GIRLS BASKETBALL

West York girls can't sustain strong start in PIAA Class 5-A quarterfinal setback

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
717-505-5403/@ydsports
West York's Faith Walker, right, works to get around Mechanicsburg's Cassie Eager during PIAA Class 5-A girl's basketball quarterfinal action at Central Dauphin East High School in Harrisburg, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. Mechanicsburg would win the game 45-33. Dawn J. Sagert photo

HARRISBURG -- One of the keys for the West York girls' basketball team on Wednesday evening was to get off to a good start.

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In their PIAA Class 5-A quarterfinal clash with Mechanicsburg at Central Dauphin East High School, the Bulldogs raced out to a 13-5 advantage.

The Bulldogs appeared destined to become the first boys’ or girls’ basketball team in school history to make it to the state semifinals.

Basketball at the high school level, however, is 32 minutes long. Unfortunately for West York, the quick start quickly faded away.

The Mechanicsburg defense had a lot to do with that, limiting the Bulldogs to four points in the second quarter to take a 21-17 edge into intermission.

West York tried to regain some of that early-game magic, but came up empty in a 45-33 setback.

West York's historic run through the PIAA 5-A playoffs came to an end. The Bulldogs ended their season at 18-10.

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"We just didn't play well tonight," West York coach James Kunkle said. "We didn't make shots and we didn't want to give up second chances. We played a great first quarter, but after that we lost it."

Loran excels for Mechanicsburg: Mechanicsburg junior guard Priya Loran came up big for the Wildcats.

After being held to one point in the first half, Loran scored 12 points in the second half, including seven in the third period, to help the District 3 runner-up Wildcats take control.

"She was really good, wasn't she?," Mechanicsburg coach Clay McAllister said. "She's a tremendous athlete that doesn't always think she's as good as she is."

No rhythm on offense for Bulldogs: Thanks to a solid defensive effort, the Bulldogs had their opportunities in the second half to rally.

WY, however, just couldn't get a rhythm going offensively.

"You could tell that some of our players were frustrated," Kunkle said.

West York drew within seven with just more than 90 seconds left but struggled to make shots.

Wildcats strong on the boards: Part of West York's woes can be attributed to a solid effort on the boards by the Wildcats.

Kunkle wanted to see his team eliminate second chances on the defensive side, but the Wildcats seemed to grab every contested loose ball off a miss.

“We definitely rebounded the ball better in the second half,” McAllister said.

West York coach is still proud of his team: Despite the disappointment of seeing his team’s surprising state run come to an end, Kunkle didn't want his players to hang their heads.

As the District 3 seventh seed, the Bulldogs advanced further than anyone expected, winning a pair of state games.

"I'm so proud of them," Kunkle said. "It feels bad for our three seniors (T'Azjah Generett, Jewels Torres and Jocelyn Kern). I'm just speechless. All I can say is that we had a hell of a run."

Faith Walker led the Bulldogs with nine points while Jocelyn Kern finished with eight.

OTHER CLASS 5-A GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Chartiers Valley 39, Gettysburg 35: At Altoona, the Warriors’ season ended with a PIAA Class 5-A quarterfinal loss. Anne Bair led the District 3 champion Warriors with 17 points. Gettysburg finished at 24-6. District 7 runner-up Chartiers Valley improved to 27-2. The Gettysburg seniors finished with 94 career victories, two District 3 titles and a York-Adams Division II crown.

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