Pine Grove’s Shannon Zimmerman tries to pass from the floor against York Catholic’s Deanna Chesko (No. 21) and Morgan Klunk in the second half
Pine Grove's Shannon Zimmerman tries to pass from the floor against York Catholic's Deanna Chesko (No. 21) and Morgan Klunk in the second half of a PIAA Class AA girls basketball quarterfinal game on Friday, March 15, 2013, at East Pennsboro High School. The Irish defeated the Cardinals 49-44. DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - CHRIS DUNN (Chris Dunn)

More: Jim Seip column: Hannah Laslo stands tall for Fighting Irish on the court

ENOLA -- Following York Catholic's 49-44 PIAA girls' basketball tournament quarterfinal win against Pine Grove on Friday, coach Kevin Bankos' starting point guard was upset with her play.

She spent a good portion of the night guarding Pine Grove's top player, junior Becky Evans.

She faced a physical and aggressive defense that forced the Irish (28-2) into 26 turnovers.

She also had the lone miss in an otherwise-perfect second quarter of York Catholic shooting the ball.

Thing is, Deanna Chesko's play, rough as it seemed to her, is a big reason the Irish are back in the Class AA semifinals, where they will face St. Basil Academy on Tuesday at a time and place to be determined.

Chesko came into Friday night's quarterfinal at East Pennsboro High School with the assignment of Evans from the start. The Cardinals standout needed just four points to reach 1,000, and she didn't reach it until the third quarter -- while Chesko had switched assignments to another player.

The turnovers? Chesko could only chalk them up to mental lapses but said they have "adapted" by getting those miscues back on the defensive end. Take Evans, for example. The leading scorer for Pine Grove (24-5) finished with a game-high 17 points, but she had just three by halftime. At that point, the Irish lead was 12.

It was all made possible by a 6-of-7 York Catholic shooting performance in the second quarter. The lone miss was Chesko's, but she made up for it by following her shot, cutting left and putting the carom back for two of her nine points. Moments later, Zaenna Echevarria's short-running jumper put the Irish up by double digits for the first time as part of an eight-point run.

"We had the fire," Chesko said. "We had the fire, and we kept it going. We wanted to show everyone who we were, we're not backing down, this is our game."

Chesko's offensive rebound on her lone second-quarter miss was another reason the Irish overcame their mistakes with the basketball. They outrebounded the Cardinals 30-18. Eleven of those York Catholic rebounds were on the offensive end, and 6-foot-2 sophomore Hannah Laslo was the main contributor. She had 16 boards, including five offensive rebounds. Two of them came on one possession in the third quarter that gave the Irish their biggest lead of the night, 35-20.

But that pivotal second quarter made such a difference that Pine Grove coach Chris George thought his team just ran out of time in playing catch-up in the second half. Bankos agreed, citing the Cardinals' comeback Tuesday against Mount Carmel.

"I thought the game was won in the second quarter," Bankos said. "That second quarter, we imposed our will on them enough that I'm sure (George) told them we've got to gamble."

Pine Grove cut York Catholic's lead to 39-35 with just less than 5 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Momentum was on the Cardinals' side with Irish senior Morgan Klunk forced to watch after committing her fourth foul on a charge.

Chesko and her teammates were ready for it, though. Just like preparing for Pine Grove's physical defense -- which Chesko said was simulated in practice by adding a sixth and seventh defender -- Bankos will occasionally have one of his key ballhandlers sit for a stretch. Sometimes it's Chesko, or it can be Echevarria or Klunk.

York Catholic’s Morgan Klunk drives past Pine Grove’s Shannon Zimmerman in the first half of a PIAA Class AA girls basketball quarterfinal game
York Catholic's Morgan Klunk drives past Pine Grove's Shannon Zimmerman in the first half of a PIAA Class AA girls basketball quarterfinal game on Friday at East Pennsboro High School. The Irish defeated the Cardinals, 49-44. (Daily Record/Sunday News - Chris Dunn)

"Unfortunately I'd love to practice something else," the coach said, "and that we'd just stay the heck out of foul trouble. But apparently we get into it, so we've implemented it into our game plan to figure out who's in foul trouble and who's not playing well."

 

* * *

 

Tickets: State semifinal tickets will be sold at the York Catholic main office from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Monday, and from 7:30 a.m. until noon Tuesday. Adult tickets cost $6; student tickets cost $3.
@mgoul; 771-2045

PINE GROVE (44)
   Sampson 2 1-2 5, Lauren Thompson 5 0-1 11, Becky Evans 6 3-3 17, Zimmerman 3 0-1 6, Conrad 1 0-0 2, Bertasavage 1 0-0 3, Ney 0 0-0 0, Edge 0 0-0 0.Totals18 4-7 44.
YORK CATHOLIC (49)
   York 1 0-2 2, Chesko 2 4-5 9, Ressler 3 0-0 6, Morgan Klunk 5 1-2 12, Echevarria 3 0-0 6, Hannah Laslo 5 4-4 14, Keffer 0 0-0 0, McNamara 0 0-0 0. Totals19 9-13 49.
Pine Grove   11  4  12  17 -- 44
York Catholic   13  14  10  12 -- 49
   3-point goals -- Pine Grove 4 (Evans 2, Thompson, Bertasavage); York Catholic 2 (Chesko, Klunk).