The last time Gettysburg and Eastern York met in YAIAA-2 girls basketball action, the Golden Knights trounced the Warriors, 61-27, on Jan. 29.
This time around, with the stakes as high as could be in the regular season, the two teams went toe-to-toe for 32 minutes. Eastern York again, however, came out victorious as Mara Weaver’s 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds remaining lifted the visitors to a 45-42 victory and clinched a YAIAA-2 title.
“So much of progress for us has been making steps forward,” Gettysburg coach Jeff Bair said after the game. “I told them after the game, I like where we are. We need to bring that intensity every night. We have to play to win every night.”
The Warriors (9-2 in YAIAA-2, 13-2 overall) came out of the gates on fire thanks in large part to junior Camryn Felix. Felix hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter, each one seemingly deeper than the last, to push the hosts out to an 18-8 lead after the first quarter.
“We run a lot of things to get her those kind of looks,” Bair said. “It’s about moving the ball and recognizing how they’re guarding us and she came in ready to shoot it tonight.”
The Warriors’ starting lineup played the entirety of the first quarter before Bair went to the bench to start the second. The Golden Knights (11-0, 15-1) struggled to chip away, however, and the lead remained at 18-8 with 5:30 to play in the half.
A Lilyana Campbell steal and layup brought the visitors within six at 22-16, but Felix answered with another triple for the last of her 15 first-half points. The lead held at 10 and Gettysburg went into the half up 26-16.
“My assistants and I just didn’t like the pace of the game in that first half,” Eastern York coach Brad Weaver said. “We’re trying to score 70-80-90 points every night.”
Out of the half the Knights showed a trapping 1-2-2 zone defense that started to give the Warriors problems. A number of cross-court passes led to steals and run outs for Eastern York and after Abby Henise hit a pair of free throws, the lead was down to 28-24 with mid-way through the third quarter.
“We sure didn’t handle it well,” Bair said of the zone. “I was hoping we would see that. We had been practicing for that for a week. People were open, we just didn’t throw strong enough passes and got ourselves in trouble sometimes. When we executed we got easy stuff, we just didn’t get easy stuff all the time.”
Cambell added another layup, part of her eight points in the frame, to make it a one-point game at 29-28, but the Warriors buckled down.
Briana Abate hit a layup for two of her 10 points on the night and then freshman Winter Oaster grabbed a steal and went coast to coast for an and-1 to push it back out to 34-28 with a minute remaining in the third.
“In a game with this much emotion, you have to get some break or you’ll make mental errors,” Bair said of his bench. “I’m very confident in Laura (Fortnum) and Winter and Carly Eckhart and Emili Scavito. They’re ready to play.”
Bair then tried to get a minute of rest for his daughter and starter point guard, Anne Bair, but it resulted in a 4-0 run for Eastern York to cut the lead to 34-32 after the third quarter.
Gettysburg clung to a 38-35 lead with 5:30 to play after a Felix layup gave her the first points of her second half and the last of the night. She would finish with a game-high 17.
The lead shrunk to 38-37 before a Henise layup made it 39-38 and gave Eastern York its first lead of the game with 2:10 left to play.
A Breana Grim foul shot pushed it to 40-38 before Abate went to the line for two with 49 seconds remaining. She missed both but Karli Bortner came up with a big offensive rebound for the Warriors. Out of a timeout, Bair was fouled and went to the line with 44 seconds remaining. She made the first, but missed the second and Victoria Zerbe went to the line to hit two and make it 42-39 with 42.7 left to play.
On the next trip down, Anne Bair swung the ball to a wide-open Skye Shepherd who drilled a triple from the wing to tie the game at 42 with 30 seconds to play and send the limited number of fans in attendance into an uproar.
Eastern York then tried to hold for the final shot and Weaver took a timeout of his own with 13 seconds to play.
Out of the timeout, Zerbe dribbled to her left and handed the ball off to Maya Weaver, who rose up and nailed a 3-pointer from the wing to put the Knights back on top, 45-42, with 5.8 to play.
“She’s surprised me a lot in the four years that I’ve coached her and hit some wild shots at the end,” Brad Weaver said of his daughter Maya’s game-winner. “She’s not afraid to shoot.”
The Warriors got one last look at a tying 3-pointer as Bair found Felix on the wing, but her contested attempt came up short and Eastern York came out with the victory.
Eastern York 8 8 16 13 — 45
Gettysburg 18 8 8 8 — 42
Eastern York (45): Campbell 6 0-0 12, Seitz 1 0-0 3, Zerbe 3 2-3 8, Henise 2 2-2 6, Grim 1 1-2 3, Weaver 5 1-1 13. Totals: 18 6-8 45.
Gettysburg (42): Felix 6 0-0 17, Oaster 1 1-1 3, Bortner 1 0-0 3, Shepherd 1 0-0 3, Bair 1 4-6 6, Abate 4 2-11 10. Non-scorers: Eckhart, Fortnum, Scavito. Totals: 14 7-18 42.
3-pointers: EY — Weaver 2, Seitz. G — Felix 5, Shepherd, Bortner.