Delone Catholic High senior Brett Smith remembers the feeling he had four years ago as a freshman when his team made the playoffs.
On Saturday, he felt a repeat of those emotions as Delone took on crosstown rival Hanover in the District 3 Class AA quarterfinals at McSherrystown.
"I remember being so excited," Smith said. "This year I felt the same way. After four years of going to the playoffs, I still have that feeling of excitement going into it."
That excitement and energy fueled Delone to a 59-47 victory as it advances to the district semifinals on Wednesday.
Saturday's win gave Delone head coach Jim Dooley his 699th of his career.
"I thought we played well," he said. "Hanover played very well and had a very good game plan. We knew what was coming and were able to game plan for it."
Hanover jumped out to an early 14-11 edge after the first quarter while using a mixture of outside shooting and second chance opportunities. The Nighthawks out-rebounded Delone 8-2 in the quarter.
The Squires responded, as they started the quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 19-14 lead. Delone held Hanover scoreless for the first 3 1/2 minutes of the quarter and, after Dylan Krieger's bucket to cut the lead to three, Hanover went on another scoring drought. This time, the Squires held Hanover scoreless for another three minutes as they went on a 6-0 run and took a 25-18 lead into the half.
"I think we just started getting more pressure on them in the second quarter," Dooley said. "They did a good job of trying to get Brett out of the game, but he was able to score five of our 13 points in the second."
Led mostly by junior Tanner Orndorff, Delone out-rebounded Hanover in the second quarter, 8-3.
"I thought he played very well all night," Dooley said. "He is a very tough kid. I thought he played well. He is a tough nut. He is going to give you everything he has."
Orndorff finished the night with 10 points, three steals and eight rebounds.
Defensively, the Squires were able to lock down Hanover's leading scorer, Nick Trish, in the first half, holding him scoreless.
Delone built an 8-point lead midway through the third quarter before the Nighthawks began mounting a comeback. Hanover scored five unanswered points, starting with a bucket from Austin Brown. Then Drew Vogel nailed one of his game-high three buckets from behind the arc to cut the lead to three. Hanover cut the lead to two with 3 1/2 minutes to go in the game when Delone called a timeout.
"I told them I wanted them to be more aggressive," Dooley said. "We needed to pick up the intensity."
Delone used that intensity to close the quarter on an 8-0 surge, including three steals from Brett Smith, two of which he finished on his own.
"If we get a hard trap, we are going to get a steal and go on a break," Smith said. "That's is where we are good, and tonight we were able to do that there in the third quarter."
The fourth quarter went back and forth as Hanover battled to cut into the Delone lead, but the Nighthawks shot a dismal 1-for-6 from the free throw line to close out the game.
"They hurt us on the boards a good bit," Hanover head coach Nate Myers said. "We hit a stretch in the third quarter where we turned the ball over. With a team like Delone, you can't give them extra possessions. We came up just a bit short."
Smith led all scorers with 19 points as Delone had four players in double digits.
The future is bright for the Nighthawks who finished the season 14-10 but will lose only one starter in Vogel.
"I thought our team did great," Myers said. "All 15 guys were involved. You feel for the seniors. That was their last basketball game, but the future looks bright at Hanover."
Delone will look to give Dooley his 700th career win at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Giant Center, Hershey, when the Squires face Camp Hill, a 57-50 winner over Upper Dauphin on Saturday.
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Dylan Krieger 6 3-4 15, Drew Vogel 4 2-4 13, Trish 2 0-2 6, Rhodes 2 0-0 4, Brown 2 0-1 4, Krout 1 0-0 3, Goodfellow 1 0-0 2, Peterman 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 5-11 47.
DELONE CATHOLIC (59)
Brett Smith 8 2-3 19, Devon Moore 4 5-8 13, Andrew Austin 3 5-7 11, Tanner Orndorff 3 3-5 10, Wiles 2 1-2 6, Altland 0 0-1 0, Kilkelly 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 16-26 59.
Hanover 14 4 14 15 -- 47
Delone Catholic 11 14 15 19 -- 59
3-point goals -- Hanover 6 (Vogel 3, Trish 2, Krout); Delone Catholic 3 (Smith, Orndorff, Wiles).