An already bunched-up YAIAA Division III boys' basketball race got a little cloudier on Thursday evening.
Bermudian Springs lost an opportunity to pull even with Division III front-runner Eastern York, falling at home to the York Suburban Trojans, 64-48.
"Coming in, we knew we were in a Division III footrace," Suburban head coach Dustin Boeckel said. "This was a must-win if we are to achieve our goal of winning the division."
Four Division III teams are battling for three YAIAA playoff spots, and each of those teams also remains alive for the division title. Eastern York has a 10-2 league record, while Bermudian and Suburban are 9-3. Susquehannock rounds out the bunch with a 9-4 record.
Bermudian has games remaing against Littlestown and Eastern York, while Suburban hosts Eastern on Friday and Susquehannock next Tuesday.
Bermudian head coach Tom Flaherty, while disappointed with the loss, remained positive.
"They know that we still have opportunities ahead of us," Flaherty said. "If you take it the right way and open your eyes, it can emphasize some things we didn't do, and things we need to do. I think our guys will take it the right way."
Bermudian was given a golden opportunity early in Thursday's contest, as the Trojans opened with a 3-of-15 shooting performance.The Eagles responded by grabbing an 11-7 lead after one quarter.
Bermudian led 3-0 halfway through the quarter when the offenses began to pick up. Silas Murren's reverse lay-up made it 5-0, but Isaiah Randall hit a jumper, then assisted on C.J. Boxley's three to tie the score.
Late in the period, Neil Murren hit deep treys on back-to-back possessions, with a jumper by Suburban's Evan Eberhardinger sandwiched between them.
The Trojans cut the lead to 16-13 midway through the second, and then exploded for a 10-0 run. The run culminated inside the three-minute mark with six Suburban points in 43 seconds.
P.J. McClane's jumper gave Suburban the lead for good, 17-16, and then, with 2:30 left until halftime, Boxley drove for a layup. Eberhardinger came up with a steal on the ensuing possession and flung an outlet pass to McClane, who converted an open layup.
On the next possession, Eberhardinger stole the ball again and drove inside the arc before pulling up and hitting a mid-range jumper.
"Our kids didn't give up or back down," Boeckel said. "They played with fantastic energy, and I knew shots were going to start to fall. That's been kind of our Achilles' heel -- getting off to good starts."
Eberhardinger, Suburban's leading scorer on the season, tallied a game-high 16 points, while Boxley and Randall added 15 and 12, respectively, for the Trojans.
Bermudian fought back slightly before halftime, as Zach Stroup hit a jumper and Alex Orwig sank two free throws to make it 23-20 at intermission.
After trading buckets to start the third, the Trojans went on a 16-2 run that spanned the rest of the third and into the fourth.
Boxley drove for a difficult, contested layup as time expired in the third, and pulled up for a jump shot a little over a minute into the fourth, and the Suburban lead was 41-26.
Two 3-pointers from Stroup pulled the Eagles within 10 with around two minutes left, but Bermudian got no closer.
"They just beat us because they did what needed to be done and we didn't," Flaherty said.
Silas Murren led the Eagles with 13 points, while his cousin Neil chipped in 12. Austin Hartzell led the team in assists with four despite heading to the bench briefly in the fourth to deal with a cut above his eye that sent blood trickling down the side of his face.
YORK SUBURBAN (64)
Evan Eberhardinger 6 3-4 16, C.J. Boxley 5 4-5 15, Moats 0 0-0 0, D. Boxley 0 0-0 0, McClane 2 0-0 4, Bauer 2 0-0 4, Briggs 0 0-0 0, Mears 0 0-0 0, McDowell 3 3-4 9, Isaiah Randall 5 2-3 12, Wise 1 2-2 4. Totals24 14-18 64.
BERMUDIAN SPRINGS (48)
Neil Murren 5 0-2 12, Orwig 2 2-2 6, Silas Murren 6 1-2 13, J. Stroup 0 0-0 0, Zach Stroup 4 0-0 10, Markle 1 0-0 2, Hartzell 0 5-6 5, Shearer 0 0-0 0, Moore 0 0-0 0, Horst 0 0-0 0. Totals18 8-12 48.
Y. Suburban 7 16 16 25 -- 64
Berm. Springs 11 9 6 22 -- 48
3-point goals -- York Suburban 2 (Eberhardinger, C. Boxley); Bermudian Springs 4 (N. Murren 2, Z. Stroup 2).
JV score -- York Suburban 37, Bermudian Springs 36.