It's not easy to beat a team three times in a row, Delone Catholic head coach Lawrence Williams acknowledged. Sweeping a familiar division opponent in the regular season is tough enough without having to beat them a third time in the postseason.
For two quarters Wednesday night, it looked like York Catholic wouldn't have a problem sending rival Delone Catholic away with a loss yet again this season. But the third time and the third quarter were the charm for the Squires.
After managing just 15 points in the first half and trailing by five at halftime, the Squires outscored the Irish, 18-9, in the pivotal third quarter, and held off a late rally to win, 45-38, and advance to the District 3 Class AA quarterfinals.
"We just wanted it. It's not that York Catholic didn't want it, but we just wanted it and we came out and played like it," Williams said.
With Delone trailing by five early in the quarter, Alec Maitland cut the lead to 22-20 with a 3-pointer that ended an eight-minute stretch without a Delone field goal.
A few minutes later, Bryce Mondorff found himself double-teamed at the top of the key but spun out of it, driving to the basket for the tying layup.
"The first four minutes were so important because I think if we would've been able to extend the lead more in the second half, then maybe their heads go down a little bit," York Catholic head coach Ryan Luckman said. "But credit to them, they played through it."
The Irish ran off five quick points, but Delone countered with three straight 3-pointers from Logan Alexander, Tavian Dorsey and Jimmy O'Boyle that gave the home crowd something to cheer about.
"Jimmy had an air ball early, but I just sat him down and told him to relax," Williams said. "I told him to breathe and let it fly next time and sure enough, he made a big one over here to give us momentum."
Dorsey opened the fourth quarter with a clean block against Paul Martello that incited the crowd even more. Then two quick Squires buckets made it 37-30.
"They hit all of those 3s in the third quarter and we didn't play very good defense," Luckman said. "They hit some shots, and they grew some confidence, then another guy would hit a shot, and they would grow more confidence."
Martello and Andrew Forjan brought the Irish to within two points at 39-37 with two minutes to go, but that's the closest the Irish would get the rest of the way. O'Boyle scored six of his team-high 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Squires hold off the Irish rally.
"I just told them that we gave up eight easy baskets on backdoor cuts and that's what killed us early on," Williams said. "It wasn't anything they were doing to beat us, we just weren't rotating well. So we knew if we came out and played solid defense, then we'd be all right. And we took smarter shots and moved the ball. I don't care who shoots it, but I want smart shots."
In the first half, it was the Irish who had the momentum in their favor. After a first quarter that featured eight lead changes, York Catholic outscored Delone, 10-4, in the second quarter.
"We held them to 15 points in the first half, and we were doing everything we wanted defensively except giving up the offensive boards," Luckman said. "We were playing great, but then the third quarter comes. That was the momentum changer."
Delone advances to the quarterfinals where the Squires will take on top-seeded Camp Hill (17-4) on Saturday.
"It's going to be a tough one and we have our work cut out for us," Williams said. "But when we walk into any game, I think we're capable of winning."
York Catholic (38)
Paul Martello 5 2-2 12, Zach Echevarria 5 0-0 11, Forjan 3 1-2 8, Yanick 2 0-1 4, Ellis 1 0-0 2, Bartkowiak 0 1-2 1, Geiman 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0
Totals — 16 4-7 38
Delone Catholic (45)
Jimmy O'Boyle 5 1-2 12, Mondorff 3 2-3 8, Dorsey 2 0-0 6, Alexander 2 2-2 7, Bowman 3 2-2 9, Maitland 1 0-0 3, Zumbrum 0 0-0 0
Totals — 16 7-9 45
York Catholic101099—38Delone Catholic1141812—45
3-point goals — YC 2 (Forjan, Echevarria), DC 6 (Dorsey 2, O'Boyle, Alexander, Maitland, Bowman)