York Catholic has two girls on its varsity basketball roster standing at least 6-foot. Coach Kevin Bankos said Kathryn McNamara thinks she's the third.
Listed at 5-7 and the only player Bankos used off his bench in the Irish's 57-44 YAIAA Division IV win against Delone Catholic, McNamara could have made the Squirettes believers.
The senior guard swooped into the post and past Delone's 5-9 Mary Gingrow with 2 minutes, 27 seconds remaining for a putback that put the Irish up by eight. That difference was what McNamara scored on the night -- all in the fourth quarter -- in helping York Catholic (9-1, 5-0) hold off a Delone (10-3, 5-1) rally and take over first place in the division.
"She is a tough kid who plays her heart out all the time and is gaining confidence on the offensive end, which is good to see," said Bankos, who admitted she is really 5-4. However, the coach added that mindset is "the beauty of the way she plays the game. I'm not afraid to put her on a person down inside or a girl outside on any given moment."
Morgan Klunk, the leading scorer Friday with 21 points, could appreciate her fellow senior's effort, too. With junior guard Deanna Chesko out sick, more of the ball-handling burden against the pressing Squirettes fell upon Zaenna Echevarria and Klunk. They needed teammates to play bigger roles.
In stepped McNamara and junior Amelia York.
York added 11 points, with seven coming in the second half. Her jump shot late in the game put York Catholic up 48-42 before McNamara made her biggest basket -- the putback off a long Echevarria attempt.
"Katie definitely came in and stepped up. She made foul shots that were totally clutch," said Klunk, referring to McNamara's one-and-one free throws that later put the Irish up by double digits for good.
They closed with a 15-4 run after Delone Catholic cut the lead to two with 6 minutes left. York Catholic controlled the tempo throughout the second quarter and until late in the third, when Squirettes sophomore guard Maddie Comly closed with back-to-back baskets.
At the time, a 12-point lead quickly became seven. Then five, and soon just two, at 42-40, as Delone Catholic's full-court press forced repeated turnovers.
"It showed when we needed to break the press," Klunk said of missing Chesko. "Deanna's a real good ballhandler and she sees the floor well."
The rivals forced nearly the same number of turnovers -- York Catholic had 18 to Delone's 17. Squirettes coach Gerry Eckenrode said the difference was his team's inability to score off those turnovers.
"We didn't attack with pressure like we've practiced. I guess that was a little disappointing," Eckenrode said. "We got the ball across the floor, but we didn't make them pay."
Bankos echoed the sentiment in regards to facing the press, saying, "We practiced it, believe it or not. It didn't look like it, but we certainly knew what was coming."
They also adjusted to it for the final 6 minutes, and did so by using only one senior off the bench who played larger than her stature in York Catholic's biggest game yet this season.
DELONE CATHOLIC (44)
Molly Gingrow 4 0-0 8, Julie Mall 2 0-0 4, Maddie Comly 7 2-3 16, Abbey Sponseller 5 0-0 12, Bethany Ball 1 0-0 2, Molly Durbin 0 0-0 0, Paige Becker 0 0-0 0, Allyson Shipley 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 2-3 44.
YORK CATHOLIC (57)
Hannah Laslo 4 3-3 11, Morgan Klunk 9 1-4 21, Zaenna Echevarria 2 0-0 6, Amelia York 5 0-0 12, Marissa Ressler 0 0-0 0, Kathryn McNamara 2 4-4 8. Totals 22 8-11 57.
Delone Catholic 11 4 18 11 -- 44
York Catholic 13 14 13 17 -- 57
3-point goals -- Delone Catholic 2 (Sponseller 2); York Catholic 5 (Klunk 2, Echevarria 2, York).
JV score -- York Catholic, 57-41.