It was the longest 108 seconds of Michael Graybill's coaching career.
Christian School of York's girls' basketball coach watched as his leading scorer, 5-foot-7 junior forward Kaitlyn Hess, picked up her fifth foul with 1:48 left in Tuesday evening's District 3 Class A semifinal with No. 10-seeded Greenwood. The Crusaders held a one-point lead. A trip to Hershey's Giant Center in the championship game Thursday hung in the balance.
"She was coming off the floor apologizing," Graybill said. "She's heard the 'No more silly fouls,' speech so often. She was tapping her head like, 'I knew that was a dumb one,' and I was like, 'Fantastic. Now you're sitting over here with me.'"
Somehow, Christian School of York survived. When the final buzzer sounded, it was the Crusaders eking out a 31-28 win against Greenwood at Northern York High School.
Third-seeded Christian School of York (20-6) will meet Lebanon Catholic (16-9) at 4:30 p.m. Thursday for the Class A title. Christian School of York has never won a district championship in basketball, and it marks the first trip to the championship game for the girls' program — the boys' program lost to Lebanon Catholic in the 2005 final.
"This is a dream come true for these girls," Graybill said. "The girls have done a great job to help make that dream or goal come true. It was written down on our preseason goal sheets, but I don't know if they really believed it. It's just fun. The joy of the trip and the experience, you just have to enjoy it. Not many get to go. It's why you put in all those hours."
The Crusaders also earned their first PIAA state tourney berth with a win against Lancaster Country Day in Saturday's quarterfinal.
"The thought is there, but it has not soaked in yet," Hess said. "Back in the locker room, we were screaming. All happy and excited, we are going to Hershey. I've been up to see (district) games, but this will be a first."
Christian School of York used a driving layup from Hess for the first points of the game 2:17 into the opening quarter, but Greenwood rallied back to take a 7-4 lead after the first quarter.
The Crusaders never saw the lead again until Mekenzie Smith's steal and layup provided them with a 29-27 lead with 2:56 left.
"It was a tough, physical game," Hess said. "We had to fight. We were down by seven at halftime, but we felt we were right there, right where we wanted to be. We just kept pushing."
Smith, a 5-foot-7 freshman guard, scored the last five points of the game for the Christian School of York. She went 3-of-7 from the foul line in the final quarter.
"We had to just focus and play our game," Smith said. "We had to keep going on without (Hess). I was so nervous on the foul shots, it wasn't even funny. In the end, I made enough I guess."
Greenwood (8-17), which has made the Class A championship game 10 times since 1987 but has never won a title, was plagued by 11 first-quarter turnovers and had 27 in the game.
"We knew we could press, we just didn't know how the game was going to be called early," Graybill said. "I told the girls to be ready, but we were going to just come out in our regular box-and-one or triangle-and-two defenses to try and avoid some foul trouble."
Both teams struggled with shooting. Christian School of York shot 3-of-17 from the field in the first half while Greenwood shot 5-of-21.
The Crusaders shot 5-of-12 from the field in the second half while Greenwood shot 3-of-18.
Free-throw shooting played a role in the game as both teams spent a lot of time on the line. Christian School of York converted on 14-of-29 attempts while Greenwood made 11-of-16 free-throw attempts.
Greenwood advanced to Tuesday's semifinal by defeating second-seeded Harrisburg Christian, 35-17, in the quarterfinals. Christian School of York had beaten CCAC rival Harrisburg Christian (20-5) two of the three times they played this season.
"When we heard it was Greenwood on Saturday, we were still at our gym after our game," Graybill said. "Half of the fans were like, 'Yeah! All right!' and I was like, 'No, we know HCS. We'll play confidently against them.' This team was more of an unknown for us."
Christian School of York 31, Greenwood 28
Christian School of York (31)
Shelton 0 1-2 1, Butler 1 3-6 5, Smith 2 4-10 8, Stauffer 2 0-2 4, Kaitlyn Hess 3 4-6 11, Martin 0 0-1 1, Larson 0 2-2 2, Landis 0 0-0 0, Hofer 0 0-0 0.
Totals — 8 14-29 31.
Drew 2 1-2 6, Weger 0 1-2 1, Black 0 0-0 0, Sheaffer 0 1-2 1, Kauffman 2 5-6 9, Pyle 4 1-2 9, Korber 0 0-0 0, Willi 0 2-2 2.
Totals — 8 11-16 28.
3-point goals — CSY, 1 (Hess). G, 1 (Drew).