THURSDAY'S DISTRICT 3 BOYS' BASKETBALL: York Suburban knocks off No. 1 seed Northern York
Eight days after York Suburban suffered its worst loss of the season against Northern York, the Trojans returned to Dillsburg, set on seeking revenge.
In the first meeting, the Polar Bears picked up a 17-point win, but the Trojans didn’t have guards Camden Brewer and Avant Sweeney. In the rematch, Brewer was back in the lineup at his point guard position and had a pregame message for his teammates to add to their motivation.
It seemed to have worked. York Suburban earned a 55-41 win over previously undefeated Northern York (18-1) and earned a District 3 Class 5-A semifinal berth.
“Do you wanna go home happy because you got another game, or do you wanna go home thinking about all those memories and being sad?” Brewer said. “We were just fired up. We wanted to get back at them and we got the win, so we’re happy.”
No. 8 seed Suburban (15-4) made it obvious how important its two guards are to the team. Brewer and Sweeney split time on Northern York guard Jordan Heisey, who entered the game averaging 15 points per game. Mitch Kemp, Suburban's first-year head coach, asked the pair to face guard Heisey in the fourth quarter and it worked.
The Polar Bears went ice cold to open the final eight minutes, while the Trojans continued to turn steals into easy points and build a lead. It took more than five minutes for Northern York to score in the fourth quarter. Heisey finished with six points and had just one point in the fourth quarter, when Suburban outscored Northern by 12 to lock up the win.
“We wanted to cut the head off the snake,” Kemp said. “I think (Heisey) is that for them and when we do that I think we have a good chance to win.”
Brewer finished with 13 points, but Kemp said the junior guard’s impact is felt way beyond his stats. When Brewer isn’t in the lineup, the team is not only without one of its best players, but the person who ensures that things don’t get out of control on the court.
“Missing Cam is crucial,” Kemp said. “Outside of the scorebook and the points, Cam is a leader. He’s a warrior (and) works his butt off. I think people look to him when things (get) tough and he can calm everyone down.”
Suburban seniors Alon Gorham and Aidan Hughley joined Brewer in double figures with 15 and 12 points, respectively. While the talented trio usually score most of the Trojans’ points, Kemp made it clear that the upset win was a team effort.
Players such as Isaiah Pineda and Brady Stump grabbed big rebounds and made plays that allowed Brewer, Gorham and Hughley to score.
“Those are the types of kids that you need to have a full, complete team,” Kemp said. “You usually have two or three scorers, you have some rebounders, some hustle guys and you gotta complete the whole team. You can’t just have a few all-stars. We’re a complete team from head to toe.”
Brewer said the Trojans got too confident after winning a game in the state playoffs last year and the experience has changed their outlook on the team’s current postseason success. After beating the top team in the bracket, Brewer and his teammates know the work must continue or the wins will stop.
“It’s exciting we beat the No. 1 team, but at the same time we gotta look at how we beat the No. 1 team,” Brewer said. “Which was crazy preparation by coach Kemp and crazy preparation by our players watching film, working hard in practice even though we’re sore. So it’s all kudos to my teammates and coaches for getting us prepared.”
Up next is another road challenge at No. 5 seed Cocalico (15-4) on Tuesday. The Eagles collected a 39-36 victory over No. 4 seed Hershey (13-5) on Thursday.
After a pair of intense, clutch performances and playoff victories in his first two postseason games leading the Trojans, Kemp is confident his crew has what it takes to keep its winning ways going.
“With the group that I have and the experience that we have, I have the most confidence in the world in this group,” Kemp said. “I truly believe we can match and compete with any team in the state.”
OTHER BOYS' BASKETBALL
Littlestown 53, Oley Valley 46: At Littlestown, the Thunderbolts advanced to the District 3 Class 4-A semifinals. Jayden Weishaar led Littlestown with 21 points. Jake Bosley added 12 points for the winners. Littlestown built a 29-13 first-half lead and then held on for the win. No. 4 seed Littlestown improved to 16-3. No. 5 seed Oley Valley finished at 12-5. Littlestown will travel to No. 1 seed Wyomissing (12-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a district 4-A semifinal. Wyomissing beat No. 8 seed Trinity on Thursday, 52-49. Trinity finished at 10-7.
Susquehanna Twp. 75, Kennard-Dale 60: At Central Dauphin East, the Rams' season ended with a District 3 Class 4-A quarterfinal loss. Drew Dressel (14 points), Koy Swanson (13 points) and Pierce Ragland (13 points) led the K-D offense. Michael Marable (29) and Kevin Coleman (23) combined for 52 of Susquehanna Township's points. The No. 6 seed Rams finished at 13-6. No. 3 seed Susquehanna Township improved to 12-5.
Columbia 79, York Catholic 46: At Columbia, the Fighting Irish dropped a District 3 Class 3-A semifinal contest. No. 3 seed York Catholic finished at 11-8. No. 2 seed Columbia improved to 16-4. Luke Forjan had 25 points for York Catholic.
Reach Rob Rose at email@example.com.