The York Suburban boys' basketball team is headed to the state playoffs, and they did it the hard way and the exciting way.
The Trojans clinched their PIAA berth with a wild 87-82 triumph over visiting Hershey on Thursday night in the District 3 Class 5-A ninth-place game.
It was a must-win contest for both teams. The winner advanced to the state playoffs. The loser saw its season end.
Suburban, after falling in the first round of districts to York High, battled its way through the consolation bracket by earning three straight wins.
The third of those victories won't soon be forgotten.
The Trojans led Hershey 50-47 after three quarters, only to see both offenses explode in the 72-point fourth period. In the end, Suburban outscored Hershey 37-35 in the final eight minutes to secure the win.
Aidan Hughley (22 points), Anthony Brown (20 points), Chris Spellman (16 points) and Savon Sutton (16 points) led the Trojans. Spellman had 10 points in the fourth quarter, while Sutton added nine. Hughley and and Brown each had six points in the final period.
That balanced effort helped offset a 39-point outburst by Hershey's Jackson Mascari, who had 20 points in the final quarter alone.
In the foul-heavy game, Suburban was 27 for 35 at the foul line, while Hershey was 20 for 33. That proved to be a crucial edge for Suburban. There were 45 total foul shots in the final quarter.
Suburban had 10 3-pointers, including four from Spellman and three from Sutton.
No. 10 seed Suburban improved to 19-7. No. 16 seed Hershey saw its season end at 13-12.
Central York 71, Cedar Crest 54: At Central, the No. 2 seed Panthers rolled in the District 3 Class 6-A third-place game to improve to 23-4. Evan Eisenhart poured in 24 points for Central, while Gabe Guidinger added 18. No. 4 seed Cedar Crest fell to 23-5. Both teams will advance to the state playoffs.
York High 87, Shippesburg 65: At Shippensburg, the Bearcats dominated the Greyhounds in a District 3 Class 5-A fifth-place game. No. 7 seed York improved to 19-8. No. 5 seed Shippensburg fell to 19-8. Both teams are headed to the state playoffs.
New Oxford 63, Northern York 60: At New Oxford, the No. 2 seed Colonials rallied for the win in the District 3 Class 5-A third-place contest to improve to 24-5. Abdul Janneh (21) and Brayden Long (20) combined for 41 of New Oxford's points. No. 4 seed Northern York dropped to 20-6. Both teams move on to states.
Elizabethtown 71, Gettysburg 41: At Gettysburg, the Warriors' late-season swoon continued with an ugly loss in the District 3 Class 5-A seventh-place game. Charles Warren had 11 points for Gettysburg, while Taysean Foster had 10. No. 1 seed Gettysburg dropped to 23-4. The Warriors have lost four of their last five after a 22-0 start. No. 6 seed Elizabethtown improved to 19-9. Both teams will advance to the state playoffs.