Tonight's championship game of the 24th annual Robert H. Griffith Holiday Classic, played at York County Tech, will have a different look than the previous two years.

Thank the performances of York Catholic and Bethlehem Catholic for that. Both ended their opponents' runs of success.

After a four-year title-game hiatus, the Fighting Irish will face the Golden Hawks in the 7:30 p.m. final.

York Catholic knocked off York Suburban, 67-56, in Thursday's opening game, ending the Trojans' run of six straight Griffith championship game appearances.

"That is huge. We haven't even won a game in this tournament in four or five years," Irish coach Joe Keesey said. "We have seven seniors, and they wanted to get to a championship game."

In the nightcap, Bethlehem Catholic toppled two-time defending tournament champ South Western, 62-53.

The Irish, who improved to 3-3 on the season, got 17 points apiece from Joseph Rost and Alex Williams. Each knocked down three 3-pointers for the game, two in the first half, helping York Catholic to a 31-27 lead at the break.

However, despite falling behind 42-34, Suburban found its offense late in the third quarter. Four straight points by Manny McDowell (17 points), a three-point play from C.J. Boxley (13) and a buzzer-beating fall-away jumper from Evan Eberhardinger (13) tied the game at 44 after three.

Keesey changed his team's approach, working the ball inside to 6-foot-4 junior Erich Hartman, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the final eight minutes, including 6-of-6 from the foul line.

Hartman notched York Catholic's first eight points of the fourth quarter, putting the Irish up 52-49.

"We thought we had that mismatch. We got the ball into him, and he made some key baskets," Keesey said. "We have good 3-point shooters, but then it's all we want to shoot."

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  • "I felt good about it," Hartman said about knowing he was going to get the ball, "I felt I was going to be able to score some points ... It was my best game from the line."

    Williams added the next seven York Catholic points, extending the lead to 59-52 with his 3-pointer, which triggered an 8-0 run.

    The Trojans (2-5) scored eight straight points and opened an 8-3 lead midway through the opening quarter. However, the Irish responded with a 14-2 run and never trailed again.

    "I knew it was a young team, and they don't have a lot of experience," Keesey said of Suburban. "They are going to be pretty good."

    South Western likely could not have gotten off to a worse start against the Hawks. The Mustangs found themselves down 16-4 before Mike Duffy hit a 3-pointer to close out the first quarter.

    Parker Bean, who posted a game-high 20 points -- 16 in the second half -- knocked down a jumper, and Scott Hess followed with a 3-pointer, cutting Bethlehem Catholic's lead to 16-12 one minute into the second period.

    Unfortunately for South Western, it would not score again the rest of the half, and the Hawks ran off 14 straight in taking a 30-12 lead to the locker room.

    The Hawks opened the second half with a 13-1 run and opened a 47-17 lead in the process.

    "My initial reaction at halftime was that shots weren't falling, but we will be OK," Mustangs coach Nate Broadbeck said. "Once we got behind we made some bad decisions. Effort is never an issue with our kids."

    Bean and Mike Duffy combined to score 23 of the Mustangs' 28 fourth-quarter points. Duffy had 13 of his 19 during the span.

    South Western fell to 3-4 and will face York Suburban in today's 6 p.m. consolation game. Led by Darwin Saint-Cyr's 14 points, Bethlehem Catholic (3-4) had four players in double figures.
    @stevenavaroli; 771-2060

      
    YORK CATHOLIC (67)
       O'Brien 4 0-0 8, Dougherty 0 1-2 1, Joseph Rost 7 0-0 17, McKim 2 1-1 5, Martello 0 0-0 0, Alex Williams 7 0-1 17, Ebersole 1 0-0 2, Erich Hartman 4 6-6 14, Hack 0 1-2 1, Devlin 0 2-2 2. Totals25 11-14 67.
    YORK SUBURBAN (56)
       Evan Eberhardinger 5 3-6 13, C.J. Boxley 5 3-4 13, Moats 0 1-2, D. Boxley 1 0-1 2, McClane 3 0-0 6, Bauer 0 0-0 0, Briggs 0 0-0 0, Mears 2 0-0 4, Manny McDowell 6 4-6 17, Donahue 0 0-0 0, Wise 0 0-0 0. Totals22 11-19 56.
    York Catholic   17  14  13  23 -- 67
    York Suburban   13  14  17  12 -- 56
       3-point goals -- York Catholic 6 (Rost 3, Willliams 3) York Suburban 1 (McDowell).
      

    BETHLEHEM CATHOLIC (62)
       Jamal Aziz 4 1-1 11, Darwin Saint-Cyr 4 4-4 14, Lenzer 0 2-2 2, Perez 0 0-0 0, Forbes 0 0-0 0, Spigner 0 0-0 0, Italiani 1 0-0 2, E. Hudak 3 2-2 8, A. Hudak 1 0-0 2, Freddie Simmons 5 2-3 13, Matt Husek 5 0-1 10. Totals23 11-13 62.SOUTH WESTERN (53)
       Geiman 0 0-0 0, Smith 1 2-2 5, Cook 1 0-1 2, McKercher 0 0-0 0, Lane 2 0-0 4, Parker Bean 9 2-4 20, Mike Duffy 6 5-6 19, Hess 1 0-0 3. Totals20 9-13 53.
    Bethlehem Catholic   16  14  19  13 -- 62
    South Western     7  5    13  28 -- 53
       3-point goals -- Bethlehem Catholic 5 (Aziz 2, Saint-Cyr 2, Simmons); South Western 4 (Duffy 2, Smith, Hess).