Eastern York boys fall to Allentown Central Catholic in state quarterfinals

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

READING — With March Madness beginning Thursday, the Eastern York boys' basketball team was looking to make some history of their own Friday evening. With a victory against Allentown Central Catholic at Reading High School's Geigle Complex, the Golden Knights would be heading to the PIAA Class 4A semifinals for the first time since 2011.

Unfortunately for the Wrightsville boys, the wrong type of madness swarmed the team over the first 16 minutes of action against the Vikings. The Golden Knights were held to a meager eight points in the first half, which proved devastating.

Despite a valiant effort in the second half, Eastern York was never able to get the deficit from 25 points to single-digits. The result was a humbling 60-44 setback that ended the Golden Knights' season.

Eastern York's Carter Wamsley (34) against Allentown Central Catholic's David Fridia (1) in the PIAA boys basketball quarterfinal in Reading on March 17, 2023.

"It was physical," Eastern coach Justin Seitz said. "Watching them on film, I didn't expect it to be that physical. They knocked us off our spot and we got rattled and we didn't adjust."

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The Vikings took advantage, racing out to a 15-4 lead after the first period to set the tone. Despite Seitz's efforts to spark his team throughout the first half, the Knights were limited to just eight points in the first half, six of which came from sophomore forward Carter Wamsley.

The Eastern boys began to dig out from a 33-8 deficit early in the third period. A 13-3 run cut the disadvantage to 36-21 before Wamsley (20 points) hit a layup to draw the Knights to within 13 by the end of the frame.

There was a feeling the Knights could make the Vikings sweat over the final eight minutes, as free throws by Wamsley and Brady Seitz drew the Eastern boys within 11 points on two occasions. However, they couldn't string together stops and scores to cut the deficit to under 10 points the rest of the way.

"We beat them in the second half," Justin Seitz said of his team's 36-31 edge over the final two periods. "Eight points in the first half ... that's going to put you in that spot."

Eastern struggled mightily to find the basket in the first half, especially behind the 3-point line, which has typically been an area of strength this season.

Eastern York's Sam Osterberg (50), left, Austin Bausman (24), in center, and Jack Weaver (32), right, after their loss to Allentown Central Catholic in the PIAA boys basketball quarterfinal in Reading on March 17, 2023.

"We were 0-of-9 from 3 in the first half," Seitz said. "If one or two of those goes in, we obviously have 14 points instead of eight. It just took us awhile to see the ball go in and, at the same time, both us offensively and their solid play and knocking us off our spots that it just took us a little while to settle in, but I don't think it was nerves."

Seniors Austin Bausman and Jack Weaver saw their high school careers come to a conclusion Friday. Bausman, the York-Adams Division II Player of the Year and a Marywood basketball and baseball pledge, finished with just seven points while Weaver tallied three.

Instead of dwelling on the disappointment, Seitz had an uplifting message for his team afterwards. He pointed to the resilience he saw from his team Friday, as well as throughout the year, as a reason that the entire squad has bigger and better things ahead of them.

"They're going to be successful in life," Seitz said. "They could have quit any time, but they kept going on there. It's not an excuse — every team goes through it — but we had injuries and we had kids missing because of sickness and everything, but they stayed focused.

"To be the last team in the county standing and be in the Elite Eight is just a credit to them."