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HERSHEY — There are statistics that can back up some of the underlying reasons for why one team beats another.

Rebounding, free throw shooting and turnovers, to name three.

One need not look to those stats to figure out why York Catholic beat Delone Catholic, 57-46, in Thursday night's District 3 Class 3-A girls’ basketball championship contest at the Giant Center.

Delone coach Gerry Eckenrode, whose team battled rival York Catholic for a third time this season, summed it up succinctly.

“They just had Kate Bauhof and we don’t,” a disappointed Eckenrode said. “It’s as simple as that.”

The York Catholic standout poured in a game-high 26 points, half of which came in the final quarter, to help her the top-seeded Irish (21-6) claim its 11th District 3 title over the past 12 seasons.

Milestone for Bankos: The victory coincided with a milestone accomplishment that was kept well under wraps. Thursday’s triumph marked win No. 300 in the 11-year career of York Catholic coach Kevin Bankos.

The Irish coach shrugged off his personal achievement in typical Bankos fashion.

“I found out about it after the semifinal game (Friday),” Bankos said. “All that means is that you stuck around long enough to get it and you had some really good players.”

Joining the Irish greats: Bauhof is certainly putting herself into the pantheon of Irish greats. If you want to know about the junior's talents, just ask Eckenrode, who has personally seen all of the York Catholic standouts play for the past 15 years.

“Nothing surprises me what she does,” Eckenrode said.

Breaking in a pair of new sneakers — one was red (fire) and the other was blue (ice) — Bauhof was a menace to the Squirettes. She scored 15 points in the first half, nine of which came in the second quarter after she'd picked up her second personal foul.

“I was pretty frustrated when I got my second foul,” Bauhof said.

With Bauhof off the court for the final 3 minutes and 15 seconds of the first quarter, the Squirettes took advantage. Trailing 7-5, Delone finished the stanza on a 7-2 run to claim a 12-9 advantage after one period.

Most of that run was fueled by Delone forward Maddie Clabaugh, who scored her team’s first eight points. Clabaugh finished with a team-high 12 points.

“She’s a talented freshman,” Eckenrode said. “She’s a great talent and she’s going to be a great player.”

Irish take charge: Once Bauhof returned, the Irish took charge. York Catholic used an 11-4 blitz to end the first half with a 26-20 lead. While the Irish never trailed after that, they never were able to completely shake off their parochial rivals. A 5-0 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Elise Knobloch cut YC’s eight-point lead with 2:52 left in the third to 36-33 at the buzzer.

Bauhof, however, quickly knocked down an NBA-range 3-pointer to open the fourth period. The junior didn’t stop there. After being held without a point in the third stanza. She helped her team take its biggest lead of the night at 51-39 with 2:57 left.

Again the second-seeded Squirettes (20-7) refused to go away. A 7-0 run over a 77-second span drew them within 51-46 with 1:40 remaining. With the clock winding down, however, Eckenrode’s club was forced to foul. The player they eventually fouled was the one they really didn’t want to — Bauhof. The YC standout, who went 10-for-10 at the line, sank four free throws to ice the victory.

Regaining the title: After hoisting the District 3 3-A trophy at midcourt with a big smile on her face, Bauhof reflected on the significance of Thursday’s triumph, which came a season after the program’s 10-year district title streak was snapped by Camp Hill.

“It felt really great,” she said. “I think (last year’s loss) motivated us a lot. Both Jania (Wright) and Katy (Rader) started here at the Giant Center last year. Coach Bankos told us after last year’s loss just to start our own streak this year and that’s what I think we tried to do.”

York Catholic's next step is the PIAA playoffs. The Irish will face the third-place team from District 4. Delone will take on the third-place team from District 12. Both games are slated for Saturday, March 11, at a site and time to be determined.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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