Delone Catholic girls take command of division with rout of York Catholic

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

McSHERRYSTOWN — After what seemed like an eternity to the York Catholic and Delone Catholic girls’ basketball teams, the two parochial rivals finally met up for their initial clash of the season Tuesday evening at Delone Catholic High School.

With their first tilt postponed due to subfreezing temperatures just before Christmas, the Irish and Squirettes both came into Tuesday’s battle with unbeaten records during York-Adams Division III play this season.

While the records may have included a zero in the loss column for each side, however, it was clear from the opening tipoff that one team was measurably better. The Squirettes raced out to a quick 5-0 advantage and, behind a 21-point performance from guard Megan Jacoby, zoomed past the Irish en route to an impressive 62-37 victory.

“They blitzed us in the second quarter, but they blitzed us in the first quarter too,” York Catholic coach Kevin Bankos said. “You can try to simulate what they bring at practice, but it’s extremely hard. We had eight kids on the floor at practice and tried to (show) how quick and aggressive they were going to be.”

Delone Catholic against West York girls basketball during one of the tip off tournament games in West York on Dec. 3, 2022.

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The Delone girls forced a slew of York Catholic miscues, with Jacoby often the cause and recipient of transition points. The sophomore finished just one point shy of her season high of 22 points set earlier in the month against Bermudian Springs.

“I think we did a great job preparing ourselves for York Catholic,” Jacoby said. “Personally, I was watching film all week. I had study halls all week, but Coach (Gerry Eckenrode) does a good job with his write-ups and he really got down all of the plays. We really shut them down when it came to pick-and-rolls and pick-and-pops. They weren’t really able to get a lot of good shots off, so I think we did a good job with that.”

The Squirettes, who stretched their winning streak to 16 games with the triumph, shot the ball well from the perimeter throughout the night. Freshman Reece Meckley knocked down three triples en route to 15 points, while Ella Hughes, Brielle Baughman and Jacoby also added a 3-pointer each.

The separation started immediately in the second quarter, as Delone busted open an 18-11 contest after one period with 16 straight points to begin the stanza. Jacoby scored all of her 10 points in the period during that blitz, which gave the Squirettes complete control of the contest.

“We played well,” Eckenrode said. “We shot the ball well, which is a priority to get out to a big lead. We did a lot of good things out there, but we need to be a little more sharper passing that ball. But, by and large, defensively we played well.”

Delone Catholic's Kaitlin Schwarz (40) against West York's Landyn Angell (35) during one of the tip off girls basketball tournament games in West York on Dec. 3, 2022.

Kaitlin Schwarz, who was saddled with early foul trouble, added 10 points in the victory while Baughman chipped in nine for Delone (17-1, 8-0 Div III). Meckley, a 6-foot forward, finished with 10 rebounds and six assists in an effort that brought maybe a hint of a smile to face of the normally stoic Eckenrode.

“That’s all?” Eckenrode said after hearing Meckley’s stat line. “She only had 15? She played very, very well, but I mean, all of our kids played well. Kaitlin got herself into foul trouble, but other than that the girls played well.”

For the Irish, it was a rough going for anybody not named Mariah Shue. The York Catholic's top scorer led her team with 15 points, but no other player finished with more than seven.

“I just told the girls this,” Bankos said. “We’ve seen what they have. We (coaches) have to prepare you better from a practice standpoint and now you know what you need to respond to.”

These two teams will likely meet up in the season finale Feb. 6 at York Catholic with the division at stake. The Delone girls — barring an upset — can win a fourth straight D-III title with a victory, while the Irish — barring any upsets — could claim a share of the crown if they prevail.

“We’ll have to regroup,” Bankos said. “We’ll have to figure something different out the next time we play, but the first thing that has to happen is that we have to be ready for their intensity.”

York Catholic’s Mariah Shue, right, moves the ball down the court while Wyomissing’s Maddie Campbell defends 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