It was a tall order for the York Catholic boys to beat Columbia in the District 3 Class 3A basketball final in a Saturday matinee at the Giant Center in Hershey on March 6.
The Crimson Tide are athletic and experienced and have only lost twice this season for several reasons – they shoot the ball well, push in transition with great ball-handling skill and play a quick 1-3-1 defense that makes it difficult to get three-point looks. The Fighting Irish could never get a consistent offensive flow to push Columbia out of their comfort zone: the 1-3-1 extended defense that they trap in the corners with.
The Fighting Irish made it a contest in the first quarter with their own match-up zone and transition baskets and tailed only 20-13 at half. Holding the Crimson Tide to just 20 points in 16 minutes was impressive, given the Tide average nearly 70 points per game scoring. But in the third quarter, Columbia buried a couple of threes and really limited York Catholic’s scoring chances by being aggressive with the zone defense. The final score was 47-30.
Columbia won their first District 3 title since 1994, which also meant the Tide were hungry to end their 28-year title drought. All five Fighting Irish starters return next year, which bodes well for this experienced and now battle-tested unit to compete for the championship gold in 2023.
(Photos by Bob Chadderdon.)
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness