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Reactions from Bishop McDevitt's James Williams (25 points, 8 rebounds), McDevitt coach Mike Gaffey and Lampeter-Strasburg coach John Achille after the Crusaders' 72-53 win in the District 3 Class AAA semifinals. John Buffone

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HERSHEY – James Williams, a career accomplishment in hand, was presented the game ball after Bishop McDevitt’s 72-53 victory over Lampeter-Strasburg Monday night at Giant Center.

That honor, celebrating his 1,000th career point Friday night, feels good. But Williams and his Crusaders teammates are craving another type of accomplishment in Thursday’s 8 p.m. District 3-AAA championship game.

They want the gold.

Williams guaranteed his crew will get a second straight chance at gold by scoring a game-high 25 points to go along with eight rebounds, five assists and four blocks, as Mike Gaffey’s third-seeded Crusaders (19-6) nearly led from start to finish against John Achille’s No. 2 Pioneers (23-3).

Next up is No. 4 Eastern York, which posted a stunning 73-65 comeback victory over top-seeded Milton Hershey in Monday’s Giant Center nightcap.

L-S will face the Spartans in Thursday’s third-place game at a site and time to be determined.

“I think it’s a credit to our assistant coaches,” Gaffey said. “After we lost to Milton Hershey [in the Mid-Penn Conference tournament semifinals], our practices have been intense. We’ve been playing now like we’ve been practicing.”

Bryce Hall added 12 points and eight rebounds, and Tim Kater scored 10 with six boards for the Crusaders, who lost to Steel-High in last year’s title game and are chasing their first championship since beating Muhlenberg in 1989.

Lampeter-Strasburg, which led 2-0 but soon after trailed 18-4, would get no closer than six points over the final three quarters.

The Pioneers were led by Matt Achille’s 13 points, five boards and three assists, and Ben Sandberg’s 11 points and nine rebounds.

“We had trouble containing them,” coach Achille said. “We wanted to take Kater out of the game; that was our goal, to not let him make 3s. But [Williams], he’s good. He’s solid, really good around the basket. We had trouble stopping him inside.”

Williams, who entered with 980 career points, had seven in the opening stanza and 18 into the fourth. His 1,000th point came on a layup off a feed from Alex Marsico (five assists) two minutes into the fourth.

“It feels great, honestly, just that it’s at the Giant Center,” the undeclared 6-4 senior said. “This is the big venue around here. To do it with my teammates is even better. I love my teammates.”

Said Gaffey: “We’ve always said that he’s the best player in the Mid-Penn. I think tonight he showed that. He’s really tough to stop, and tonight was a great way to do it. He did it the right way.”

The Pioneers twice sliced to within six points (28-22) late in the second quarter, but a Jody Morales 3-pointer stopped the L-S surge, and McDevitt led 35-26 at intermission.

An Achille-to-Sandberg alley-oop layup had Lampeter-Strasburg within 39-32 midway through the third quarter, but the Crusaders answered with an 11-4 run – nine of those points by Williams – to rebuild a double-digit advantage they would keep throughout the fourth.

Kobay White added eight points and a game-high nine rebounds off the bench for McDevitt. Connor Brown posted nine points and five assists, and Luke Beers scored eight for the Pioneers.

These teams last met in the district playoffs in the 2012 quarterfinals, with L-S winning 70-58 behind 30 points from Josh Miller.

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BOX SCORE

Bishop McDevitt 72, Lampeter-Strasburg 53

BISHOP McDEVITT (72)

Bryce Hall 5-14 2-5 12, Alex Marsico 1-2 0-0 2, Nick Gemmell 2-3 2-2 6, James Williams 8-15 9-12 25, Tim Kater 3-6 2-2 10, Jody Morales 2-3 0-1 5, Kobay White 4-9 0-2 8, Chris Briner 0-1 1-2 1, Luke Husic 0-0 0-0 0, Joe Joe Headen 0-1 0-0 0, Nick Briner 0-0 0-0 0, Max Matas 1-1 0-0 3, Johnny Ninosky 0-0 0-0 0. Totals — 26-55 16-26 72.

LAMPETER-STRASBURG (53)

Isaac Beers 1-4 2-2 4, Connor Brown 4-9 0-0 9, Luke Beers 3-11 0-0 8, Matt Achille 5-12 3-8 13, Ben Sandberg 5-7 1-3 11, J.B. Boynton 1-3 1-2 3, Logan Miller 1-2 0-0 2, Jake Groff 0-0 0-0 0, Jared Houck 0-0 0-0 0, George Grau 0-1 0-0 0, Darren Metz 1-2 1-2 3. Totals — 21-51 8-17 53.

Bishop McDevitt _ 18 _ 17 _ 15 _ 22 _ — _ 72

Lampeter-Strasburg _ 7 _ 19 _ 10 _ 17 _ — _ 53

3-point goals — BM 4-7 (Kater 2-4, Morales 1-1, Matas 1-1, Hall 0-1); LS 3-13 (L.Beers 2-6, Brown 1-3, I.Beers 0-1, Miller 0-1, Achille 0-2). Rebounds – BM 39 (White 9); LS 33 (Sandberg 9). Assists – BM 22 (Marsico 5, Williams 5); LS 16 (Brown 5). Steals – BM 6 (Gemmell 3); LS 2 (L.Beers, Achille). Blocks – BM 4 (Williams 4); LS 3 (Achille, Boynton, Metz). Turnovers – BM 5; LS 10. Fouls – BM 18; LS 19. Fouled out: None.

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