York Catholic boys top York Suburban, move to final

York Dispatch

SPRY — Energy was at the top of Blaine Claiborne's to-do list for his York Catholic boys' basketball team going into Wednesday night's game against arch-rival York Suburban.

Claiborne didn't see enough of his team's up-tempo style during the first half of the contest, the second game of the Robert H. Griffith Holiday Tournament at York Tech.

"Our students were here, but it's not like being at home, so we needed to provide our own energy," Claiborne said. "Suburban was playing at a slower pace, and we definitely needed to pick up the pace, and we did in the second half."

The two halves provided a tremendous contrast.

After scoring 25 points in the first half and leading by 11 at halftime, the Fighting Irish racked up almost twice as many points in the second half.

Final score: York Catholic 73, York Suburban 43.

In the final half, the Fighting Irish consistently forced turnovers and looked to push the pace at every opportunity.

"Coach told us not to play their game and to speed the game up," York Catholic senior Melik Martin said. "It was our goal to push the ball up the court."

York Catholic achieved its goal and earned its sixth victory in a row.

The 6-foot, 4-inch Martin led all scorers with 22  points. He finished off fast breaks and used a variety of moves to score from in the paint.

D'Andre Davis complemented Davis with 19 points, and Torrey Thomas supplied 14 points for the winners. Davis and Thomas each knocked down two 3-point shots.

Andrew Forjan, who scored 30 points against York Suburban in last year's tournament, didn't have a lot of points (five), but he provided an outstanding floor game with his passing.

"It shows how unselfish he (Forjan) is," Martin said. "I commend Andrew. Everyone is buying in (to the team concept)."

For the second straight year, York Catholic will take on Bethlehem Catholic in the title game.

The Golden Hawks defeated Danville, 67-54, in Wednesday's other semifinal.

The Fighting Irish are bidding for their first Robert H. Griffith Tournament championship since 2005.

"I told them (the players) at practice that we haven't won this tournament in about 10 years," Claiborne said. "I said, 'let's get this one, and we can put it down with a list of achievements at the end of the season.'"

Luke Babinchak, a 6-3 sophomore, led Suburban with 15 points. Babinchak connected on four 3-point shots.

Reach Dick VanO'Linda at sports@yorkdispatch.com.