York Catholic girls fall; Central York girls only area winner; other Tuesday PIAA hoops

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
717-505-5446/@ydsports
Conwell-Egan's Saniyah Spell, left, and Brooke McFadden pressure York Catholic's Drew Kile in a PIAA Class 3-A girls' basketball first-round state playoff game at York Catholic Tuesday, March 8, 2022. York Catholic would lose 52-46. Bill Kalina photo

“That was a tough one.”

Those words were uttered by York Catholic girls’ basketball coach Kevin Bankos Tuesday evening after his Fighting Irish fell on their home court to Conwell-Egan 52-46.

That probably wasn’t an easy statement for Bankos to make. It was certainly true, however.

Bankos’ statement also applied to nearly all of the York-Adams teams who participated in the opening round of the state basketball playoffs on Tuesday. The area teams went 1-7 overall, with the Central York girls the only team to emerge victorious.

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For their part, the Irish girls had become accustomed to winning easily over the past two decades during the opening round of the PIAA playoffs. Tuesday's Class 3-A contest was anything but easy.

The Irish struggled to string together points all night, a fact that had a lot to do with the significant size advantage that the District 12 third-place squad held.

Despite the disparity inside, which saw the Eagles block more than a dozen shots in the paint, the Irish generally played their game.

They just couldn’t finish.

“Kids get frustrated,” Bankos said. “You have to recognize as a player that they were taller than you and sometimes you just have to pull up and take a different look.”

Trouble at the foul line: To find the biggest factor that contributed to the Irish seeing their season end early, one need look no further than the foul line. The Irish converted on just 10 of 20 free throws against a team that Bankos knew would likely send his team to the line often.

“We told the girls that they will likely get the opportunity to get to the foul line,” Bankos said. “We lost by six and we missed (10) foul shots. At this time of year, you just can’t do that.”

The YC press normally gives teams a lot of issues. That wasn’t so much the case Tuesday. The Irish, who forced more than 25 turnovers, weren’t able to get many over the final minutes of the fourth quarter to mount a comeback.

“Credit to them,” Bankos said of Conwell-Egan. “They had to travel a long way and they executed and they made their foul shots. They got a win on our floor, so that’s a big deal.”

Paige O’Brien led the Irish (12-14) with 13 points. while Katelyn Bullen chipped in eight. Brooke McFadden led the Eagles (12-10) with a game-high 18 points.

A surprising postseason: Despite the outcome, Bankos reflected on his team’s accomplishments, which included trip to the state tournament that not many expected.

With only two seniors — Drew Kile and Gabby Tully — on the roster, the next time the Irish compete should feature a slew of more experienced talent than what they had coming into this season.

“This team is young and for them to get to the state tournament and host a state game was nothing but a big benefit to us,” Bankos said. “It was a challenging year and we’re going to miss (Kile and Tully). They were the glue for our young kids. And I just told the kids that if this hurts, then don’t forget that hurt come the summer, because that’s when you get better. We have to get better over the summer and want it even more.

“That said, I told them that I’m super proud of them. They got a District 3 final game that nobody thought they would get to and they hosted a state game.”

OTHER GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Central York 46, Upper St. Clair 43: At Upper St. Clair, the Panthers took a four-hour bus ride to western Pennsylvania and returned home with a PIAA Class 6-A opening-round triumph. Bella Chimienti’s 14 points paced the winners. Central led throughout, leading 13-7 after one quarter, 23-15 at halftime and 39-31 heading into the final period. The Panthers, the fifth-place team from District 3, moved to 22-6. District 7 runner-up USC finished at 20-6. Central moves on to a second-round contest at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Garden Spot High School in Lancaster County vs. District 1 runner-up Spring-Ford, which won its first-round state game on Tuesday over Nazareth, 43-32. Spring-Ford is now 21-6. Nazareth, the fourth-place team from District 11, fell to 17-10.

Pennsbury 62, Dallastown 46: At Pennsbury, the Wildcats hung tough for a half, forging an 11-11 tie after one quarter and trailing just 27-23 at halftime, but the home team dominated the second half to grab the PIAA Class 6-A first-round win. Dallastown, the fourth-place team from District 3, finished at 21-6. Pennsbury, the third-place team from District 1, improved to 24-3.

Mount Lebanon 50, Red Lion 19: At Mount Lebanon, the Lions were no match for the District 7 champion in a PIAA Class 6-A first-round state battle. Red Lion, the seventh-place team from District 3, finished at 19-7. Mount Lebanon is now 24-1.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

New Castle 63, Northeastern 50: At New Castle, Northeastern saw its season come to a close with a PIAA Class 5-A first-round setback. Karron Mallory led the Bobcats with 18 points, while Chase Kloster added 15 points. Michael Wells poured in 33 points for New Castle. The Bobcats, the eighth-place team from District 3, finished at 16-13. District 7 runner-up New Castle improved to 24-2.

Radnor 75, Susquehannock 56: At Radnor, Jalen Franklin poured in 33 points in his final high school game, but it came in a losing cause for Susquehannock in a PIAA Class 5-A opener. Franklin had five 3-pointers. Susquehannock, the fifth-place team from District 3, finished at 17-9. District 1 runner-up Radnor moved to 22-3. Jackson Hicke had 38 points for Radnor.

Archbishop Ryan 75, West York 48: At Archbishop Ryan, the Bulldogs’ standout season came to an end with a PIAA Class 5-A first-round loss. West York, which won the York-Adams Division II and York-Adams playoff crowns, finished at 24-5 after finishing fourth in District 3. Jaden Walker led West York with 13 points. District 12 runner-up Archbishop Ryan improved to 18-8.

Lewisburg 56, Littlestown 54: At Lewisburg, in a game that was close throughout, the Thunderbolts dropped the PIAA Class 4-A first-round game. Littlestown led 54-52 late in the fourth quarter but couldn’t hold on. Chris Meakin (20 points), Jake Bosley (12 points) and Zyan Herr (12 points) paced the Thunderbolts. Littlestown, the fourth-place team from District 3, finished at 19-8. District 4 champion Lewisburg improved to 23-5.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.