Over the past seven years, the York Catholic girls' basketball team hasn't been in this position much.

For a team that has played in six of the last seven PIAA Class AA state title games, the Irish have been in all kinds of games -- blowouts and nail biters included.

On Friday night, the Irish found themselves staring at a 14-point deficit at one point in the second half of its championship game contest against Berks Catholic in the Central York Panther Holiday Tournament.

They trailed by 12 entering the fourth quarter and that's when it happened.

The pressure defense caused turnovers, shots that didn't fall earlier went in and soon enough the Irish had tied the contest and forced overtime.

In that extra session, the Irish scored all their points from the foul line and the Saints didn't post a point in the 62-55 York Catholic victory.

"We told them we were going to make a comeback on our defense or we're going to lose because of our defense," Irish head coach Kevin Bankos said. "We have a tale of a couple teams within a team. We have a quick team when we need to come back and an aggressive team on defense if we need it and a tall team."

Morgan Klunk led the Irish's (6-1) fourth quarter charge. The senior was held to just two points in the first half, but finished with a game-high 21, including going 8-for-8 from the foul line.


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"Teams that we play are going to try and take Morgan away," Bankos said. "In the second half, we made some adjustments to bring Morgan in from behind the zone."

Klunk's basket at 1:01 tied the game at 55 in the fourth quarter and she went 4-for-4 from the foul line in overtime.

"It was frustrating (in the first half)," said Klunk, who was named the tournament's MVP. "We just made adjustments and the girls did a good job of getting me the ball in the middle."

Deanna Chesko added 14 for the Irish.

Courtney Wensel led the Saints (6-4) with 14 points and Katrina Balatgek, Courtney Wensel and Devon Merritt each added 11.

In the consolation game, Central York held off Solanco, 42-40, as the host Panthers rebounded from a heartbreaking loss on Thursday night.

"It was a very big win for us," Central head coach Andrew Stiffler said. "We executed better and found a way to finish at the end. We had a great defensive stop at the end of the game."

That stop Stiffler is eluding to occurred when Central's Samantha Sweeney stole the Golden Mules' inbound pass with just six seconds remaining and the Panthers ran out the clock.

The Panthers (2-5) found themselves down 11 points with 5:13 to play in the third, but got a huge lift from Alexis Cash.

Cash scored nine of her team-high 15 points during the frame to pull Central within a point by the end of the third quarter.

"Coming off of last night's loss, it was hard coming in today," Cash said. "But, we're all proud we came back right after the loss."

The Panthers scored the first six points in the fourth quarter -- all by Alexis Balanda (10 points) and never trailed again.

Sweeney finished with 11 points for Central.

Gillian Glackin led the Golden Mules with 18 points.

Members of the all-tournament team were Glackin, Sweeney, Merritt, Wensel and Chesko.

 

SOLANCO (40)
   Eberly 2 0-2 4, Parmer 0 0-0 0, Mauger 2 0-0 4, Mendez 2 1-2 7, Allport 1 0-0 2, Battiste 2 0-0 5, Gillian Glackin 4 10-11 18. Totals 13 11-15 40
CENTRAL YORK (42)
   L. Shellenberger 1 1-2 3, Windsor 0 0-2 0, Shifflett 1 0-0 3, Samantha Sweeney 5 1-3 11, Alexis Cash 6 3-3 15, Alexis Balanda 4 1-4 10, Hughes 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 6-14 42.
Solanco   13  9  10    8 -- 40
Central York     8  8  15  11 -- 42

   3-point goals -- Solanco 3 (Mendez 2, Battiste); Central York 2 (Shifflett, Balanda). 

 

BERKS CATHOLIC (55)
   Katrina Balatgek 4 2-2 11, Pollard 0 0-0 0, Janiszewski 1 0-0 2, Susan Bossler 5 0-1 11, Courtney Wensel 7 0-1 14, Devon Merritt 3 5-6 11, B. Wensel 3 0-0 6. Totals 23 7-10 55.
YORK CATHOLIC (62)
   York 1 2-3 4, McNamara 0 0-0 0, Deanna Chesko 7 0-4 14, Ressler 1 3-3 5, Morgan Klunk 6 8-8 21, Echevarria 4 0-0 9, Laslo 2 5-8 9. Totals 21 18-26 62.
Berks Catholic   15  14  17    9  0 -- 55
York Catholic   14    9  11  21  7 -- 62
   3-point goals -- Berks Catholic 2 (Bossler, Balatgek); York Catholic 2 (Klunk, Echevarria).