When the District 3-AAA girls’ basketball bracket was made official early last week, it showed that the York-Adams League Division II champion Susquehannock Warriors were the No. 4 seed.
While such a high ranking is obviously a nice feather in the cap for a successful regular season, it did not, however, come with any type of guarantee.
Wednesday night the Warriors discovered just how tight the Class AAA draw is when they hosted No. 13 seed ELCO in a district first-round clash.
The Raiders, a young and inexperienced group on paper, demonstrated that a seed is nothing more than a computed number. ELCO battled the home team hard throughout the contest, giving Coach Dave Schreiner’s club all that it wanted.
Even after rallying back from a nine-point deficit late in the third period, the Warriors couldn’t get past a pesky ELCO outfit. Trailing by two with under seven seconds left, a buzzer-beating attempt rimmed out, sending the Raiders to a 56-54 upset victory.
ELCO (16-7) will now face No. 5 seed Greencastle-Antrim Saturday at Dallastown High School in a quarterfinal clash. Conversely, Susquehannock’s impressive season came to a disappointing end after a 21-4 campaign.
“We had a couple of chances there at the end,” Schreiner said.
To Schreiner’s chagrin, the fifth-year Susquehannock coach burned his final timeout after his team drew within 55-54 with 61 seconds remaining. That proved to be significant after ELCO’s Taylor Bossert made a free throw with 21.1 seconds left that pushed the Raiders’ lead to 56-54.
The Warriors came down the court and got the ball in standout Ashley Stone’s hands. The senior dribbled and drove toward the basket but lost possession of the ball with seven ticks left.
The home team, however, gained a much-needed steal on the inbounds pass. But without a timeout to call, the Warriors had to rush and Taylor Tannura’s 18-footer hit the back of the rim before time expired.
“Yeah, I would have called a timeout then,” Schreiner said. “But there wasn’t one to be had.”
After a brief pause, Schreiner broached a topic that certainly played a big role in the outcome.
“They could have called a foul though,” he said. “I thought that Taylor (Tannura) got fouled there twice at the end.”
Fouls were definitely not in short supply throughout the night. The two teams combined to shoot nearly 50 free throws. The visitors scored more than half of their 26 points in the second half at the charity stripe (16).
The Warriors, meanwhile, converted on just 50 percent of their 18 attempts on the night. ELCO, on the other hand, connected on 23 of 31 attempts (74 percent).
“I don’t know how many foul shots they made,” Schreiner said, “but it had to be a bunch.”
The visitors clearly were no typical No. 13 seed. They handled Susquehannock’s pressure defense well throughout the night, played solid defense and took advantage of the refs' penchant to blow their whistles.
“That was huge,” ELCO coach Ashli Shay said. “I can’t say enough about our two kids — (Chandelle) Keller and Bossert — knocking down foul shots. (Ryelle) Shuey hit a couple. That’s big for us, especially with how young we are.”
They also withstood an expected comeback attempt from the hosts. After getting down by nine, the Warriors used a 13-3 run to take a 43-42 lead with 6:29 left. The Susquehannock advantage grew to 45-42 after Tannura hit a layup with just more than five minutes left.
But when the game came down to a free throw contest, the trio of Keller (game-high 20 points), Bossert (14 points) and Shuey (13 points) trumped all.
“Our mistakes were to a point where there wasn’t enough time left in the game to make up for them,” Schreiner said. “Time ran out, our timeouts ran out and then all of a sudden you’re on the losing end of a two-point game.”
Stone led the Warriors with 17 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Tannura added 14 in the effort.
The sour ending after such an outstanding season was clearly a disappointment for all involved with the program. But the way the game played out was a familiar one — close to the end — albeit with a different outcome.
“All year we struggled through some games,” said Schreiner, whose club only won two games by more than 10 points this year against teams with winning records. “But we were able to muddle through them. Tonight that didn’t happen.”
OTHER GIRLS' BASKETBALL
Bishop McDevitt 48, West York 47: At Harrisburg, the Bulldogs led 35-29 entering the fourth quarter, but were unable to hold on and dropped the District 3-AAA first-round match-up. Paige Weekly led the Bulldogs with 13 points. Both teams had a lot of chances at the charity stripe, with the Bulldogs going 18 for 30, while the Crusaders were 22 for 38. West York (14-9) has been eliminated from the tournament.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.