Defending Bermudian Springs is a much different proposition when junior sharpshooter Hannah Chenault isn’t on the floor.
Without Chenault for the second straight game due to injury, the Eagles were unable to make up for her absence in losing to visiting York Catholic, 61-49, in YAIAA-3 girls’ basketball action in York Springs.
Chenault, who was injured in Berm’s 49-46 loss to Delone Catholic, averages 13.5 ppg, second on the team, and leads the Eagles in 3-pointers made with 20.
“She’s a pure shooter and she’s got the quickest release of any of their kids,” York Catholic head coach Kevin Bankos said. “Without her out there, we were able to commit more of our defense to (Lillian) Peters and she is a beast inside. So being able to help more on her really helped us. She couldn’t dominate the game inside like she does sometimes.”
Berm (8-4, 6-3) turned the ball over 15 times before halftime and 19 in the game, with the biggest contributing factor being Chenault’s absence, according to Eagles’ head coach Todd Askins.
“We don’t really have another ball handler and teams know that,” Askins said. “It changes the way teams are able to defend us.”
He continued, “We just play differently when Hannah isn’t out there. I think the girls try to force things, instead of playing team basketball.”
York Catholic (4-4, 3-2) led 47-37 following Julianna Bona’s bucket with 6:36 remaining in the contest and the Fighting Irish scored just one more time from the field in the game.
The visitors’ lead stood at 48-44 after Berm’s Amelia Peters buried back-to-back triples, but freshman Meredith Smith answered with a hoop at the other end with 3:31 to go.
Following that, Ashley Patterson began a parade to the charity stripe for the Irish with 2:56 left and they made 10-of-12 from there over the next 2:17 to put the game out of reach.
“We’ve been shooting well from the free throw line this season,” Bankos said. “We wanted to be aggressive and get there often.”
YC made 20-of-26 (77 percent) charity tosses for the night, including 12-of-16 in the fourth quarter.
Berm fell into a 12-3 hole just over three minutes into the game and trailed 16-10 after the opening quarter.
A strong beginning to the second quarter by YC pushed the Irish’s advantage to 23-12, before Berm responded with seven straight, but the guests popped in the final six of the half to go to intermission holding a 29-19 advantage.
Irish senior Sam Bulik’s 3-pointer early in the third quarter pushed the lead to 32-21, before the Eagles ran off an 11-0 run that was capped by Keri Speelman’s triple at the 3:38 mark to even things at 32.
However, a hoop by Bulik that was sandwiched by a pair of trifectas from Smith over a 54-second span pushed YC’s advantage back to eight at 40-32.
The teams went to the final stanza with York Catholic leading, 43-37.
“We just weren’t ready to go tonight and I was afraid of that before the game. We didn’t practice (Thursday) and then we fell way behind early tonight,” Askins said. “They’re a talented team with an excellent coach and he had his team ready to go. They played like they wanted it more than we did. They got after loose balls better than we did.”
Speelman led the Eagles, who placed four players in double figures, with 12 points, while also corralling seven boards. Bailey Oehmig posted 11 points and nine boards before fouling out with 3:17 left. Lillian Peters and Leah Bealmear each chipped in with ten points, while Peters hauled down ten rebounds.
For York Catholic, Bulik led the way with 17 points, while Smith had 16 points and seven caroms off the bench.
Things will get no easier for the Eagles in their next contest as they look to snap their losing streak that has seen them fall from fourth in the District 3 Class 4A power rankings to eighth. They return to the hardwood on Monday with a road game at Greencastle-Antrim (8-2).
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
York Catholic 16 13 14 18 — 61
Bermudian 10 9 18 12 — 49
York Catholic (61): Ashley Patterson 1 3-4 5, Gabbie Tully 1 0-0 3, Drew Kile 1 7-8 10, Sam Bulik 4 7-9 16, Julianna Bona 4 1-1 10, Meredith Smith 6 2-4 16. Non-Scorers: Keely Brennan, Paige O’Brien. Totals: 17 20-26 61.
Bermudian Springs (49): Leah Bealmear 4 1-2 10, Keri Speelman 4 1-2 12, Lillian Peters 1 8-10 10, Bailey Oehmig 4 1-2 11, Amelia Peters 2 0-0 6. Non-Scorers: Avery Benzel, Megan Huntington, Rebecca Durbin, Lily LaBure. Totals: 15 11-16 49.
3-pointers: YC-Bulik 2, Smith 2, Tully, Kile, Bona; BS-Speelman 3, Oehmig 2, Bealmear, A. Peters. JV: Bermudian 27, York Catholic 22