York Catholic girls' basketball sees mistakes prove costly in loss to Wyomissing

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

Kevin Bankos knows it. And so does his York Catholic girls’ basketball team.

Knowing it and showing it, however, are two different things with regards to how the Fighting Irish performed and executed Tuesday evening.

Bankos whole-heartedly believes his team is capable of playing the type of great basketball that could earn a championship, yet the evidence on the floor was invisible Tuesday.

Taking on a highly-touted Wyomissing program on their home court, the Irish were at times very good. Unfortunately, there were far too many moments when Bankos’ team looked more like an intramural squad than a team many believed to be contenders to capture the York-Adams League Division III title.

The numbers backed that up, as York Catholic committed a whopping 24 turnovers that often short-circuited good scoring chances. Another 13 missed free throws certainly didn’t help. In total, those numbers mixed together added up to a 55-45 setback to a Wyomissing squad that improved to 9-0 on the season.

York Catholic’s Kathleen McKeague, left, works to get past Wyomissing’s Annie McCaffrey during girls basketball action at York Catholic Middle & High School in York City, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. Wyomissing would win the game 55-45. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“We had 24 turnovers and I'd bet that 17 or more were unforced,” Bankos said after his team dropped to 5-2 on the campaign. “If you have 17 turnovers against them — heck, against anybody — you’re not going to win.”

Things spiraled downward in the third period, as the Spartans took advantage of everything the Irish gave them and then some. The visitors from Berks County outscored the hosts by a 20-11 clip to extend their advantage to 50-24.

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Despite that big deficit, the Irish had plenty of chances in the fourth quarter to make it close. The Spartans turned the ball over 10 times in the period. Wyomissing also got into foul trouble that put the Irish in the double-bonus over the final eight minutes.

The York Catholic girls took advantage — they won the final period 19-5 — but easily could have been down by the low single-digits had it not been for missed free throws and those pesky turnovers.

“You can’t really get behind that far,” Bankos said. “And I did the math for them: 13-for-26 from the foul line and 4-for-22 beyond the 3-point line and 24 turnovers. You cut any one of them in half and there’s your points. I mean, if we had just 12 turnovers, that’s probably at least 18 points (plus and minus) and we’re right there in the game with them.”

York Catholic vs. Wyomissing during girls basketball action at York Catholic Middle & High School in York City, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. Wyomissing would win the game 55-45. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The concern that Bankos has with his team right now could be excused if one were to simply point out that his team’s two losses (Tuesday’s along with last Thursday’s 59-27 defeat against a 10-0 Central York side) came against teams with a combined 19-0 record.

Bankos, however, is not having any of it.

“We just have to have confidence stepping up there (in big games) and right now, we don’t,” the coach said. “We have to understand that we’re not young anymore. These kids have been through some tough times, but it’s time for them to start turning it around and they just need that confidence to do it.”

The Irish won’t lack for more opportunities between now and the regular season. A pair of showdowns against parochial rival Delone Catholic remain on the schedule, as do non-league battles with Columbia, Northern York, Trinity and Berks Catholic.

“I’ve told them that we’re playing the schedule that we need to play,” Bankos said. “There’s not much more I can say other than we need to get better.”

Meredith Smith led the Irish with 17 points, while Paige O’Brien chipped in 13 in the loss. Amaya Stewart led the Spartans with 15 points.