LEWISTOWN — The York Catholic girls' basketball team lost in the PIAA Class 2-A quarterfinals Friday to Bellwood Antis because of a different Catholic school: the University of Notre Dame.
No, the Fighting Irish from South Bend, Indiana, didn't directly cause the Fighting Irish from York County to lose the state playoff game. However, a future Notre Dame women's basketball player did.
Bellwood Antis junior guard Alli Campbell, a Notre Dame commit, was her usual self at Mifflin County High School. She scored 31 points to end York Catholic's season with a 53-47 loss.
"She’s really good," said York Catholic head coach Kevin Bankos. "There’s a reason she’s going to Notre Dame. I’ll cheer for her even harder when she gets there, since I’m a Notre Dame fan, but right now, she gave me a headache."
After a slow start, Campbell scored at least eight points in each of the final three quarters to hold off York Catholic (20-8). She made four 3-pointers, two of which came several feet behind the arc, and 9 of 11 free throws.
"She’s got such a quick first step going to the basket and a floater that you can’t get up to defend," Bankos said. "Even more than that, the kid has a nose for the ball. She’s just a special kid."
Irish slow down Blue Devils: Despite playing without starter Domenica Martello, who Bankos said got sick Thursday night, York Catholic led for most of the first half before entering halftime tied, 15-15, with the defending state champions. The Irish played a 2-3 zone on defense that slowed down the Blue Devils (25-3), holding Campbell to two points in the first quarter.
"Game plans are fun to make, but they’re worth nothing unless someone executes them," Bankos said. "We just executed two game plans that I’m really proud of."
Irish can't keep up in second half: The Irish were still tied with a few minutes left in the third period, but Bellwood Antis made three 3s late in the quarter, two of which came from Campbell, to take a six-point lead heading into the fourth.
"There was a minute-and-a-half spurt (in the third quarter) when there was too much Notre Dame," Bankos said. "Campbell showed us that she was going to put the team on her back for a little bit."
The Irish then trailed by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter but battled back to trail by two possessions with under a minute to go. The Blue Devils knocked down 10 of their 14 shots from the line to hold on for the win.
"I thought they represented themselves really well tonight against a team that has a really good shot as repeating as state champs," Bankos said. "We had them down to the last minute and a half."
Senior class: Bankos said he was proud of the way his senior class, which consists of Gina Citrone, Martello, Katy Rader, Elena Kondrasuk, Sarah Reed and Grace Reed, led the Irish this season.
"When it got to postseason, the seniors really showed their experience. They showed the passion to be part of a program...that’s really special," said Bankos. "They’re like daughters to you by the time they’re done. They're why we’re here in the final eight. Those seniors carried us all year long."
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