Turnovers doom young York Catholic girls' basketball team in District 3 3-A title game

  • The York Catholic girls' basketball team fell to Trinity on Thursday afternoon, 46-30.
  • The loss came in the District 3 Class 3-A championship game at the Giant Center in Hershey.
  • York Catholic fell behind 21-3 after one quarter and could never recover.
York Catholic's Katelyn Bullen, left, works to get around Trinity's Natalie Freed during District 3, Class 3-A girls' basketball championship action at Giant Center in Hershey, Thursday, March 3, 2022. Trinity would win the title game 46-30. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Coaches often use the cliché that whoever wins the turnover battle will mostly likely win the game.

Well, Thursday afternoon in the District 3 Class 3-A girls’ basketball championship game, it certainly turned out to be true.

A young York Catholic Fighting Irish squad committed a litany of turnovers, including eight in the first period, and eventually lost to the Trinity Shamrocks, 46-30, inside the Giant Center in Hershey.

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It was the fourth title in five years for the powerhouse Trinity program and their 17th overall. It was also Trinity’s second win over York Catholic this season after a 63-43 regular-season verdict on Jan. 29.

York Catholic was aiming for its 14th district girls’ basketball championship, with the last coming in 2017.

Fast start for Shamrocks: Trinity jumped out to a huge lead thanks to some bad passes and poor judgment from the Irish.

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York Catholic trailed 16-0 before their first bucket at the 1:50 mark of the first period. A fast-break hoop off a Trinity turnover would give the Irish their first points.

On their next possession, the Irish would get fouled on a drive to the paint and hit one free throw. But that was as close as they got, trailing 21-3 after one quarter, 32-11 at halftime and by as much as 23 in the third quarter. 

Things didn’t go according to plan: York Catholic head coach Kevin Bankos believed that his team played hard, but that some things didn’t go according to plan. 

“Congrats to Trinity, first of all. They were the better team today,” Bankos said. “One of our top keys was rebounding and limiting their second-chance points and we just didn’t do a good job of that in the first half. When you get behind them it’s really hard to catch up.” 

York Catholic was unable to avenge a district title game loss vs. the Shamrocks last season. The two programs have long been district and state powers in girls’ basketball.

Surprising appearance in the final: In many ways, it was a surprising championship appearance for a York Catholic squad that dropped to 12-13 on the season.

The Irish entered the district draw as the No. 4 seed and upset No.1 seed Brandywine Heights in the semifinals. They were sparked by help from their younger players, who had started to emerge for Bankos. 

Senior Drew Kile, freshman Katelyn Bullen and sophomore Amanda Reed had played major roles in the district run, but no Irish player had much success on Thursday. Freshman Mariah Shue led the way with 11 points and Kile scored seven.

Poor paint defense was another major problem for York Catholic. On too many occasions, Trinity players were open underneath the bucket for easy banks off the backboard.

The Irish did show heart in the second half, cutting the lead to 16 at the end. 

Trinity’s top players were Natalie Freed, who had 11 points, and Elaina Beckett, who added 10.

It was a comfortable win for the Shamrocks (18-7) and one head coach Kristi Britten was excited about because of the way her second-seeded team played fundamental defense against a game, but young Irish squad.

“They're young. They have freshmen and sophomores playing well on their roster, and they have a bright future ahead of them,” Britten said about York Catholic. “They will be a force to reckon with.”

Both teams' next game will take place in the state 3-A playoffs on Tuesday. York Catholic will face the third-place team from District 12.

A bright future for the Irish: It was a disappointing loss for York Catholic, but Bankos realizes that his young core surprised many this season by arriving ahead of schedule and making the district final. He believes his team just needs to continue to work on getting better for the future. 

“We were thrilled to be here with all of the youthfulness, and this was good experience for them,” he said. “You just hope that drives them to work harder this summer to get back here because it is a special place to play.”

Reach Dante Green at dgreen@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.