WRIGHTSVILLE — It was just more than a month ago that the Eastern York girls’ basketball team scored a big victory over Bermudian Springs.
So, it was understandable that the Golden Knights were pretty confident entering Thursday evening’s District 3 Class 4-A fifth-place contest against those same Eagles.
With a PIAA berth on the line, the home-standing Knights were lackluster at times. Perhaps it was the memory of that 18-point victory back in late January.
Whatever the reason, the Eastern girls fell flat at the worst time. The visiting Eagles forced the Knights into taking some bad shots, out-rebounded the hosts and, ultimately, walked off the court at Eastern York High School with an improbable triumph.
Led by a season-high 25 points from junior standout Skyler West, the Bermudian Springs girls punched their ticket into the PIAA playoffs with an impressive 62-44 victory.
“They’ve improved a lot since we played them the first time,” Eastern York coach Brad Weaver said. “You could tell (back then) that they could play. And I kept telling my team (in practice Wednesday) to not take this team lightly.”
The Eagles pressed throughout much of the contest and they were able to turn either missed shots by the Knights or Eastern turnovers into quick points with their transition game.
Weaver, however, was not pleased with the way his team defended.
“On-the-ball defense and closing out shooters … our defense was just not very good,” he said. “And that’s what it all really comes down to.”
The Eagles overcame some early foul trouble by Lillian Peters, who picked up three fouls in the first three-plus minutes of the contest. Despite losing a starter that early, the visitors leaned heavily on West, Hannah Chenault (18 points) and Bailey Oehmig (14 points) to carry them.
“(No.) 30 (Chenault) and (No.) 3 (West), we respected them both,” Weaver said. “But we didn’t do a good job of defensive rebounding. It seemed like they got all of the 50-50 balls.”
Despite all of that, the Knights were still in the lead (32-30) late in the third quarter. The Berm girls, however, used a 9-1 run to close out the period. The highlight of that run was undoubtedly a half-court buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Chenault.
“That really hurt,” Weaver said of Cheanault’s shot.
The Knights never recovered. The Eagles stretched their advantage to double digits and never looked back.
The loss was a tough pill to swallow for the Eastern girls, who had their sights on making states. Instead the Knights (16-9) will have to start getting ready for next season without their three senior captains — Amanda Galentine, Cassidy Arnold and Morgan Winter.
“It’s a tough loss,” Weaver said. “We had the goal to make the state tournament and we just fell short. We did not play well tonight. They (Bermudian) got the momentum and you could just feel everything shift.”
Mara Weaver led the Knights with 14 points while Addy Malone finished with 12.
Spring Grove 57, Elizabethtown 45: At Spring Grove, the Rockets triumphed in the District 3 Class 5-A seventh-place game.
The No. 4 seed Rockets picked up their 20th victory, improving to 20-9. No. 11 seed Elizabethtown fell to 17-10.
Both teams are headed to the state playoffs. The Rockets will face the District 12 (Philadelphia) champion on Saturday, March 9, in a PIAA first-round playoff contest at a site and time to be determined.
Kennard-Dale 58, ELCO 44: At Fawn Grove, the Rams won the District 3 Class 4-A third-place contest.
No. 3 seed Kennard-Dale improved to 22-4. No. 4 seed ELCO fell to 21-7.
Both teams are headed to the state playoffs.
In a first-round PIAA game on Saturday, March 9, Kennard-Dale will face the District 12 runner-up at a site and time to be determined.