WRIGHTSVILLE — The final 2 minutes, 46 seconds of the championship game of the Rotary Club of Eastern York County Holiday Tournament will not be fondly remembered by the Spring Grove girls’ basketball team.
Leading by five points, the Rockets were unable to put the game away against a feisty Eastern York side. Instead, the hosts used an effective half-court trap to force Spring Grove into either turnovers or quick shots.
The result was a 9-1 closing run by Eastern, which propelled the Knights to a 44-41 triumph on Thursday, Dec. 28, over the previously unbeaten Rockets.
Eastern improved to 4-3, while the loss dropped Spring Grove to 8-1.
“We’ve probably been using that too early this year,” Eastern coach Brad Weaver said of the trap. “Tonight we were going to save it for the second half so as to not wear our own girls down. I thought that really changed the game and the tempo and we really put a lot of pressure on their guards.”
The pressure was even more effective since both teams were bogged down heavily by foul trouble. With about two minutes left, eight of the 10 players on the court had four personal fouls.
That list included Eastern standout Hannah Myers, who was named the tournament’s MVP after scoring 14 points. Myers grabbed a key defensive rebound, but took a hard foul and had to be helped off the court. The senior, however, re-entered the game shortly thereafter.
“We had some really serious foul trouble,” Weaver said. “And it was kind of a sloppy game back and forth, but we dug it out. Hannah got hit hard but she came back in and that really helped us.”
With Myers on the court, the Spring Grove pressure was unable to force the Knights into mistakes. Instead the Knights were able to salt away the game at the free throw line, where they scored 13 of their 16 points in the final stanza.
“We have to work on our pressure and executing on defense,” said Spring Grove coach Holly Strait. “And we just have to get better at handling their pressure and coming to the ball.”
The constant stream of whistles throughout the night also ended up leading to the Rockets' demise. Spring Grove had three starters foul out of the game.
“A lot of fouls,” Strait said with a bit of sigh.
Ashton Ball was a bright spot for the visitors, scoring a team-high 13 points. Sophomore Haley Wagman, who poured in 22 points in a victory over Garden Spot on Wednesday, Dec. 27, was held to just eight.
The all-tournament team included Myers, as well as Eastern teammate Cassidy Arnold, who scored 10 points in the victory. Wagman and Maddie Hagerman made the squad from Spring Grove. Derra Townes from Conrad Weiser and Megan Fisher from Garden Spot rounded out the team.
Garden Spot defeated Conrad Weiser, 57-44, in the consolation contest.
Susquehannock 50, Central York 41: At Central, in a battle of York County powers, the Warriors triumphed in the Panthers holiday tournament behind 15 points from Jaden Walker. Taylor Tannura added 12 and Jayla Galbreath added 11. Nikson Valencik's 13 points led Central. Susquehannock will face Cedar Cliff in Friday's final, while Central meets York Catholic in the consolation game. Cedar Cliff beat York Catholic in the other first-round game, 66-38.
South Western 41, York Suburban 30: At Suburban, South Western won the Trojans' tournament title behind 19 points from Taylor Geiman, who was named the tournament MVP. Katherine Mooney had 13 points for Suburban.
Christian School of York 65, Dayspring Christian 5: At York, Claire Harbaugh led the Crusaders with 18 points. Also for CSY, Mekenzie Smith knocked in 17, while Kendis Butler scored 16. CSY moves into the title game of its own tournament.
Columbia 44, Northeastern 40: At Manchester, the Bobcats fell in the consolation game of their own tournament. Maddie Hall had 16 points for Northeastern.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.