at the Giant Center.
A night after parochial rival York Catholic had its share of shooting woes in the District 3 Class 2-A title game, the Y-A Division III champions from Delone Catholic followed suit Wednesday in the 3-A title contest.
Taking on a very good and talented Trinity side, the Squirettes were never able to get things going, falling 44-33.
“This is obviously not the easiest place to shoot in,” Delone coach Gerry Eckenrode said. “But they (Trinity) shot the ball better than we did and there’s no question about that.”
It was the second time this season that Delone (now 21-4) fell to Trinity (now 24-2) by 11 points. The Squirettes lost to the Shamrocks 51-40 during the regular season in McSherrystown.
Delone starts slow: On Wednesday night, after trailing early 5-0, the Delone girls were able to pull within 9-6 late in the first quarter. But the No. 2 seed Shamrocks, who feature two NCAA Division I recruits, were able extend the lead to 13-6 by the end of the period. By halftime, the Delone deficit was 28-13.
The closest Delone got in the second half would come when Gianna Hoddinott with a 3-pointer with 2:12 left to pull Delone with eight (38-30).
“It’s hard,” Squirette senior Riley Vingsen said about shooting inside the cavernous Giant Center. “It’s the depth perception when you shoot, and obviously that showed tonight when you watched us shoot.”
Role players step up: Vingsen and Hoddinott are not the two Delone girls that most people would pick to lead the team in a game like this. But the role players certainly stepped up with standouts Brooke Lawyer and Bradi Zumbrum finding it hard to find the basket. Hoddinott finished with a team-high 10 points while Vingsen finished with nine. Zumbrum and Lawyer, meanwhile, were limited to a combined four points.
After missing the district title game two years ago because of an injury, Vingsen played what Eckenrode called her best game of the year. The Delone guard, who scored seven of her points in the second half, was aggressive in driving to the basket, where she twice made layups while being fouled.
“I think I just wanted to win in the end,” she said. “I haven’t gotten this far since sophomore year, and my sophomore year I couldn’t play.”
The Squirettes did everything Eckenrode could have asked defensively. They held the potent Shamrocks to 44 points. Half of those points came from Trinity’s two D-I recruits in Sunshine McRae (12 points) and Kassidy Ingram (10 points).
State playoffs loom: While the disappointment of Wednesday’s setback is a tough pill to swallow, there was a silver lining in the result. As the District 3 runner-up, the Delone girls will begin their quest for a state title on the "west" side of the PIAA bracket against the District 4 third-seed Friday, March 8, at a time and location to be determined.
“This is going to sound crazy, but on the "east" side of the state (bracket), you have Neumann-Goretti, you have St. Basil, who hasn’t lost a game. You have Dunmore who hasn’t lost a game. You have the loser of the Goretti/Imhotep game on that side. You have Loyalsock over here. And I’m going to tell you here that the "east" side is the harder way to go. The "west" side, and not that those teams over there aren’t any good, but they’re not like the teams on the "east" side of the state.”
Littlestown 68, ELCO 34: At Littlestown, the Thunderbolts earned a state playoff berth with their easy victory in the District 3 Class 4-A fifth-place contest.
No. 4 seed Littlestown improved to 24-3. No. 6 seed ELCO finished at 14-12.
The Thunderbolts will now face the District 12 (Philadelphia) champion in a first-round state game on Friday, March 8.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.