After state quarterfinal loss, Christian School of York girls focus on season of success

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Northumberland Christian's Eden Treas, left, takes the ball to the basket while Christian School of York's Rylie Bell defends during PIAA Class 1-A girl's basketball quarterfinal action at Central Dauphin East High School in Harrisburg, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. Northumberland would win the game 59-41. Dawn J. Sagert photo

HARRISBURG — It wasn't the ending that the Christian School of York girls' basketball players envisioned, but the story of the Defenders' 2021-22 season was not defined by Wednesday's finale.

After all, the CSY outfit had already accomplished so much, including earning a trip to the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference final, capturing the top seed in the District 3 Class 1-A draw and topping off the campaign with a PIAA berth.

Christian School of York's Rylie Bell, left, works to get past Northumberland Christian's Emma Ulmer during PIAA Class 1-A girl's basketball quarterfinal action at Central Dauphin East High School in Harrisburg, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. Northumberland would win the game 59-41. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The Defenders have nothing to hang their heads about.

Still, after a 59-41 loss to Northumberland Christian in the state 1-A quarterfinals, one might expect that the CSY locker room would be quite depressed on Wednesday.

That would be incorrect.

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"One game doesn't define us," CSY coach Mike Graybill said. "And we've always said that. In a couple of our 'quote-unquote bigger games' this year we've had girls that were sick or on crutches all week, so you can't let one game define you."

Christian School of York's Linda Brown, left, takes the ball to the basket while Northumberland Christian's Anna Ulmer defends during PIAA Class 1-A girl's basketball quarterfinal action at Central Dauphin East High School in Harrisburg, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. Northumberland would win the game 59-41. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The sting of seeing the end of a history-making season didn't dampen the mood in the Defenders locker room. After all, the CSY girls still earned two state victories, which was one more win than the program had prior to this season. The Defenders were singing and carrying on as Graybill stepped outside to talk about the season.

"You can hear it," Graybill said. "They're still celebrating who we are. In 27 years of coaching, this is the most selfless group I've ever coached."

Taking on a Northumberland side that featured a pair of 6-foot twin towers in Anna and Emma Ulmer, the Defenders were limited to just two points in the first quarter. The Ulmers combined for 23 points for NC (22-3) while Emily Garvin led all her team with 17 points.

Trailing 13-2 at that point, the Defenders made some shots to cut into the deficit. Every time they did, however, the District 4 champions, and usually Garvin, had a response.

That's saying something considering NC had entered the night winning seven playoff games in a row by at least 28 points.

"They didn't know," Graybill said. "On the ride up they asked if this team (NC) was better than Marian Catholic (who CSY defeated in the second round). They just wanted to show up and play basketball."

CSY (26-3) was led by senior Kayleigh Rhine's 18 points. Linda Brown added 10 points for the Defenders.

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