In 2016, the York Catholic High School boys’ basketball team won the 28th annual Robert H. Griffith Holiday Classic title against Bethlehem Catholic.
In 2015, Bethlehem Catholic won the championship.
That made the 2017 championship showdown on Thursday, Dec. 28, a best-of-three tiebreaker.
York Catholic (4-3) hung tough, but Bethlehem Catholic (6-1) started fast out of the gate in both halves. Time eventually ran out on the Fighting Irish, with the Golden Hawks taking the tournament title, 67-53, at York Tech.
“It’s tough to get a win up here in District 3,” Bethlehem Catholic coach Ray Barbosa said. “We fought hard, we battled and we were able to open up a lead. It’s hard for the kids to come up here, be away from home, sleep on a different bed and play well in the tournament. It’s always good to get a road win — good for team chemistry and building mental toughness on the road.”
D’Andre Davis led York Catholic with 19 points, including four 3-pointers. Seven of those points came in the first quarter.
“It’s been an ongoing theme for our team, how we start games and how we start halves,” Fighting Irish coach Blaine Claiborne said. “They went out on a (14-4) run at the start of the first quarter and the start of the third, and we just dug too big of a hole.We’re not starting fast enough against good teams, and that’s our issue.”
Bethlehem Catholic big man and Northwestern commit Ryan Young, meanwhile, led his squad with eight boards and 19 points, winning tournament MVP in the process. Teammate Justin Paz led all scorers with 23 and Deandre Gardner finished with 11.
York Catholic was outscored 20-6 in third quarter. Paz put up nine points in the period, and Gardner added seven.
“Ryan got in foul trouble, and we just tried to get the ball to him inside in the third quarter,” Barbosa said. “When Justin scores and we’re able to get Ryan the ball, good things happen.”
Despite York Catholic’s slow start, the team caught up before the first half had ended and, after five lead changes, led 25-24 going into the break. The lead was short-lived after another 6-0 Bethlehem Catholic run, and York simply never got within striking distance after that.
“We’re going to fight, I know that,” Claiborne said. “We’re always fighting, that’s not even a question — the guys are going to play hard. It’s taking us too long to get into the flow of the game, for whatever reason.”
Suburban beaten by Danville: A rough second quarter doomed York Suburban as the Trojans fell 57-44 in the Griffith consolation game, handing the Danville Ironmen (5-1) the No. 3 spot in the tournament.
Suburban (0-6) came out strong in the first quarter, with Anthony Brown setting the tone for the Trojans with 10 of the team’s 14 total points in the period.
Brown finished the game with 11 points, second only to Willie Batty’s 15.
“(Brown) was very aggressive offensively, and gave us some opportunities to score,” Suburban coach Thomas Triggs said. “He stepped up and set the tone for us, and I thought we had a very good start.”
Up 14-10 going into the second quarter, the Trojan offense stalled and Danville took over, going on an 11-0 run to close out the half while holding Suburban to three tallies.
That deficit would prove insurmountable for the Trojans.
“It’s been an issue for us all year — we go through stretches that we just can’t score,” Triggs said. “It seems like we get good looks, layups and such, and just can’t put the ball in the hoop. At the same time, the other team is still scoring at the same rate. It was 17-14 and you turn around and now it’s 29-17.”
“I liked our team effort,” Danville coach Lenny Smith said. “I liked that after getting humbled last night, we put it behind us and put together a pretty solid performance on the court.”
York High 79, McCaskey 62: At McCaskey, holding a trim, four-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, the York High duo of Kyree Generett and Marquise McClean took over and led the Bearcats to victory in the consolation game of the Hagelgans & Veronis Tournament. McClean erupted for 12 of his game-high 23 points and Generett scored 10 of his 21 in the final frame.
Dallastown 64, Manheim Township 59: At Lancaster, Braden Caldwell scored 15 points, while Brandon McGlynn (14) and Nike McGlynn (10) combined for 24 points to lead the Wildcats to the road win.
Central York 79, West Philadelphia 50: At Hempfield, Garrett Markey knocked in a game high 14 points for Central in the consolation game of the Hempfield Tournament. Also for Central, Braden Richard scored 12 points, while Landyn Ray scored 10 points.
Columbia 53, Kennanrd-Dale 45: At Columbia, a game-high 23 points from Meleik Crenshaw helped the Tide capture the crown of their own holiday tournament. Carter Day scored a team-high 16 points to lead the Rams, with teammates Adam Freese (13) and Joey Thomas (11) also scoring in double digits.
Reach David Barth at email@example.com.