For the third time this season, the Northeastern and Central York boys' basketball teams met. Once again the difference between the two teams could be measured in single digits.
The No. 7-seeded Bobcats overcame a 16-point deficit to defeat the No. 6-seeded Panthers, 74-70, Tuesday at Northern York High School in a District 3 Class AAAA consolation game.
"We did a much better job in the second half of getting organized in a way to attack them off the dribble. We were certainly more efficient," Bobcats head coach Jon Eyster said.
Northeastern (23-4) will play Harrisburg in the fifth-place game Thursday at a site and time to be determined.
The Bobcats outscored the Panthers, 45-29, in the second half and finished with five double-digit scorers led by Michael Coleman and Kobi Nwandu, each of whom had 15 points.
Sam Saxton led the Panthers (19-9) with 25 points.
The Bobcats really grabbed the momentum following the ejection of Central's Peter Falci with 2:47 to play in the third quarter.
Falci, who at the time of the ejection had scored 12 points, including two 3's, must now serve a one-game suspension. That will come Thursday when the Panthers play McCaskey in the seventh-place game at a site and time to be determined.
"The ref told me he had a closed fist to a Northeastern player's head," Panthers head coach Kevin Schieler said of the play which resulted in the ejection. "He was playing great. He was scoring out of his mind."
Falci's 3-pointer with 5:03 to play in the third quarter put Central ahead 50-34. But, from that point on Northeastern slowly grabbed the momentum and took control following the ejection.
"It took away a big part of their offense," Eyster said of Falci. "He was carving us up. He's really come into his own. That was a big play in the game."
The Panthers held a 54-47 lead after three quarters, but the Bobcats scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter to take a 60-54 lead.
"It was a complete 180 of what we did two weeks ago when we played them," Schieler said. "They came out with more heart and passion in the second half and kicked our butts on the boards. Whoever has that fourth-quarter momentum is going to win the game, that's the way this series has gone."
The Bobcats have now won twice against the Panthers this year and a big reason they captured win No. 2 was the play of Fred Mulba.
"Fred was a JV point guard all year," Eyster said of Mulba, who scored 11 points, nine of which came in the second half. "Fred is hard to guard. He's about as athletic for whatever his size is. There is a lot of athleticism packed into that little body. He grew up a little bit tonight."
DeAireus Brown (12 points) and Jeff Reynolds (10 points) also reached double figures.
Mitch Marino was the third Panther in double figures, finishing with 14 points.
Northeastern 74, Central York 70
CENTRAL YORK (70)
Mitch Marino 5 4-5 14, Peter Falci 5 0-0 12, Shaffer 1 0-0 2, Harter 0 0-0 0, Luckenbaugh 1 1-1 3, Edmonds 0 0-0 0, Sam Saxton 8 8-11 25, Wagner 2 1-3 5, Markey 2 3-4 9, Gingrich 0 0-0 0.
Totals — 24 17-24 70.
Kobi Nwandu 6 1-3 15, Maxfield 2 5-8 9, Michael Coleman 4 4-6 15, Bass 0 0-0 0, Josey 0 0-0 0, Jeff Reynolds 2 6-8 10, DeAireus Brown 5 2-3 12, Reeser 1 0-0 2, Sprenkle 0 0-0 0, Wolgamuth 0 0-0 0, Zirkle 0 0-0 0, Fred Mulba 4 2-4 11.
Totals — 24 20-32 74.
3-point goals — CY 5 (Falci 2, Markey 2, Saxton). NE 6 (Coleman 3, Nwandu 2, Mulba).