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HERSHEY – Cocalico, fighting an uphill fight throughout Friday’s District Three Class AAA quarterfinal against Bishop McDevitt, found itself within sight of the summit late in the third quarter.

Then came the avalanche.

An 18-3 Crusaders flurry – one that extended into the final period and was highlighted by a 55-foot 3-point heave by backup guard Kobay White at the buzzer ending the third – sparked McDevitt to a 63-40 victory and pushed last year’s finalist into Monday’s semifinals against Lampeter-Strasburg, who downed Gettysburg, 53-45.

White and forward Tim Kater had 13 points each for the Crusaders (18-6), while center James Williams collected 12 points and 11 rebounds.

The Eagles (18-6), who were fronted by Tucker Lescoe with 16 points (including some Stephen Curryesque 3-pointers), dropped into the losers’ bracket. They will oppose the Gettysburg-L-S loser Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Dallastown High School.

But they were hoping for something more Friday.

Even as they were being pounded on the glass; McDevitt enjoyed a 36-13 rebounding advantage, and turned 17 offensive boards into 17 second-chance points.

Even as they were turning the ball over at an alarming rate. Cocalico coughed it up 24 times in all.

“We always believe we can win,” Eagles coach Travis Wealand said. “We respect our opponents, but we believe we can win.”

And when Lescoe knifed to the basket for a layup with 1:23 left in the third quarter, the Eagles were down just eight, 39-31.

McDevitt coach Mike Gaffey admitted that everyone on his bench was “very concerned” at that point.

“Don’t think for a second we were relaxing or just coasting,” he said.

White proceeded to score on a stick-back, then a fast-break layup after an Eagles turnover. Another Cocalico giveaway turned into a layup for backup guard Jody Morales, and after Lescoe came up empty from the arc in the closing seconds of the quarter White collected the rebound, took a few dribbles and let fly from just past midcourt.

The ball banked in as the buzzer sounded, and McDevitt was suddenly in command, 48-31.

The Crusaders added nine of the first 12 points in the fourth quarter to take a 57-34 lead with 5:13 left. Drive home safely, if you drove.

The decisive run underscored something Gaffey sensed in his players in the locker room at halftime – that they were dialed in and playing with a hunger he has not always seen this season.

“We’ve seen it in spurts,” he said, “but we’ve not seen it consistently. We’ve not seen it two games in a row.”

Certainly they roared out of the gate, forcing eight turnovers before the game was eight minutes old to seize a 15-3 advantage.

Then McDevitt got loose with the ball itself – six of its 17 turnovers came in the second quarter – and the Eagles began making some shots. A 3-pointer by Moses Ulysse brought Cocalico within six, 17-11, and Lescoe buried three 3-pointers in the half’s last 4:34, each of them from somewhere in the vicinity of Hummelstown.

So it was that the Eagles were still hanging around, down 32-20 at the half. And so it was that Gaffey was forced to tweak his defensive concepts at halftime. As he put it, he told his guys, “From now on, all rules apply to (Lescoe), once he takes one step over halfcourt.”

Still, the Eagles were within striking distance, deep into the third quarter. But the avalanche was about to come.

Bishop McDevitt 63, Cocalico 40

COCALICO (40)

Lescoe 6 0-0 16, Trynosky 2 0-0 5, Ulysse 2 2-2 8, Arcudi 1 0-0 2, Fabiani 0 0-0 0, Haines 2 0-0 6, Heck 0 0-0 0, Landis 0 0-0 0, Fester 0 0-0 0, Paiano 0 0-0 0, Harven 0 0-0 0, Monteleone 1 0-0 3, Whitsett 0 0-0 0, Heck 0 0-0 0, Keppley 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 2-2 40.

BISHOP McDEVITT (63)

Hall 4 0-0 8, Kater 5 0-0 13, Williams 4 4-6 12, Marsico 2 0-0 5, Gemmell 2 0-0 4, Morales 3 0-0 6, White 6 0-0 13, Headen 1 0-0 2, Briner 0 0-0 0, Matas 0 0-0 0, Weigl 0 0-0 0, Owens 0 0-1 0. Totals 27 4-7 63.

Cocalico 6 14 11 9 – 40

Bishop McDevitt 15 17 16 15 – 63

Fouled out – none. 3-Point Goals: C 10 (Lescoe 4, Ulysse 2, Haines 2, Trynosky, Monteleone), B 5(Kater 3, White, Marsico).

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