YORK — Speed and athleticism were the keys that helped the York Catholic High School boys' basketball team dismantle previously undefeated Danville, 61-34, Wednesday night at York Tech.
The Fighting Irish (4-2), the defending champions of the Robert H Griffith Holiday Classic, lost some talent from last year, but it didn’t look like it vs. Danville, setting up a rematch in the final Thursday against Bethlehem Catholic.
“They played pretty good half-court defense, so we had to work, but I felt like this was the best game that we played so far,” Catholic coach Blaine Claiborne said. “We just want to win every game that we step on the court. My guys, we have fun, but we just try to take care of business.”
Seniors D’Andre Davis and Torrey Thomas led Catholic with 19 and 11 points, respectively, and made several highlight plays throughout the game.The pair was responsible for 15 of the team’s 17 first-quarter points, setting the tone for the blowout victory.
“I think Torrey Thomas did a good job in the first half — got us off to a good start offensively,” Claiborne said. “He’s a key for us, because we know we’re always going to have Dre (Davis) scoring, but if we can get Torrey going and supply secondary points, then we’re going to have a good season.”
Danville came out strong to start the second quarter and took the 17-10 Irish lead down to 17-13, but the four-point deficit was as close as the Ironmen would get. Catholic lead 32-20 at the half and steadily pulled away.
“Our game plan was to keep (Jordan Bickhart) and (Coleman Cush) out of the paint,” Claiborne said. “Those two guards, from the film we watched, really did everything for the defense, so we tried to keep them out of the paint.We just tried to run — that’s what we do — run it up and down.”
The Irish win sets up a rematch with Bethlehem Catholic in the final. The consolation game, York Suburban (0-6) vs. Danville (4-1), starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, with Bethlehem Catholic (5-1) clashing with York Catholic at 7:30.
“This is going to be the third year in a row in the championship,” Claiborne said. “They won one, and we won last year. They’ve got really good guards and a really good big man, so we’ll have our work cut out for us tomorrow.”
Suburban falls: The Griffith Classic kicked off with a match-up between Suburban and Bethlehem Catholic, the 2015 tournament champion, with the Trojans looking for their first win of the year.
Despite a strong push before the half, Suburban fell again, 72-46, to the defending District 11 champion Golden Hawks.
“Sixteen of our 21 players are sophomores and freshmen,” Suburban coach Thomas Triggs said. “So we have some growing pains to get through, but we played Eastern York, were up at the half and lost in the fourth quarter. First three quarters we were up against West York and lost in the fourth quarter. I keep telling them being young is only an excuse for so long, though, and at some point we’re going to have to step up and get some W’s.”
Freshman Aidan Hugely had a team-high 16 points.
“Aidan, he’s a freshman, I thought he had a really nice game,” Triggs said. “It was nice to see. We got down in the first half, and then made a little run and took it down to nine (points) at the half.”
Bethlehem, meanwhile, pulled away in the second half. Ryan Young’s 19 points and Justin Paz’s 21 led the way.
“We wanted to come up here and just play our game, which is pressure defense, rebound the ball and get out in transition,” Hawks’ coach Ray Barbosa said. “We were successful with that — we weren’t pleased with the effort and intensity we started out with, but we did what we needed to get the win.”
Dover 68, Red Lion 59: At Dover, the Eagles utilized a balanced offense, with five players scoring 10 or more points, to defeat the guest Lions.Victor Dorm led Dover’s attack with a game-high 18 points, while Elijah Sutton added 15, Brady Bowman chipped in 14 more, Keith Davis recorded 11 and Ryan Hilbert finished with 10. The Lions had three players crack the 10-point mark in Tyler Burchett (16), Jamel Foster (13) and Gavin Watt (11).
Kennard-Dale 59, Hanover 47: At Columbia, Adam Freese led the Rams to the tournament title game by scoring a game-high 26 points. Teammate Craig Potts knocked in 10 points. For the Nighthawks, Kwame Myers scored a team-high 17 points. K-D will face the host school in Thursday's championship.
Middletown 64, Susquehannock 49: At Middletown, Hunter Sentz led the Warriors by scoring a team-high 17 points, including three from behind the arc, in first-round tournament action. Teammate Jordan McMillion knocked in 14 points.
Wilson 50, Central York 42: At Hempfield, Garrett Markey led the Panthers in first-round tournament action by scoring 15 points, including three from behind the arc. Central will face West Philadelphia in Thursday's consolation.
Oxon Hill 57, York High 42: At McCaskey, the Bearcats trailed 16-3 at the end of the first quarter and were unable to recover in tournament action. Kyree Generette led the Bearcats with a game-high 21 points. York High will face longtime rival McCaskey in Thursday's consolation game.
Reach David Barth at email@example.com.