York Catholic, Delone Catholic will play for title
Delone Catholic coach Gerry Eckenrode called timeout early in the third quarter to remind his Squirettes what they'd worked on all week in practice and they responded very well to the veteran coach's message.
Sophomore Bradi Zumbrum and freshman Maddie Clabaugh took over the game, helping their team to a 66-41 victory over Middletown in the semifinals of the District 3 Class 3A girls' basketball tournament Friday night at South Western High.
Delone (19-6) led 32-26 when Eckenrode called for time and Zumbrum and Clabaugh supplied 10 points apiece to the Squirettes' 24-2 run to end the quarter.
"We emphasized turn, face and attack when we got the ball in the paint all week at practice," Eckenrode said. "I had to remind them of that."
Both Zumbrum (31 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists) and Clabaugh (18 points, 10 rebounds) established new career highs in points and junior Catie Apgar also got in the act of finding her teammates from the high post as she posted three assists.
"With the way Middletown defended, we knew that we could get a lot of high-low action," Eckenrode said. "It was just a matter of finishing our chances."
In the nightcap, York Catholic struggled without star junior Kate Bauhof, who missed the game with the flu.
But the Fighting Irish managed to defeat Pequea Valley, 55-42, though it took a 15-4 run to end the game by the Irish to finally put the Braves away.
"We're a talented team and the kids accepted the challenge of playing without Kate," York Catholic coach Kevin Bankos said. "Obviously it's a lot harder to win when you don't have a player that averages 18 points per game on the floor."
York Catholic (19-6) had a 36-23 lead early in the third quarter, but couldn't put the game out of reach until the final minute.
"We started really attacking the basket and drawing fouls in the fourth quarter," Bankos said. "We also created some turnovers and got some easy points out of it."
Kady Rader led the Irish with 14 points and eight boards, while Gina Citrone had 13 points and Abby Pilkey tossed in 11 points and corralled 13 rebounds.
The wins for the Squirettes and Irish mean that they will meet for the 3A championship on Thursday at Giant Center in Hershey at 6:15 p.m.
It's their first meeting in the title tilt since they played four consecutive years from 2011-14 with York Catholic taking home gold in all four meetings.
The Irish also took both regular season meetings this season to earn the YAIAA III title.