West York head coach Bill Ackerman stood outside the Bulldogs locker for a few minutes speaking with his staff and appearing as though he was trying to figure out what to say to his team.
Moments earlier, West York's season had ended when Berks Catholic converted two free throws with .4 seconds left on the clock. The Bulldogs had taken a one-point lead with 4.1 seconds left when Ian Lalic sank two free throws, but the Saints charged the other way up the court trying to score before the final buzzer.
Isaac Lutz tried to get past a West York defender, but in the process he fell to the ground off contact by the Bulldogs player, and the officials sent him to the line to shoot twice. He sank the two shots, and the Bulldogs' season ended in a frustrating, 47-46 loss in the first round of the District 3 Class AAA tournament.
“That’s just the way the ball falls sometimes,” Darian McCauley said. “(Ian) hit two free throws at the end, and then they came back down. (They) hit two free throws to go up and win the game. That’s just the way it goes sometimes, and it was great game.
“We played our hearts out and we left it all on the floor. That’s really all you can ask for.”
A foul called on Nick Sarver with .4 seconds left in the game allowed Berks Catholic to defeat West York. Michele Sarver
The Bulldogs played catch-up all night long, totaling just 23 points through the first three quarters. They watched Tyrone Nesby, who finished the game with 30 points, hit a four-point play early in the fourth to push Berks Catholic ahead by 12.
But quickly after that, McCauley helped facilitate a comeback, eventually pulling the Bulldogs within one point late in the game. The Saints missed their next four free-throw opportunities to allow West York to stay in the game. It appeared the Bulldogs would make them pay when Lalic scored his first two points of the night, giving his side a 46-45 lead with four seconds left.
“I just had to come through for my team and try to get us to the second round of districts,” Lalic said about the foul shots. “I came through for my team, but we end up with a loss. It’s hard, but we had a great season.”
When coach Bill Ackerman finally did walk into the locker room, he had a pretty simple message for the squad and its eight outgoing seniors.
“I just told them I love them,” Ackerman said. “Some of those kids and I have been through a lot the last three, four years. ... It’s a hard way to end on a situation like that, but I’m proud of the way we fought back. We showed a ton of character.”
Berks Catholic (47)
Nein 0 0-0 0, Lutz 1 4-4 6, Wilson 0 0-0 0, Tyrone Nesby 11 2-3 30, Garcia 0 0-0 0 Calloway 1 2-3 4, Rivera 3 0-3 6, Jack 0 1-4 1. Totals — 16 7-16 47.
West York (46)
Hawkins 0 0-0 0 Josh Bailey 6 1-1 16, Cains 0 0-0 0, Meckley 1 3-4 5, DellOrfano 1 0-0 2, Lalic 0 2-2 2, Frey 0 0-0 0,Sarver 1 0-0 2, Darian McCauley 8 2-3 19. Totals — 17 8-10 46.
Berks Catholic _ 16 _ 5 _ 12 _ 14 _ — _ 47
West York _ 12 _ 7 _ 4 _ 23 _ — _ 46
3-point goals — WY 4 (Bailey 3, McCauley) BC 6 (Nesby).