HERSHEY >> Marissa Ressler let out a sigh, slapped hands with a few York Catholic teammates and leaned into the arms of Anne Lehr and Hannah Laslo.
She later called York Catholic's 10th straight District 3 girls' basketball championship the "elephant in the room."
If Ressler and the Fighting Irish were hunting in the Class AA jungle, they needed to take down Lions on Thursday night at Giant Center.
In some ways, York Catholic's 63-57, overtime win against the Camp Hill Lions was like its previous nine championship victories in Hershey. In others, it was not.
The Irish were pushed into overtime in back-to-back district final wins in 2008 and '09. Both times — and again against Camp Hill — they assumed control in the extra period.
Thursday night, Ressler tried to end it with a 3-point attempt before the fourth-quarter buzzer. She said the miss stuck with her. Coach Kevin Bankos called her resilient for being able to get off the attempt. He pulled her aside and said it's "resilience we're going to need."
A 5-foot-8 senior now with three district gold medals, Ressler responded by scoring the first six points of overtime.
"I knew I had to turn it on to win," she said. "I knew they'd be good."
York Catholic found that out in the first few minutes, falling into a 14-2 deficit. Ressler admitted she was worried. Bankos did not.
"Doubt crept in four months ago. Doubt crept in against Trinity," said Bankos, referring to a close district semifinal. "I don't doubt my kids. I don't doubt our team because I know they're prepared."
That might be the not-so-secret ingredient to this decade of district dominance. Bankos took control as head coach for the last nine of York Catholic's titles.
As for the last time the Irish didn't win a district championship?
Bankos was as an assistant under Andy Bria, who watched from press row Thursday night as a radio announcer.
Senior point guard Anne Lehr was a second-grader at St. Rose Elementary School. Then a little point guard playing for the youth team, she grew into the leading scorer Thursday night with 21 points. She provided a similar performance last year at Giant Center.
"It's just crazy how it all comes back to you and you remember how it is," Lehr said.
She pointed that out to Ressler during their pregame shootaround. Unlike Lehr, Ressler lived closer to Camp Hill the last time York Catholic last failed to win district gold.
"Didn't really know about this playground yet," she said with a smile.
Hannah Laslo, the 6-1 senior who anchors York Catholic's inside game, lived even farther away in Johnstown. She moved to the area amid her freshman year, just in time to try out for the basketball team at York Catholic.
Laslo collected her fourth district gold from Bankos as the team lined up for its postgame ceremony. Bankos' resilient bunch lived up to his hopes.
"Ten? Everyone talks about it: our parents, fans, people like old guys we don't even know," Ressler said.
A year ago, players held up nine fingers as they posed for a team picture to signify that accomplishment. The question of 10 began then, and it was answered as York Catholic's players held up all of their fingers for this year's picture.
Contact Matt Goul at 771-2045.
Decade of dominance
2015: York Catholic 63, Camp Hill 57 (OT)
2014: York Catholic 50, Delone Catholic 40
2013: York Catholic 56, Delone Catholic 38
2012: York Catholic 49, Delone Catholic 42
2011: York Catholic 61, Delone Catholic 45
2010: York Catholic 38, Lancaster Mennonite 30
2009: York Catholic 57, Lancaster Mennonite 51 (OT)
2008: York Catholic 58, Trinity 45 (OT)
2007: York Catholic 41, Trinity 34
2006: York Catholic 60, Trinity 49