York Catholic girls' coach Kevin Bankos finds positives after loss in District 3 3-A final

ROB ROSE
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  • York Catholic fell to Trinity, 62-46, in the District 3 3-A girls' basketball final on Wednesday.
  • The Lady Irish saw their seven-game win streak snapped. They finished at 13-7.
  • Drew Kile led York Catholic with 13 points, while Juliana Bona added 12 points.

It’s not often that coaches are willing to claim a moral victory in a loss, but Kevin Bankos didn’t get that memo.

The York Catholic coach remained proud of his team — which featured a trio of freshmen playing significant minutes — after the Fighting Irish lost the District 3 Class 3-A championship game to Trinity on Wednesday night, 62-46.

The Shamrocks’ victory made it three district titles in four years for the powerhouse program and earned them the classification’s lone spot in the state playoffs. It was the 16th district title in Trinity program history.

“The only disappointment I have is that they don’t get to play again,” Bankos said of his players. “They deserve to play again. I think we should have looked at this in a different manner of more than one team going to the finals, but we knew that going in. We were happy to get here, thrilled to get here. There’s no disappointment, only that they don’t get to play again.”

York Catholic's Paige O'Brien takes the ball to the basket while Trinity's Anne Spila defends during District 3, Class 3-A girls' basketball championship action at Trinity High School in Camp Hill, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. York Catholic would fall to Trinity 62-46. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Dominant Trinity duo: Combined with playoff experience, Trinity’s dominant duo of senior Ava Stevenson and junior Lauren Trumpy had too much size and skill for York Catholic. Stevenson, an NCAA Division I William & Mary University commit, stands at 6 feet tall. Compared to the Fighting Irish guards, Stevenson held a 6-inch advantage.

Inside the paint, the 6-3 Trumpy was a force on both sides of the ball. She blocked and altered several shots, while she scored a bunch of her own. Trumpy had 12 points in the first quarter and outscored York Catholic herself.

York Catholic's Julianna Bona, left, takes the ball to the basket while Trinity's Lauren Trumpy defends during District 3, Class 3-A girls' basketball championship action at Trinity High School in Camp Hill, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. York Catholic would fall to Trinity 62-46. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The No. 1 seed Shamrocks (19-1) used their defensive pressure to throw off the No. 3 seed Fighting Irish (13-7) and jump out to an early double-digit lead. Bankos tried to prepare his younger players for the intensity of the moment, but it took them a little time to acclimate, and by then Trinity had built a solid advantage.

“We made some panic mistakes, but we knew we would,” Bankos said. “We told the kids: ‘You’re going to throw the ball away, you’re going to make mistakes. It’s (about) the next play.’”

Irish battle back: Trinity extended its lead to 14 at halftime and Bankos challenged his team to battle to keep the game close. With Trumpy’s presence in the paint, York Catholic’s plan of attack was to launch 3-pointers and it worked.

In the third and fourth quarters, the Fighting Irish closed the gap to 10 points with prolific shooting from beyond the arc. York Catholic made nearly twice the amount of 3-pointers (11) than 2-point shots (6) in the game. Junior Drew Kile and freshman Ashley Patterson each had a trio of 3-pointers for the Fighting Irish, which saw its seven-game winning streak snapped.

“When you have (Trumpy) inside, the guards are so active because they know they have that defense back there and she can get rebounds and start a fast break,” Bankos said. “They started shooting in the second half and shot well.”

Whenever York Catholic tried to really threaten the lead, Trumpy would make a play to steal back the momentum. Trumpy finished with a game-high 25 points, while Stevenson added 16. Kile led York Catholic with 13 points and senior Julianna Bona had 12, while Patterson and fellow freshman Paige O’Brien chipped in nine and eight points, respectively.

Proud of his team: While the sting of the season’s end won’t wear off for a little while, Bankos was proud of his team’s performance.

Playing a competitive championship against a perennial power is something that he plans to build on. Bankos believes years down the line, the young Fighting Irish freshmen could be the talented seniors using their playoff prowess to pick up a title.

“They’re going to grow, and as they grow. it will be exciting to watch how far they can go,” Bankos said. “The valuable experience we had in this game they won’t realize. It will be years from now until they realized the experience they gained today.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.