Bermudian Springs earns its first-ever York-Adams girls' basketball playoff title

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
717-505-5403/@ydsports
  • Bermudian Springs won the York-Adams girls' basketball title on Thursday night.
  • The Eagles beat Delone Catholic in the final at York Tech, 56-47.
  • It was Bermudian's first-ever York-Adams League playoff championship.
Bermudian Springs vs. Delone Catholic during YAIAA girls' championship basketball action at York County School of Technology in York Township, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. Bermudian Springs would win the game 56-47. Dawn J. Sagert photo

SPRY – Experience is often cited as a reason when prognosticators predict who will win a playoff game.

There’s a solid reason for that. A lot of teams with so-called “big-game experience” often end up on the right side of the outcome.

But not always.

Entering Thursday’s York-Adams League girls’ basketball tournament championship contest, the Delone Catholic girls certainly held a sizeable edge in experience. A PIAA Class 3-A state champion a few years ago, most of the players on the Squirettes’ roster have played, and succeeded, on the big stage.

Conversely, the girls from Bermudian Springs have never won a league, district or state title, let alone played for one.

A victory by the Eagles would certainly be a new experience. Nobody on the Bermudian roster knew what it felt like to beat their Division III rivals during their high school careers.

That’s what makes what occurred in Thursday’s title game at York Tech somewhat remarkable. Despite all their experience, the unbeaten Delone girls were held to just three points over the final eight minutes.

That was a span when the Eagles outscored the Division III champs 17-3 to rally and claim a surprising 56-47 triumph, handing Delone its first loss of the season.

Also, more importantly, it marked the program’s first-ever Y-A title.

“No. 1 is congratulations to them,” Delone coach Gerry Eckenrode said of Bermudian (21-4). “They outhustled us and they deserved to win. The better team won tonight.”

Peters and Chenault shine: The better team got a pair of big games from two of their biggest players in Lily Peters and Hannah Chenault.

While Chenault and fellow senior Bailey Oehmig draw a ton of attention from opponents, Peters almost single-handedly willed her team to victory. Peters scored six of her team’s first eight points to help the Eagles storm out to a lead they would carry throughout the first half.

Delone has made it a habit to come out of the second half strong against the Eagles over the past four years. And they did it again, outscoring the Berm girls 21-13 to gain control.

After the Squirettes made their patented run in the third quarter to seize the lead, it was Peters who scored 15 of her game-best 22 points in the second half to keep her team from getting swarmed over.

“I always say that Lily Peters is the most underrated player in Adams County,” Bermudian coach Todd Askins said. “I can use her as a point guard to bring the ball up, she’s a rebounder and she can score from the mid-post. She’s just a great basketball player.”

Chenault, who was kind of bottled up in wins over Central York and Eastern York, had 18 points against a Delone team that tends to do the same to her. Chenault helped turn the tide with a big 3-pointer in the fourth before finding Peters open on an outlet pass to put Bermudian up 50-47 with 2:04 left.

“I thought we did a good job on Bailey, but you got three of them of there and two out of the three played pretty well,” Eckenrode said of Peters and Chenault. “Usually we do a good job of containing (Chenault).”

One of the top 3-point specialists in the Y-A League, Chenault drilled four of them, including three in the second half.

“She’s struggled,” Askins said of Chenault. “But she gets the best defender every night we play. The difference is when other people on the team are scoring, now you just can’t face-guard her. We set some good screens to get her open and when she’s on, she just keeps going.”

Hoddinott scoreless in final period: Such can also usually be said of Delone standout Giana Hoddinott.

The Mount St. Mary’s recruit can often be a one-person wrecking ball against opponents.

Hoddinott was exactly that in the third quarter, when she scored 12 of her 15 points to help Delone rally from a 26-23 deficit at the half.

In crunch time, however, Hoddinott was bottled up and kept scoreless over the final eight minutes.

“At the end of the game we knew they were just going to force the ball to (Hoddinott),” Askins said. “We know that she’s an outstanding player and we knew that we had to say, ‘let’s shut Giana down and let the rest of the team score’ and that’s what we were doing.”

Askins believed: Askins, who took over the program four years ago, knew he inherited a program with some talent in it. He believed his team was capable of doing just what they did Thursday, even if others were skeptical.

“This was the year,” he said. “This is my team, this is the fourth year of my team, and I always had confidence in them getting here. It was just a question of whether they had the confidence and the buy-in to be able to do what we needed to do to get here.”

Looking ahead: The answer was evident all over the court at York Tech, when the Eagles players were accepting gold medals around their necks before eventually cutting down the net. It also marked a new experience for them all, one that they hope now will spring them onto bigger and better things in the future.

“It’s surreal,” Peters said. “It’s crazy, special, amazing … I don’t know. Making history. I’m so glad that I got to do it with this group of girls. I couldn’t ask for anything else.”

“I was just really excited deep inside,” Chenault said. “And I think that everyone else on the team was too.”

Thursday’s clash may not be the final one in the chapter between the two programs. It certainly won’t be easy, but there’s a chance the two teams could square off again in the District 3 Class 4-A finals a few weeks from now.

Delone (23-1) earned the No. 1 seed in the 4-A draw while Bermudian claimed the No. 7 seed. The Eagles begin their run for a district title Tuesday when they host Wyomissing in a first-round clash, with the winner advancing to next Friday’s quarterfinals against No. 2 seed Eastern York.

Askins, however, isn’t looking that far ahead.

“Just one at a time,” he said. “We have to win one game to get Eastern York (who Bermudian defeated in the semifinals) and just go from there.”

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