Bankos, Irish go for No. 5 in a row
The York Catholic girls' basketball team's brilliance the past five seasons has been so consistent -- in some ways, so expected -- it's easy to lose sight of just how impressive a feat the Irish will try to accomplish on Thursday.
Top-seeded York Catholic will go for its fifth straight District 3, Class AAA championship when it plays No. 2-seed Lancaster Mennonite at the Giant Center Thursday at 6:15 p.m.
The Irish and Blazers played earlier this year, with York Catholic winning, 44-38.
I caught up briefly over the phone with York Catholic coach Kevin Bankos on Wednesday. Here's a sampling of what he had to say:
YDR: You know this Lancaster Mennonite team pretty well, don't you?KB: Yeah we do. We played them last year in this same game. They have pretty much the same team minus a couple kids. We play them this year, and it was a battle. We only won by six and it could have gone either way. So we know they're a good team.What's going to be the key to slowing them down?I think (senior forward) Erin LaVenice inside has got to be forced to do things she's not comfortable with. On top of that, we got to somehow keep her off the boards.You guys have been in so many games like this. How much does that benefit you?I think it's huge. You can't teach playing at the Giant Center. You can't teach playing in front of that kind of crowd. Every year we're young. We have some young kids this year. It's good for them to get that experience ... We're certainly not awed by the atmosphere.
Not that this is just another game, but do you almost treat it that way because you've been here so often?We basically say every year the season is broken down into four seasons. You have the county league, county championship, district championship and state championship. This is the last game of the third chapter. Your goal is be in games where you're going to get hardware. If you're playing for hardware, you're in the right game. We do approach it somewhat that it's just another game. We know that no matter what, our season isn't over after tonight. And that's a good thing.Do you feel like your team is peaking right now?I think I said it after our last game. I'm very comfortable with where the team is right now. This is the time of year where we want to make a run. You got pace yourself and there are things that as a coaching time we do to make sure kids are fresh this time of year. You cut down practices and try out different lineups. You start three sophomores. How much have they improved throughout the season?What we've noticed the most is through the counties and the first couple games of districts, their confidence has gone way up. They understand what their role is. I always remind them that at the beginning of the year, they used to be a sophomore. But you're not a sophomore anymore. You've grown up in the basketball world, and you've got to play like it.