Although the outcome had been decided long ago, York Suburban coach Jess Barley wanted to make sure her Trojans soaked in the playoff atmosphere that permeated the Trojans’ gym Wednesday night by huddling at mid-court following the final horn.
“Normally, the rule is the kids go right in the locker room after the game, but I told them we’re going to center court after the game and I said, ‘Hey, just take five seconds and look around at the atmosphere and the support we got from the community and students,’” she said after No. 8 seed York Suburban defeated No. 9 Susquenita, 53-28, in the opening round of the District 3-AAA girls' basketball tournament. “We haven’t seen that here on the girls’ side in years, and I told them this is because of them. We have great players, they work hard and they’ve bought into the process and seen it through and I told them it was because of their hard work and heart.”
It was the first time Suburban had hosted a girls’ district game in 10 years, ironically against the same Blackhawks a decade ago. Last year, the Trojans were the No. 9 seed and beat Fleetwood in the first round before losing to then No. 1 seed West York in the quarterfinals.
“The atmosphere was amazing," said Suburban’s Molly Day, one of just three seniors on the roster. “I was here when we won just three games in one season and this year we’ve won 18. It’s a great feeling knowing the program is headed in the right direction, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
York Suburban (18-5) will meet No. 1 seed Berks Catholic (19-4), a 36-16 first-round winner over Twin Valley, in a quarterfinal-round contest at 6 p.m. Saturday at Garden Spot High School.
Starting well: Although the Trojans hadn’t played for 11 days and had lost their last two games, they jumped out to a 12-0 advantage. The Blackhawks didn’t score until the final seconds of the first quarter. Katie Humphrey (16 points) finally got Susquenita’s first basket in the first minute of the second quarter and followed that up with the first of her four 3-point baskets seconds later to cut Suburban’s lead to 12-6. But the Trojans took control again and led 22-9 at halftime, thanks to five points by Day in the final two minutes of the half.
Day, who is usually the Trojans’ top scorer, tallied just eight points. Sophomore Ali Reinecker (13 points), Parker Faircloth-Henise (12 points) and Olivia Gettle (10) were Suburban’s top scorers.
“That’s one of the great things about our team, we have other people who can step up,” Barley said. “They were playing that triangle and two against Georgia (Dumars) and Molly so that kind of limited them, but both of them do so much for us. Molly brings the ball up, she passes, she rebounds and she’s very intelligent for us, while G (Dumars) did a great job on defense (against Humphey) all night. Humphrey got a few good looks at the end, but Georgia did a lot of good things defensively for us tonight.”
Suburban continued to roll in the third quarter, when as it enjoyed a 36-15 lead after three quarters. Susquenita scored the first five points of the final quarter to make it 36-20, but it was too little, too late. Reinecker scored seven consecutive points midway through the period to put the game out of reach.
“We had a really good eight or nine days of practice, and we put in some new things,” Gettle said. “We scouted them and we felt like we were really prepared. We were pumped up to start and we just tried to keep pushing throughout.”
Now it’s a match-up with the top team, Berks Catholic.
“It’ll be two great teams,” Barley said. “We’re not going to flinch, we’re going to be ready to go.”
Reach George Hammond at firstname.lastname@example.org.