JUMPING FOR JOY — The Gettysburg girls’ basketball team celebrates after defeating previously unbeaten Delone Catholic, 46-37, in a YAIAA Tournament quarterfinal game on Saturday evening at Dallastown.

The Delone Catholic girls’ basketball team almost forgot what it felt like to lose. An old, familiar foe made sure no one in the YAIAA remained invincible.

Gettysburg once again put the league on notice, knocking off a seemingly invincible Squirette team, this time with a 46-37 victory in the YAIAA quarterfinals on Saturday evening at Dallastown.

“Our girls went to another level tonight, especially in the second half,” said Gettysburg coach Jeff Bair. “That’s what playoff basketball is supposed to do. You push each other to a higher level.”

Last year’s Squirettes had been favored by many pundits, but their confidence was still growing. This season’s squad came in with pure swagger, having won 27 straight, beginning with last year’s five-game run to PIAA Class 3A championship.

An endless rotation of Gettysburg defensive schemes stunted a Squirettes’ offense that averaged 63 points per game this year. A strong first half by Taylor Richardson gave the Warriors momentum. Yet the Squirettes managed to recover at every turn until an epic run from Anne Bair. The sophomore scored eight straight points to give the Warriors a 34-26 lead at the end of the third quarter. A flashy assist on the first possession of the fourth gave Gettysburg just enough cushion to survive one last burst from the Squiretttes.

“She’s a confident young guard and she knew she could get to the basket against this defense,” coach Bair said. “We wanted the ball in her hands, the girls made sure it would happen and we took care of the game down the stretch.”

After trailing 22-17 at the half, the Squirettes swung momentum back in their direction with a bomb from Brooke Lawyer. The 3-pointer fell true from nearly three yards behind the arch, energizing the Delone crew. Abby Jacoby hit a long jumper from the left corner to tie at 22, and Maggie Hughes and Makenna Mummert traded buckets with Richardson to push the tie to 26-all with 3:28 to play in the third.

The Squirettes had fulfilled their biggest defensive objective, limiting Bair to seven points to that moment. It took a former Squirette to get the Warriors’ fierce and flashy guard going in the critical stretch.

Sophomore guard Camryn Felix drove to the left side, pulling the action away from Bair as she cut across the baseline. Felix fed her new teammate with a perfect bounce pass that got Bair on the board for an easy layup.

Bair continued to weave through traffic, hitting another layup then drawing a foul to make two from the charity stripe. The last bucket of the quarter came after Bair recovered a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for the 34-26 lead.

The biggest moment of the run was yet to come.

Controlling the ball above the 3-point line, Bair darted forward and back on the dribble, daring her defender to come out. With each attempt, she seemed to take a mental note of how the Delone Catholic defense adjusted.

On the seventh try, she made her move. Sprinting down the left side of the paint, she waited for the help-side defense to break away from Richardson, then wrapped the ball around the girl on her hip. With one smooth motion, Richardson collected the firm bounce pass and lobbed it off the glass for a 36-26 lead.

“When we spread the floor and I beat my girl, they collapse and I can find the bigs, then we can use our height,” Anne Bair said. “That really got us going. We just knew how big of a game this was for us. Twenty-seven games, they’ve been on a streak here.”

Delone’s final push once again started with a Lawyer 3. She banked one off the backboard to give her team a boost. Hughes got a quick bucket and a mid-court steal by Giana Hoddinott turned into another easy layup.

Mummert cut the lead to 37-35 as she sliced through the lane for 2 on a pass from Abigail Vingsen, but that was as close as the Squirettes would get.

Bair crashed the lane twice more for buckets, then got to the foul line twice to put the game out of reach.

“For them to win, Anne had to play really well,” Eckenrode said. “We’ve played better. We didn’t play well tonight.”

Coach Bair complimented Richardson’s efforts underneath. In addition to 16 points, she collected eight rebounds.

“We knew they would front and be in the middle,” Richardson said. “When Anne does her dribble at half court, they eventually come in. It’s easy to find me or Lily (Natter) for points inside.”

The Squirettes went 3-for-23 from 3-point range and were forced to fire from long range often.

“We’re a 33 percent three-point shooting team,” Eckenrode said. “The bottom line is we shot the ball poorly. You can attribute that to their great defense or our poor shooting. I guess the truth lies somewhere in the middle.”

Natter and Richardson all but eliminated Delone’s inside game.

On the outside, the Warriors were able to limit Delone’s leading scorers, Hoddinott and Lawyer, to four and six points, respectively. A big 3-ball threat in last year’s victory over Delone, Gettysburg’s Cheyenne Proctor only hit one this year. But with a constant hand in Lawyer’s line of vision, Proctor also limited the Squirette’s deadshot from distance to a pair of triplets.

Former teammates Felix and Hoddinott squared off defensively, shutting down one another’s games almost entirely. Felix finished with one point but was thrilled with her performance.

“That’s the best one-point game I think I’ve ever experienced,” Felix said. “Me and Gi both played really hard defense. We know each other so well. I never got the big defensive assignment last year, so I was really happy to get that chance against Gianna.”

Coach Bair gushed over the performance.

“Camryn has become a really good defender,” he said. “She has progressed all since November and she’s becoming a lockdown defender. That just makes us better.”

Eckenrode was short with his comment regarding his former player.

“I don’t think that had any bearing on the game,” he said. “None.”

A key player in the Squirettes’ state championship last year, Felix parted ways with the team due to stylistic differences.

Playing against her former teammates, she looked refreshed to have played a part in the victory.

“I’m very happy right now,” she said. “I love all those girls with all my heart and I wish them the best the rest of the season. They’re a great team and I’ve been playing with them since I was in third grade. It was very weird playing against them. I’m so happy where I am with great teammates and a great coach. I’m just happy for the win.”

Gettysburg returns to Dallastown on Wednesday to face Central York in a semifinal game at 7:30.

Contact Adam Michael at amichael@gettysburgtimes.com. Follow on Twitter at @GoodOldTwoNames

Delone Catholic 12 5 9 11 - 37

Gettysburg 15 7 12 12 - 46

Delone Catholic (37): Abigael Vingsen 2 2-4 6, Abby Jacoby 2 0-0 5, Giana Hoddinott 1 2-3 4, Brooke Lawyer 2 0-0 6, Maddie Sieg 1 0-3 2, Makenna Mummert 5 0-0 10, Maggie Hughes 2 0-0 4. Totals: 15 4-10 37.

Gettysburg (46): Camryn Felix 0 1-2 1, Lily Natter 2 1-1 5, Anne Bair 7 7-9 21, Cheyenne Proctor 1 0-0 3, Taylor Richardson 5 6-8 16. Non-scores: Autumn Oaster, Madison Proctor, Brianna Abate. Totals: 15 15-20 46.

3-pointers: DC-Jacoby, Lawyer 2; G-C. Proctor 1.

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