If imitation is the best form of flattery, as some say, then the Saints of Berks Catholic paid Delone Catholic the highest compliment in the District 3 Class 4A girls’ basketball championship at Giant Center in Hershey on March 5. The Saints gave the Squirettes all they could handle before falling to Delone, 33-27.
While Delone Catholic did not play their best basketball, credit must go to the Saints for playing excellent defense with relentless ball pressure on the Squirettes the entire game. Few do that better than Delone Catholic, whose defense held Berks to just three points in the first quarter. They built an 11-point lead early in the second quarter to put the Saints in a hole that was just too deep to climb all the way out of.
Yet, offensively, Delone Catholic (25-1) struggled to find any offensive flow the entire game. And given the Saints run nearly the same offense Delone Catholic does, both teams seemed to know the looks each was trying to get. If not for senior Giana Hoddinott’s 16 points and nine rebounds, many coming in the fourth quarter when the Squirettes were struggling to beat Berks Catholic’s full-court pressure, Delone Catholic’s bid for a 3rd consecutive District 3 championship would have been thwarted.
Great teams, however, win when they do not play their best, and though it wasn’t pretty, the gold medals and championship trophy are striking nonetheless, and made the trip back to McSherrystown instead of Reading. This victory marked the third time Delone Catholic has beaten the Saints this season, each time previously by double digits.
“We struggled on offense, no question,” Giana Hoddinott said after the game. “Our defense has been solid, but we have been out of sync and forcing our offense lately. We’ll fix it.”
Delone Catholic has also dealt with a couple of injuries and illnesses of late. The Squirettes won a state title in 2019 when this core group were freshmen, so the desire is there to taste that drink again. But only one team wins their last game of the season, and career for matter. It usually takes your best game to win a state championship, especially so in 4A which is home to bigger schools and deeper talent pools.
Delone came up short in their bid for a state title this year, losing to Lansdale Catholic in the state quarterfinals on March 16.
“We have been playing with each other since the third grade,” Hoddinott said. “We know each other, we have dealt with adversity many times, so dealing with obstacles or adversity is just no big deal for us. We have done that many times … our goal remains to win a state championship back here in this building.”
It’s a feat this excellent basketball team would like to imitate from a few seasons ago.
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness