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York Catholic loses luck late, falls in double OT

It was postseason basketball, it was hard-fought basketball and, in the end, it was a tough defeat for the York Catholic Fighting Irish.

York Catholic fell to Lancaster Mennonite, 64-63, in double overtime Thursday in a District 3 Class 3A semifinal at Red Land High School.

The season, though, isn't over for the Fighting Irish: The top four teams in the 3A bracket qualify for states. The Irish will play in the third-place game at 6:30 p.m. Monday against No. 4-seed Columbia, which lost 80-45 to No. 1-seed Trinity in the late semifinal Thursday night.

Trinity and Lancaster Mennonite will play in Wednesday's District 3 Class 3A title game at 8 p.m. at Giant Center in Hershey.

Still, this loss was a difficult pill to swallow for York Catholic.

The Irish led 54-51 with four seconds to play in the fourth quarter, following two clutch free throws from Steven Nigro. Mennonite answered coming out of the timeout, however. Isaac Beers took the ball the length of the floor and knocked down an incredible 3-pointer with his team on the brink, sending the contest to overtime.

Regardless, Catholic hung tough despite the absence of standout post player Melik Martin, who fouled out late in regulation. The Irish and Blazers went to double overtime tied 57-57, and turnover problems in the second OT prevented Lancaster Mennonite from putting the game away.

York Catholic's D'Andre Davis knocked down two free throws with 17 seconds to go, putting the Irish ahead 63-62. Coming out of the timeout, however, Mennonite worked the ball around the perimeter before getting it inside to Javan Terry, who muscled in a layup with four seconds remaining. York Catholic's full-court heave went wide of the goal as the buzzer sounded.

This is the second straight season York Catholic has fallen to Lancaster Mennonite in the district tournament. Last year the Blazers topped the Irish 62-44 in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A district bracket.

The two teams met earlier this season, with York Catholic winning 59-40.

"On one hand it sucks. On the other hand, our season's not over," Nigro said. "We've got to bounce back. We've got a game on Monday, we've got states. We're going to go as far as we need to go, as far as we have to go."

York Catholic overcame a slow start, a hot-shooting Mennonite team and foul trouble to Martin to trail just 30-24 at halftime.

Then, the Irish came out roaring in the third quarter. Davis scored seven-straight points to tie the game 32-32, and some nifty inside passing allowed forward Mark Shelley to get loose for some buckets. The Irish took a 44-38 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Davis led Catholic with 16 points, Andrew Forjan scored 11 and Kyle Derowski scored 10.

Beers finished with 17 for Mennonite. The Blazers also got 15 points from Terry.