SPRY — The offensive brilliance of Andrew Forjan, combined with a tenacious team defensive performance, shined for York Catholic in the first half of Monday night's game against York Suburban.
Forjan, the Fighting Irish's 6-foot, 1-inch junior guard, outscored the Trojans, 20-18, in the opening 16 minutes of the second game of the Robert H. Griffith Holiday Classic.
York Catholic bolted to a 20-point lead at the break and went on to score a 71-55 victory over its arch-rival.
The Fighting Irish will meet Bethlehem Catholic in Tuesday night's championship game. The The Golden Hawks defeated Danville, 74-56, in the first contest on Monday.
York Suburban and Danville, which met in the final last year, will clash in the consolation game this year.
Forjan knocked down 7 of 9 shots from the field, including three, 3-point baskets, in the first half. He added two more baskets in the second half, was 9 of 11 overall from the line and finished with 30 points..
Forjan joined 11 other players who have scored 30 or more points in the tournament, one of whom is his coach, Blaine Claiborne. Clairborne, who also played for York Catholic, scored 31 points on Dec. 28, 1992.
"I really didn't realize when I was out there how many points I had," Forjan said. "I'm glad to be part of that (the 30-point club), but it (scoring) is not a big deal for me as long as we're scoring as a team."
Forjan said his team delivered its best defensive performance of the season in the first half when it forced 15 turnovers and used an unanswered run of 21 points to grab a commanding lead.
"Defense, that's all we've been doing at practice. We had really good execution and came together tonight," Forjan said.
Claiborne said the team has been working for three weeks on the press it used on Monday.
"Our kids played hard," he said. "We have athletic kids, and we're trying to unleash it."
Claiborne broke into a smile when asked about Forjan's performance.
"He was putting on a performance," the Fighting Irish head coach said. "It's a joy to coach the kid. He's quick, and he's aggressive."
Malik Martin complemented Forjan by scoring 14 points, nine in the second half.
The 6-5 junior is a strong presence in the interior.
"Malik was humongous," Forjan said. "He's.good rebounder and tough post player."
Zach Weinstein led Suburban with 16 points. Donovan Mears supplied 14 points for the Trojans, who outscored the Fighting Irish, 37-33, in the second half.
Central York 51, Wilson 38: At the Hempfield Tournament, Jared Wagner led the Panthers to the semifinal victory by scoring a game-high 16 points, including a 10-for-13 night from the charity stripe. Teammate Nathan Markey knocked in 15 points, including three from 3-point range. As a team, the Panthers shot 20 for 23 from the foul line. Central improved to 9-0 and will face Hempfield in Tuesday's title contest. Hempfield beat Central Dauphin East, 86-65.
Lower Merion 58, York High 55: At the Lancaster McCaskey Tournament, the Bearcats were outscored 35-26 in the middle quarters against the Aces, which proved to be the ultimate difference in the semifinal contest. York High’s Montrel Morgan had a buzzer-beating heave to force overtime, but it clanked off the back of the rim, denying the Bearcats a chance at pulling off the big victory. Jacquez Casiano led all scorers in the game with 17 points for York, while Kris Johnson had 13 and Jayden Iturmendi added 11. York fell to 6-4 and will face West York in Tuesday's third-place contest.
Spring Grove 63, Warwick 49: At Warwick, the Rockets knocked off the tournament hosts to capture the Warwick Holiday Tournament championship. In the game, Spring Grove junior Eli Brooks paced the offense early in the game, helping it open up an 18-point lead after three quarters. In the process, Brooks eclipsed 1,000 points for his high school career. Brooks finished with 25 points. With the victory, the Rockets continue their strong start to the season, improving their record to 6-1.
McCaskey 78, West York 73: At Lancaster, the Bulldogs outscored the Red Tornado 26-21 in the final quarter, but were unable to make the comeback, dropping the semifinal match-up. Kenton Meckley led the Bulldogs by scoring a team-high 23 points, including a 9-for-11 effort from the charity stripe. Also for West York, Josh Bailey knocked in 15, while Austin Frey scored 11.
Kennard-Dale 64, Columbia 54: At the Tulpehocken Tournament, Kyle Wooldridge led the Rams to the semifinal victory by scoring a game-high 18 points. Also for K-D, Jake Deppen knocked in 17 points, while Adam Freese connected for 13 points. K-D will face Hanover for the title. The Nighthawks beat Tulpehocken in the other semifinal, 54-30.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org.