Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Delone Catholic Toppled by Wyomissing in District 3 Final

When Dr. James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891 at the YMCA in the river-facing slums of Springfield, Massachusetts, he wanted a game that taught his gym students the virtue of playing together by passing the basketball while athletically weaving and attacking the basket – a wooden peach basket hoisted 10-feet up on a pole. Some 130 years later, to win a game of basketball remains just as Dr. Naismith envisioned – only minus the old peach basket and dilapidated gym.

Two undefeated teams met in the District 3 Class 4A girls championship at the Giant Center in Hershey on February 29, and the Spartans of Wyomissing remained so by besting Delone Catholic, 45-32, in a game in which the Squirettes never could find an offensive rhythm. Seldom could they generate three-point looks that they patently knock down to throw a dagger in the opponent’s heart.

“I thought we had a good opportunity tonight to win, but we just were outplayed and outhustled by Wyomissing,” Delone’s head coach Gerry Eckenrode said after the game with a silver medal around his neck. “Give them credit, they beat us. But I thought we played timid, and just did not execute like we are capable. We had way too many turnovers and tipped passes, and I do not know the rebounding stats right now, but we definitely were beaten there.”

Beaten on the glass Delone surely was, as Wyomissing’s 6’1’’ center Amaya Stewart dominated the paint the entire game. Not only was she great defensively rebounding the basketball, she offensively gave Delone fits with her athleticism. She is a force that Delone could not answer for 32 minutes.

Wyomissing jumped out to a 13-5 lead in the first quarter, but typical of Delone Catholic, the Squirettes never panicked and rolled off an 8-0 run to tie the game midway through the second stanza. But the Spartans responded with an 9-0 run right after that and buried the Squirettes, whose cold shooting never let them climb back into the game again.

Wyomissing plays defense every bit as good as Delone does. Few teams match the Squirettes’ defensive intensity, but the Spartans can and did as they held Delone to 32 points. No team is going to win many championship games in front of a big crowd scoring eight points a quarter.

“We must buckle down; we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Coach Eckenrode said. “We have lost the district final before and won a state championship after. We will see what we can do. We must get better.”

(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)

By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness

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