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Shorthanded York Suburban girls drop district final to Greencastle-Antrim

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

HERSHEY — Playing with a 100% healthy lineup would have been the most ideal of circumstances for the York Suburban girls’ basketball team Thursday afternoon. Facing top-seeded Greencastle-Antrim in the District 3 Class 5A final at the Giant Center, though, the Trojans were not playing with a full deck.

A broken arm suffered by standout Alyssa Dougherty in Monday’s semifinal victory over Northern York forced the team’s leader on the court to the sidelines for the York Suburban program's first-ever district title contest appearance.

York Suburban teammembers watch as Greencastle-Antrim collect their first place trophy in the PIAA D3C5A girls basketball final in Hershey on Thursday, March 2, 2023.

“It’s just heart-wrenching,” a teary-eyed Trojan coach Jess Weaver said. “After she worked so hard to come back from her ACL (injury) last year ... and she’s a senior, so she not only gives us 10 points and 10 rebounds a game, which is impossible to replace, but she’s a senior leader and the soul of the team.”

To make things worse, junior guard Janay Rissmiller was also on the mend after having the nail on the big toe of her right foot removed Wednesday. Rissmiller, however, toughed it out to be in the starting lineup for the rematch with the Blue Devils, who defeated Suburban 52-48 nearly a month ago to close the regular season.

With everything against them, the Trojans needed to play nearly perfect in the final. While they tried, they were burned by the Greencastle duo of Haley Noblit and Rylee Henson, who combined for 31 points to lead Greencastle to a 42-30 victory.

York Suburban's Janay Rissmiller (4) against Greencastle-Antrim's Haley Noblit (1) girls basketball district 3 class 5a final in Hershey on Thursday, March 2, 2023.

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“We were on the losing side tonight, but I was so proud of how we fought to the end,” Weaver said. “We started a senior, a junior and three sophomores, and I think Sophia Redman (who filled in for Dougherty) stepped in and did an excellent job.”

The Blue Devils (23-2) changed things up from the previous matchup with the Trojans. In early February, G-A opted to play zone which caused the Trojans a ton of issues. Without Dougherty, the Devils played an aggressive man defense that put pressure on the York Suburban ballhandlers.

“That was a good game plan with going man against us,” Weaver said. “With Alyssa being out, (Devils coach Mike Rhine) knew we were going to be minus a ballhandler, and that pressure and speed got to us a little bit, and we couldn’t get into as many sets as we wanted to.”

York Suburban's Lydia Powers (12) against Greencastle-Antrim's Mia Libby (12) and Callie Izer (10) in the girls basketball district 3 class 5a final in Hershey on Thursday, March 2, 2023.

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The Suburban girls kept the deficit manageable with their traditionally tough defense. The problem throughout the contest was their inability to string together stops and points, which began from the opening whistle. The Trojans didn’t register their first points until after falling behind 11-0.

“It seemed like every time we got a stop and needed a basket, we just didn’t finish,” Weaver said. “And we just kind of dug ourselves a little hole, and at this level, against a team like that, it’s really difficult to dig yourself out of it.”

Weaver knew that she and her team were in a tough spot without either of their leading scorers at 100%.

“Janay was at, I would say, like 40%,” Weaver said. “We could barely get her out there (on the floor) before the game and she wasn’t even wearing shoes. She’s one of the toughest kids that I’ve ever coached, and she battled every second that she was out there.”

Rissmiller still led the Trojans with nine points, while sophomore Lydia Powers finished with eight. York Suburban (18-9) will host the No. 6 team from District 7 (WPIAL) next week in its Class 5A state tournament opener.