The Northeastern boys' basketball team saw yet another close game go the other way.
Eighth-seeded Harrisburg held off the No. 7-seeded Bobcats for a 58-57 win in the District 3 Class AAAA fifth-place game at Dallastown High School on Thursday evening.
"Layups and foul shots," said Northeastern coach Jon Eyster. "If we make one of those missed layups or a couple of free throws, we win."
Northeastern (23-5) won its first 17 games of the season, but it has struggled in recent close games. The Bobcats have lost by five points at West York, by four points to Dallastown, by a point to Central York in the YAIAA tourney and by two points to Cedar Cliff in the district quarterfinals. All five losses have come by a combined margin of 13 points.
"Is that what it is?" said Eyster as he shook his head.
Harrisburg's win gives the Cougars the fifth-seed from District 3 in the upcoming PIAA tournament while Northeastern will be the No. 6 seed. Harrisburg (19-9) will play the District 6 champion (either State College or Altoona) in the first round of states while Northeastern will get the District 1 runner-up (Plymouth-Whitemarsh or Abington). The District 1 championship is set for Temple University at 8 p.m. today.
"We are going to see them play," Eyster said. "We'll be on the road."
Bobcats senior guard Mike Coleman sank a 3-pointer from about 35 feet out with two seconds left to cut Harrisburg's lead to one, but Harrisburg ran the clock out to escape.
"You have to give credit to Harrisburg," Eyster said. "They were aggressive and took us out of our comfort zone early."
Northeastern never had the lead. The Bobcats once tied the score, 39-39, on a Jeff Reynolds layup off a Harrisburg turnover with 3:04 left in the third quarter, and twice came within a point.
"We haven't played anybody that physical all year," Eyster said. "Because of the schedule we had, we didn't see anybody that plays that way all season. It took us a little while to get used to it. We responded well and fought."
Harrisburg scored the first seven points of the game and led by seven points after the opening quarter and by six points at halftime. The Cougars took a 46-39 lead into the final quarter, but 6-foot sophomore forward DeAireus Brown scored seven of his team-high 16 points to help Northeastern make one final rally.
"Their pressure was great on us and we had trouble setting things up," Eyster said. "We eventually ran some pick-and-roll stuff just to get to the basket, which we were able to do. As it got later and later, we just had to get intense and go. We had our chances. ... We had some shots and missed."
Harrisburg 58, Northeastern 57
Coleman 3 0-1 7, Kobi Nwandu 4 2-4 12, Maxfield 2 0-1 4, DeAireus Brown 6 3-4 16, Derrick Hoffman 2 7-9 11, Reynolds 3 1-3 7.
Totals — 20 13-22 57.
Wilson 2 0-0 6, Anderson-Butts 2 0-2 4, Esayas 0 1-2 1, Jahaad Proctor 6 7-8 21, Damien Barber 5 2-4 12, Jackson 1 0-0 2, Chris Whitaker 4 4-6 12, S. Johnson 0 0-0 0, N. Johnson 0 0-0 0.
Totals — 20 14-22 58.
3-point goals — NE 4 (Coleman, Nwandu 2, Brown), Har 4 (Wilson 2, Proctor 2).