Don't tell York Catholic coach Kevin Bankos that his girls were going to automatically reach Thursday's trip to the Giant Center for a shot at a 10th-straight District 3 Class AA girls basketball championship.
In fact, Bankos was quick to point out how good semifinal opponent, fourth-seeded Trinity, was even though the Irish defeated the Shamrocks at the start of the season.
"They are a good team. They're record is what it is because they play a brutal schedule," he said.
On Monday night, Trinity not only pushed York Catholic, but even led in the fourth quarter.
Still, you don't keep getting back to Hershey without some resolve and despite a lackluster shooting night, the Irish had the answer late in a compelling 36-32 win at Dallastown.
"This time of year (surviving) is what it's all about," Bankos said afterward. "We didn't play terribly, we just missed a lot of shots."
York Catholic improved to 22-4 and will face Camp Hill (20-4) in Thursday's 6:15 p.m. championship game. The Lions' stunned Delone Catholic, 67-64, in double overtime of the opener at Dallastown.
"Camp Hill is a scrappy, fast team that shoots well," Bankos said.
Sydney Kockler banked in a shot that put the Shamrocks (13-10) up 31-30 with less than four minutes to play. The senior then grabbed a rebound off an Irish miss, but with a chance to extend the lead, Trinity turned the ball over.
It set the stage for Irish senior Hannah Laslo. Laslo nailed a 10-foot baseline jumper giving York Catholic the lead back. On the next possession, she grabbed an offensive rebound and ended up on the foul line, where she calmly sank both ends of a 1-and-1.
With Trinity trying to set up for a tying shot, Laslo tipped the ball to Kate Bauhof, who found Marissa Ressler who drove for a layup and was fouled. Her free throw with 23.9 to play not only gave the Irish a 36-30 lead, but fouled out Shamrocks' 6-foot-2 center and rebounding machine Miranda Nixon.
"I told Marissa to keep grinding it out and she gets the ball and takes it down there for a big play," Bankos said.
Laslo led York Catholic with 15 points, included a 5-for-5 performance at the line. Bankos said that his 6-foot-1 senior has the green light to shoot, adding, "When Hannah goes to the line, I am worrying about what defense to put in."
Of course, Hannah wasn't the only Laslo to come up big or the Irish. Although she didn't score a point, younger sister Emily Laslo came off the bench and pulled down eight rebounds, plus blocked four shots, including three blocks in the second quarter, helping York Catholic take an 18-11 lead at the half.
The Irish looked ready to roll early when it took all of four seconds for Ressler to score following the opening tip. Later in the first Bauhof (nine points) drained a pair of 3-pointers, leading to a 10-6 lead after one.
However Trinity rallied after the intermission, holding York Catholic to six points in the third quarter, while tying the game at 24-all on an Ashley Dean steal and layup, that followed Rachele Abel's three-point play, capping a 9-2 run.
Dean 2 0-0 4, Gregoire 0 0-0 0, Sandri 2 0-0 4, Sydney Kockler 3 0-0 6, Rachele Abel 2 2-4 6, White 0 0-0 0, Rebecca Matt 3 0-0 6, Mansbarger 0 0-0 0, Miranda Nixon 3 0-0 6.
Totals — 15 2-4 32.
York Catholic (36)
Lehr 3 1-2 7, Kate Bauhof 3 1-2 9, M. Duchek 0 0-0 0, Dormer 0 0-0 0, Ressler 2 1-1 5, Carroll 0 0-1 0, E. Laslo 0 0-2 0, Salter 0 0-0 0, Hannah Laslo 5 5-5 15.
Totals — 13 8-13 36.
3-point goals — Trin 0, YC 2 (Bauhof 2).