The Warriors trailed by just one in the fourth quarter but couldn't complete the comeback
Gettysburg wasn't just happy to be there this year.
Last season, the Warriors qualified for the PIAA playoffs for the first time since 1984, but lost by 48 points to Neumann-Goretti in the first round. Back for the second straight season, Gettysburg wanted to prove it could hold its own against one of the best teams in the state.
Taking on District 12 champion Delaware Valley Charter at Lincoln High School in Philadelphia Friday, Gettysburg lost, 70-62. Gettysburg trailed by just one early in the fourth quarter but faded down the stretch.
"We had a lot of chances, but I'm proud of how hard we played," Gettysburg head coach Jeff Bair said. "There were times when we could have said, 'They're Philadelphia and District 12 champions, we should probably just let them beat us by 20.' But we battled the whole way."
Most of Gettysburg's players got a taste of the state playoffs last season, and Bair said that experience was a big reason why the Warriors were able to keep Friday's game close.
While disappointed, multiple Gettysburg players said they were proud of the effort they gave Friday.
"Coach was telling us all week this was a winnable game, we could definitely tell we matched up with them well," senior Connor Weikert said. "I'll look at this as one of the greatest memories of my life. We did the best we could and have no regrets with how this game turned out."
While Gettysburg (14-11) scored the first two baskets of the game Friday, Delaware Valley quickly took control and ended the first quarter on a 13-1 run. Gettysburg struggled to deal with the District 12 champions' quickness and went into halftime down by nine.
But Gettysburg would answer in the second half, ending the third quarter on a 13-2 run that cut the deficit from 13 to two going into the fourth. Ravaughn Dillard capped the rally with a thunderous dunk in the final minute of the third.
A 3-pointer from Weikert puled Gettysburg within one early in the final quarter, but Delaware Valley (also nicknamed the Warriors) answered by closing the game on a 23-16 run.
The biggest difference between the two teams was at the foul line. Gettysburg shot just 50 percent (14-of-28); Delaware Valley hit 26-of-33 free throws.
"As a team we haven't been good at the free-throw line all year, and we weren't," Bair said. "We worked on it and talked about it, but for whatever reason this year we were not a strong foul-shooting team."
Now that Gettysburg has made the state tournament two straight seasons after a 30-year absence, Bair is hoping the program continues to have high expectations.
"This (making the state playoffs) is the expected level, as opposed to making districts, which was the expected level for 10 years in a row," Bair said. "Some people said this was an up-and-down group. We lost games we didn't have to lose, but that helped us grow as a team. Adversity and losing helps you become a better player."
Marquise Camel 5 3-9 14, Ravaughn Dillard 5 6-10 16, Connor Weikert 5 3-5 16, Lampe 3 1-2 9, Ringler 3 0-0 6, Buxton 0 1-2 1, Biggins 0 0-0 0, Eckhart 0 0-0 0 . Totals — 21 14-28 62.
Del-Val Charter (70)
Waheem Lowman 5 5-6 16, Makhi Morris 3 5-5 13, Semaj Motley 1 8-8 10, Antwuan Butler 4 6-8 15, Wade Lowman 4 1-2 9, Coleman 1 0-0 2, Nixon 2 1-2 5, Sullivan 0 0-2 0. Totals — 20 26-33 70.
Gettysburg _ 8 _ 16 _ 16 _ 22 _ — _ 62
Del-Val Charter _ 15 _ 18 _ 9_ 28 _ — _ 70
3-point goals — Gettysburg 6 (Weikert 3, Lampe 2, Camel), Del-Val Charter 4 (Morris 2, Waheem Lowman, Butler).