Monday night's district Class AA girls' basketball semifinal between fourth-seeded Annville-Cleona and No. 1 York Catholic evoked parallels to "David versus Goliath" or "Cinderella." Somebody forgot to make sure York Catholic read that the underdog was supposed to win in the end.
But there is a silver lining for Annville-Cleona - well actually there are a few of them.
First, the Dutchmen will play Thursday against Oley Valley, a 73-72 overtime loser to Delone Catholic in the second semifinal, a game that had a similar favorite versus underdog ring. The winner of the Annville-Cleona-Oley Valley contest (site and time to be announced) will get the third and final state playoff berth in Class AA.
Another silver lining for A-C was the fight displayed in the third quarter. Trailing 36-14 at the half, the Dutchmen outscored the Fighting Irish 15-12 in the third period as junior forward Gabby Battle held York Catholic's 6-foot-1 junior forward Hannah Laslo to just two points.
"She did a better job on that girl in the second half," Annville-Cleona head coach Jaime Walborn said of Battle. "She was a little more tough and was trying to front her and turning and boxing out. That was a big difference in the second half."
Laslo, who finished with a game-high 20 points, netted 16 of those in the first half.
Turnovers, missed shots and Laslo on the boards and in the scoring column combined to spell trouble for A-C early. Trailing 16-0, Meredith Bachman got the Dutchmen on the board with 3:20 to go in the first quarter as she hauled in an offensive rebound and netted a put-back jumper just inside the foul line.
"We started out slow," Walborn said. "We missed some shots early, but we started to do some of those little things and that's when we made a little run at them."
Bachman's basket did spark a run for A-C as Alex Siebecker blocked a Fighting Irish shot, and after an initial miss in transition, Kayla Parks hauled in the rebound and added two more.
Another blocked shot by senior Elaina Wanamaker and a Siebecker offensive rebound and put-back along with a second bucket with 18 seconds to go in the quarter pulled A-C to within 20-8.
Annville came out of the break and entered into a 1-3-1 zone that didn't slow the Irish, who scored six straight points, forcing A-C back to man-on-man.
Siebecker, Battle and Wanamaker added buckets before the half.
Battle's defense in the third and presence in the paint forced York Catholic to go away from Laslo, and A-C briefly capitalized. Siebecker scored eight of her team-high 12 points in the third as the Dutchmen settled into a little bit of a rhythm, closing the gap to 48-29 heading into the final eight minutes.
In the fourth, York Catholic found its outside range and depth as seven different Irish players netted points for the seven-time defending champs, who pulled further away down the stretch.
Even though the outcome wasn't a win for Annville, that trip to states is still a possibility.
"We want to qualify for states," Walborn said. "I told the girls that it is an attainable goal right now. I don't think anybody would be surprised if that team (York Catholic) goes on and wins districts. That's an impressive team.
"And I think if we can do the things we did in the second, third and fourth quarter against any opponent going forward, then we have a shot at it."
Walborn, who played in state tournaments for Lebanon Catholic, will definitely be able to tell them what it is all about if they win one more game.