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HERSHEY - Eastern York's thrilling run through the District 3 Class AAA tourney ended in Giant Center on Thursday evening as an athletic Bishop McDevitt squad led wire-to-wire in a 71-47 win.

"That's an athletic team," Eastern York coach Jon Reichard said. "That is the best team we have played all year, hands down. They are well-coached and played a great basketball game."

Both Eastern York and Bishop McDevitt qualified for the PIAA tourney, which begins March 4.  Eastern York will play the fourth-seeded team from District 12 while the Crusaders will meet the third-place team from District 11.

"I want to stress that we didn't quit," Reichard said. "No matter what the scoreboard read, the kids played hard until the final buzzer."

Eastern York (22-6) advanced to its first championship game since 2011 with a pair of one-point wins against No. 13 Middletown and No. 5 ELCO in the first two rounds. The Golden Knights then knocked off top-seeded Milton Hershey by eight to reach the final and win their 19th game out of their past 21.

"It was one heck of a run," Reichard said. "It was fun for everybody. Our community. Our student body. The school building was abuzz. We got an escort out of town, and everybody was out waving. It was just all good stuff."

In the other half of the bracket, Bishop McDevitt blew past No. 14 Manheim Central by 21, No. 6 Cocalico by 25 and second-seed Lampeter-Strasburg by 23 to reach the championship game for a second consecutive year. Steel-High beat the Crusaders by three in last year's Class AAA final.

Bishop McDevitt (20-6), with three players on its roster who will be playing NCAA Division I football next season, came out like a team ready to not let that happen a second time, scoring the opening 11 points of the game before the Golden Knights called a timeout with 4:36 left in the first quarter.

"It gets hard to keep coming back against these good teams in the playoffs," Reichard said. "The ELCO game was the only game where we came out and punched first."

The Crusaders led by 10 after the first quarter but only managed six points in the second quarter. But Eastern only scored five second-quarter points and was 2-for-14 shooting from the field.

The third quarter has often been the rallying point for Eastern York this year, but against Bishop McDevitt the tables turned. The Crusaders extended their lead to 18 points entering the final eight minutes and were up by as much as 25 down the stretch.

"There were careless mistakes (by Milton Hershey) that we witnessed (in the semifinal game)," Bishop McDevitt coach Mike Gaffey said. "We wanted to attack, but attack with some smarts. Things just sort of steamrolled for us in the second half. Eastern's a great team, but it's also a tribute to the eight starters we use. We were able to wear them down a little bit."

Bishop McDevitt (71)

Bryce Hall 8 1-1 18, Marisco 0 2-2 2, Gemmell 2 2-2 6, James Williams 7 7-10 21, Tim Kater 4 1-1 10, Morales 1 0-0 2, White 3 0-0 6, Lentini 1 0-0 3, C. Briner 0 0-0 0, Quinn 0 0-0 0, Husic 0 0-0 0, Barwin 0 0-0 0, Headen 1 1-3 3, N Briner 0 0-0 0, Matas 0 0-0 0, Weigl 0 0-0 0, Owens 0 0-0 0, Ninosky 0 0-0 0. Totals — 27 13-16 71.

Eastern York (47)

Achterberg 2 0-0 5, Broguen Nicholas 3 6-6 12, Woods 2 0-0 4, Springer 2 2-2 8, Particelli 1 0-0 3, Henise 0 0-0 0, Kurnik 1 0-0 2, Kalke 0 0-0 0, Wisler 0 0-0 0, Bernstein 0 0-0 0, Lowe 1 1-2 3, Harmer 0 0-0 0, Shimmel 3 4-6 10. Totals — 15 13-16 47.

Bishop McDevitt _ 24 _ 6 _ 21 _ 20 _ — _ 71

Eastern York _ 14 _ 5 _ 14 _ 14 _ — _ 47

3-point goals — BM 4 (Hall, Kater, Lentini, Headen), EY 4 (Springer 2, Achterberg, Particelli).

Past champions 

2016: Bishop McDevitt

2015: Steelton-Highspire

2014: Susquehanna Township

2013: Berks Catholic

2012: Berks Catholic 

2011: Lancaster Catholic

2010: Eastern York 

2009: York Suburban 

2008: Susquehanna Township 

2007: West York 

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