York Catholic falls by point to Bethlehem Catholic

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For a game dominated by sparkling offensive play from both teams, few would have figured it would end up being decided on defense.

Yet, that’s exactly what happened when York Catholic met Bethlehem Catholic in the championship tilt of the 27th annual Robert H. Griffith Holiday Classic.

Down one with 10 seconds left, the Fighting Irish missed a shot, but grabbed an offensive rebound. However, Golden Hawks senior Andrew Posch read the play and cleanly swatted the second shot away as the buzzer sounded.

Both teams left the floor at York County Tech to a standing ovation after Bethlehem Catholic earned its third Classic title in four seasons with a 77-76 victory.

“I saw the ball go up and didn’t know what was going to happen,” Posch said. “I went to grab the rebound and missed, I saw their guy go up with it and was able to block it.”

York Catholic trailed 76-71 after Hawks' tourney MVP Deandre Tillett (21 points) drove for his second straight bucket with a little more than two minutes to play.

Irish forward Melik Martin hit a free throw and moments later, Joseph Bauhof stole the ball and scored cutting the deficit to 76-74 with 1:17 left.

After a York Catholic timeout, Irish junior Andrew Forjan grabbed a steal and fed Bauhof for a layup tying the game at 76 with a minute to play.

Hawks Micaiah Fraction, who finished with 13, hit one of two from the line, setting up the frantic final minute.

“They are a tough team,” said York Catholic coach Blaine Claiborne of the deep Bethlehem squad. “It was a good game. We’d rather win than lose, but the guys gave a great effort.”

Of course, the Irish showed plenty of depth as well. Both Martin (15 points) and Forjan (14) were named to the all-tournament team. Sophomore D’Andre Davis led the team with 21, and Kyle Derowski had 11.

“It’s important. You don’t want to rely on one guy,” Claiborne said. “I just want them to play hard and be ready.”

Bethlehem Catholic jumped out to an early 8-2 advantage before the Irish answered with five straight points. York Catholic followed a Hawks basket by scoring 11 straight, including Davis’ 3-pointer that gave the Irish an 18-10 lead.

Although Tillett buried a trey at the buzzer putting his team back in front, 20-19, at the end of one quarter, that sequence showed the crowd what kind of the night it was going to be.

All-tournament selection Justin Paz, a freshman, scored 16 for Bethlehem.

York Suburban was victorious in the consolation game, scoring a hard-fought 57-54 win against defending tourney champ Danville.

Donovan Mears (all-tournament) led the way with 20 points, including four 3-pointers, giving him eight for the two-day tournament.

Championship 
Bethlehem Catholic 77, York Catholic 76 
Bethlehem Catholic (77) 

Micaiah Fraction 3 7-8 13, Gehringer 0 0-0 0, Deandre Tillett 9 1-3 21, Dawson-Amoah 4 0-2 8, Posch 3 1-2 7, Julian Spigner 6 0-0 12, Justin Paz 6 0-0 16, Keenan 0 0-0 0. Totals — 31 9-15 77.
York Catholic (76) 
Kyle Derowski 4 3-5 11, Andrew Forjan 5 2-2 14, Smith 1 0-0 3, Echevarria 1 0-0 2, D’Andre Davis 8 2-4 21, Bauhof 3 0-1 6, Nigro 0 0-0 0, Melik Martin 6 2-4 15, Ellis 2 0-0 4. Totals — 30 9-16 76. 2
Bethlehem Catholic _ 20 _ 22 _ 18 _ 17 _ — _ 77   
York Catholic _ 19 _ 18 _ 23 _ 16 _ — _ 76  

3-point goals — BC 6 (Paz 4, Tillett 2); YC 7 (Davis 3, Forjan 3, Smith, Martin).

Consolation game 
York Suburban 57, Danville 54 
Danville (54)  

Jones 0 0-0 0, Kolcik 0 1-2 1, P. Riley 4 0-2 9, Holcomb 0 0-2 0, Meloy 4 0-0 8, C. Riley 2 -1 4, Jordan Bickhart 5 0-0 14, Martin Klena 8 2-2 18. Totals — 23 3-9 54.   
York Suburban (57)
Dowling 1 1-2 3, Thomas 1 0-0 3, Donovan Mears 7 2-2 20, Collin Mailman 4 3-5 11, Merkle 0 2-4 2, Bowman 1 2-2 4, Jack Schultz 2 8-12 12, Zach Weinstein 1 0-0 2. Totals — 16 18-27 57.
Danville _ 13 _ 13 _ 14 _ 14 _ — _ 54   
York Suburban _ 8 _ 21 _ 12 _ 16 _ — _ 57   

3-point goals — Dan 5 (Bickhart 4, P. Riley); YS 5 (Mears 4, Thomas).

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