THURSDAY'S BOYS' BASKETBALL: Littlestown beats York Catholic in showdown for D-III title
For the Littlestown boys' basketball team, nothing about the 2021 season felt the same as in past years — until it ended.
Despite the lack of crowds and wearing masks on the court, the Thunderbolts closed out this regular-season campaign in a similar spot as in previous seasons — as York-Adams League Division III champions.
“That’s four straight,” Littlestown senior Jayden Weishaar said. “I have been here four years and got them all. It’s great knowing we finished it off. It just feels amazing.”
Weishaar and his teammates walked off the court chanting “four straight” after a 57-41 road win over York Catholic to claim the divisional crown. The setting and opponent made the victory even sweeter for Weishaar.
The Fighting Irish beat the Thunderbolts in the Littlestown gym during the first meeting of the teams in January. The Littlestown senior had that game on his mind when he stepped onto the court with a chance to close out the title.
“It’s a great feeling,” Weishaar said. “We lost the first game, so we knew we had to come back and get this one. Losing that game was big for me. I took it to heart (and) knew I had to win this game.”
From the opening tip, York Catholic struggled to handle the Littlestown press. Littlestown coach Jonathan Forster came into the game with a plan to force the Fighting Irish to play faster than they wanted to and it worked.
The Fighting Irish scored just 10 points in the first half (trailing 20-10) and were never able to get comfortable on offense early in the game.
“You gotta speed them up,” Forster said. “You gotta get them playing at our pace and we did that at times tonight. When we slowed it down, we defended well. Ten points in the first half defensively is always a great thing.”
The Thunderbolts extended their lead to 14 the third quarter behind solid play from a young big man. Freshman Christopher Meakin stands at 6-feet, 6-inches and his frame created issues for York Catholic on offense and defense.
Meakin scored five of his 11 points in the third quarter and the height advantage he and his teammates had over their opponents was a problem all game. York Catholic sophomore standout Luke Forjan often does his damage around the rim and on offensive rebounds and the Thunderbolts’ height made him work for every point.
Forjan entered the game leading the Y-A League in points per game at 24 and came up just shy of that mark with 19 to lead his team during a frustrating evening.
“Any time you have some size it’s always a great advantage,” Forster said. “We have a lot of guys with a lot of length, they’re very active and they bought into defending. If you can defend, force tough shots and clean up the glass, that’s our goal.”
York Catholic tried to close the gap in the fourth quarter, but the advantage and defensive pressure by Littlestown was too much to overcome. The Thunderbolts spent the final two minutes at the foul line and preparing to celebrate in the visiting locker room.
Jake Bosley led Littlestown with 15 points and Weishaar added 12. Caden Boeckel had nine for the Fighting Irish and Preston Boeckel scored seven.
After finishing a regular season that was delayed and appeared to be in doubt at the end of 2020, Forster was ecstatic for his team that they got to play this year and closed out the regular season with a championship.
“It’s a great feeling for these guys,” Forster said. “They work hard and do everything they possibly can. These guys have been through a lot, like everybody else in the past year. They have adapted and conquered pretty much everything we asked them to do. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Littlestown improved to 14-2 overall and finished 12-2 in D-III. York Catholic dropped to 11-6 and 11-3.
Both teams are headed for the District 3 playoffs. Littlestown is No. 2 in the latest 4-A power ratings, while York Catholic is No. 3 in 3-A.
OTHER BOYS' BASKETBALL
Eastern York 69, Dover 49: At Wrightsville, Micah Myers led the Golden Knights to the York-Adams Division II victory with 15 points. Teammate Tristan Sawmiller knocked in 13 points. For the Eagles, Jacob Smyser scored 11 points.
Dallastown 69, Central York 63: At Central, Dallastown earned an impressive York-Adams Division I road victory. The Wildcats jumped out to a 19-4 lead after the first quarter and stretched the edge to 34-15 at halftime before holding off a second-half Central York comeback attempt. Dallastown improved 10-7 overall and 8-5 in the division. Central is 12-5 and 10-4. Both teams are fighting for District 3 Class 6-A playoff berths. The Panthers are No. 11 in the district 6-A power ratings and Dallastown is No. 15. The top 12 teams in the final power ratings after Saturday's games will make the district 6-A field. Michael Dickson led Dallastown with 25 points and 13 rebounds, while Jadon Green added 16 points and five rebounds and D.J. Smith chipped in 10 points and five assists.
Red Lion 54, South Western 46: At Hanover, the Lions sewed up the York-Adams Division I championship. It's Red Lion's first D-I title since 2008. The Lions improved to 15-1 overall and 11-1 in the division. South Western is 5-8 overall and 5-8 in the division.
New Oxford 52, Spring Grove 37: At Spring Grove, the Colonials took the York-Adams Division I battle to improve to 5-11 overall and 4-9 in D-I. Spring Grove is 0-16 and 0-13. Connor Jenkins had 21 points for New Oxford, while Diarmid Stewart had 20 points for Spring Grove.
Southern Huntingdon 65, Fairfield 54: At Southern Huntingdon, Fairfield was led by Eric Ball (19 points) and Peyton Stadler (13 points) in the nonleague loss. Fairfield dropped to 9-7.
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.Steve Heiser and David VanO'Linda contributed to this report.