York Suburban's Kevin Moats, left, and South Western's Jordan Smith fight for possession during the consolation game of the Robert H. Griffith Holiday Classic at the York County School of Technology on Friday. South Western won, 66-47. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS --- KATE PENN)
Bethlehem Catholic's Julian Spigner, right, defends York Catholic's Matthew McKim during the championship game of the Robert H. Griffith Holiday Classic at the York County School of Technology on Friday. Bethlehem won, 68-38. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS --- KATE PENN)
York, PA -
No one could blame York Catholic for feeling shell-shocked during the championship game of the 24th annual Robert H. Griffith Holiday Classic.
The way Bethlehem Catholic scorched the nets at York County Tech, it's no wonder the Fighting Irish were left dazed.
The Golden Hawks drilled nine field goals, including a trio of 3-pointers, in the first quarter alone. Combine that offensive effort with York Catholic's struggles and Bethlehem Catholic was up 20 after one period.
It didn't get much better for the Irish over the next three quarters, and the Hawks went on to capture the championship behind a 68-38 victory.
"It was just like being blind-sided," York Catholic coach Joe Keesey said. "They were tremendous. They did everything perfectly. They made everything they shot."
Keesey knew that Bethlehem Catholic would be a tough match-up for his team, especially with 6-foot-11 senior Matt Husek patrolling under the basket.
"I knew it would be a difficult game to win. I didn't expect to get beat so soundly," the coach said.
Husek scored a game-high 17 points, but his biggest contribution was likely on the defensive side, where he dominated the boards. Husek also provided the omen for the game by blocking the first two Irish shots in the opening minute of play.
Just ask York Catholic's tallest player, 6-4 Erich Hartman, who hit the only Irish basket of the first quarter, a 3-pointer with 1:30 to play in the frame, after the Hawks opened with 15 straight points.
"That height difference was the biggest advantage," Hartman said of Husek before talking about Bethlehem's shooting. "What were they, like 85 percent? They were hitting from all angles."
But the Hawks are much more than a dominant big man, just ask their coach, Michael Frew.
"It isn't just one guy Yes, you look and see he is 6-11. He stands out, but we are much more," Frew said after his team squared its record at 4-4. "We are privileged to be down here with three wonderful ball clubs. I am really proud of my team.
"It starts with the defensive team on the floor. Last night we gave up 12 (in the first half), tonight it was 10."
Bethlehem followed up its 23-point first quarter with 19 in the second en route to a 42-10 halftime lead.
Justin Lenzer, who barely shot the ball on the opening night, drained four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points.
"We went out and got him a haircut at the mall. That was money well spent," Frew joked.
Add in tournament MVP Freddie Simmons Jr. and the coach has plenty of reason to be confident. Simmons poured in 15 points, including three 3-pointers. The sophomore played great defense, grabbed rebounds with ease and rarely missed the open man when he passed the ball.
"He's come a long way from a maturity standpoint. I am pleased with his progress," Frew said of Simmons.
Reserve Tucker Ebersole led York Catholic (3-4) with seven points, all in the second, which was all the Irish scored in the quarter.
In the consolation game, South Western had nearly as good a first half as the Hawks did. The Mustangs took a 13-point lead at the break and went on to a 66-47 win over York Suburban.
Parker Bean led all scorers with 27 points and Mike Duffy added 17. The two combined for 23 of South Western's 37 first half points.
The Mustangs opened the game with a nine-point scoring run until senior Evan Eberhardinger (15 points) got the Trojans on the board. South Western made it 13-2, but Suburban (2-6) answered with 10 straight, cutting the gap to one.
However, the Mustangs finished the quarter with seven straight and opened the second with a 10-2 run and never looked back, improving to 4-4 on the season.
Robert H. Griffith Holiday Classic at York County Tech Consolation
South Western 66, York Suburban 47 Championship
Bethlehem Catholic 68, York Catholic 38