West York boys one win away from first York-Adams playoff basketball title since 2008

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
717-505-5403/@ydsports
  • West York earned a 60-57 victory over Northeastern on Wedesday in boys' basketball action.
  • The Bulldogs' victory came in a York-Adams playoff semifinal at York Tech.
  • With a win Friday in the final, West York will claim its first league playoff title since 2008.
West York celebrates a 60-57 win over Northeastern during YAIAA boys' semifinal action at York County School of Technology in York Township, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

SPRY — After West York survived a triple-overtime thriller in the York-Adams boys’ basketball quarterfinals on Saturday night, the question heading into Wednesday’s semifinal vs. Northeastern was simple — would the Bulldogs have anything left in the tank?

That question was answered pretty quickly, with the Bulldogs racing out to an early lead at York Tech.

And, despite persistent comeback attempts by the Bobcats, the Division II champs had enough answers to stem the tide on every occasion when the Bobcats drew close.

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Getting five free throws from A.J. Williams over the final minute, as well as a pair from Jaden Walker, the Bulldogs avoided another overtime session at the buzzer when Karron Mallory’s 30-foot heave bounce off the glass.

Final score: West York 60, Northeastern 57.

The Bulldogs (21-2), who will be gunning for the school’s first league playoff title since 2008, will face Eastern York in the final. The Golden Knights earned a 46-45 double-overtime win over Red Lion in the other semifinal. The title game is set for 7 p.m. Friday back at Tech.

“This is a senior- and junior-led team,” West York coach Garrett Bull said. “They’re pretty even-keeled. After Saturday’s game (vs. Dallastown) … and that couldn’t have been a more wilder playoff game in my life and I don’t think any of these guys ever played in something like that. … and they played fine tonight. It seemed like they were refocused and I thought they would be fine tonight.”

The Bobcats (15-9), who fell 60-50 when the two sides paired up in late December, never made life easy on the Bulldogs. They clawed back into it time after time. After falling behind by 10 points midway through the second quarter, the Bobcats cut the deficit in half by intermission (27-22).

Over the final four minutes of play, the Bobcats closed to within three points on multiple occasions and trailed by a point after Nick Rizzuto knocked in a 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left to make it 58-57.

“That just tells me we have to clean a little bit of stuff up,” Northeastern coach Jon Eyster said. “We were right there. But too many giveaways and too many possessions given away. Too many miscommunications on in-bounds plays. They played three points better tonight.”

Walker, who scored 30 in Saturday’s win, led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Williams showed why he’s one of the team’s best free throw shooters with his 5-of-6 performance at the line to tally 11, while David McGladrie finished with 12.

“He’s clutch at the foul line,” Bull said of Williams. “We were trying to get the ball in his hands for sure.”

Chase Kloster was a big reason the Bobcats were able to stay close. The big forward led all scorers with 19 points. Evan Jennings finished with 12, while Mallory tallied 11 and Rizzuto finished with 10.

Next up for the Bobcats will be their District 3 Class 5-A opener next Tuesday at Manheim Central.

The Bulldogs, however, will look to capture the league title for the first time since winning back-to-back crowns in 2007 and 2008.

More:Eastern York outlasts Red Lion in 2-OT to earn berth in York-Adams boys' basketball final

Familiar with Eastern: Familiarity will be no issue for Bull’s crew against Eastern.

The Bulldogs have played their Division II rival twice this season. The Bulldogs cruised to a pair of big victories, winning by 27 and 15 points.

Beating a really good team such as Eastern (16-8) a third time, however, will be no easy task.

“If it’s Eastern, well that’s another backyard brawl,” Bull said. “We both know each other very well.”

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.