The 2015-16 girls' basketball season was one to remember for the William Penn Bearcats.
The six outgoing seniors secured their first winning record of their high school career and a fourth-place finish in YAIAA Division I. The Bearcats earned upset victories against Central York, New Oxford and Cedar Cliff, and Chyna Steele became the second all-time leading scorer in program history.
But the journey for Steele and her teammates ended Friday in a 62-53 loss to Palmyra in the District 3 Class AAAA tournament preliminary round.
"I've coached (Chyna) since the seventh grade," said third-year William Penn head coach Larry Corbin. "We've fought, we've cried, we've laughed. We've experienced every emotion possible together. I'll never get another Chyna Steele. Players like that come once a lifetime."
The crowd gave Steele a standing ovation after she fouled out with 17.8 seconds left in the contest. She finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
While the playoffs are new territory for this Bearcats squad, they took on a squad of battle-hardened veterans in the Cougars.
"Molly (Gundermann), Josie Stovall and the seniors have won a lot of games for us this time of year," Palmyra head coach Ron Berman said. "We knew if we could get to the fourth, we would be alright. Our experience made the difference."
A wild 1:04 stretch in the third quarter set the stage for the fourth.
Amelia Baldo hit a 17-foot jumper to give Palmyra a 31-27 lead. Twenty seconds later, DeJanay Givens splashed a 3-pointer from the left wing. The Bearcats made a stop and Madey-Zania Redman found Givens in the same spot for another 3.
William Penn's first lead since 6-5 lasted 10 seconds, as Baldo raced in for a layup.
Redman restored the lead with a free throw 9 seconds later. William Penn held the lead until Hayley Schultz tied it at 38 with a free throw in the final second of the third.
Palmyra took advantage of being in the bonus 59 seconds into the fourth and collected 12 points on non-shooting fouls in the fourth.
"That's been a problem for us all year," Corbin said. "We like to play like bump-and-run in the NFL, we get up and invade their personal space."
Amelia Baldo 3 7-9 13, McLucas 0 0-0 0, Schultz 1 1-2 4, Werkheiser 1 2-2 5, Molly Gundermann 4 4-4 14, Josie Stovall 3 4-5 10, Bowman 0 0-0 0, Carmo 0 0-0 0, Olivia Richardson 4 7-10 16. Totals — 16 25-32 62.
William Penn (53)
Beady 0 0-0 0, Hutchinson 3 0-0 8, Givens 1 0-0 3, Madey-Zania Redman 9 1-4 20, Chyna Steele 6 0-0 12, Kinard 2 0-0 4, Dlamini 0 0-0 0, Beistline 3 0-2 6. Totals — 24 1-6 53
William Penn_9_14_ 15_15_—_ 53
3-point goals — Pal 5 (Gundermann 2, Schultz, Werkheiser, Richardson). WP 4 (Hutchinson 2, Givens, Redman).