GRAND ISLAND – York head coach Matt Kern’s look of bewilderment on Tuesday night at Grand Island Central Catholic High School was with good cause.
His Dukes, who were getting all they could handle from the 4-8 Crusaders, were also providing the hosts with several second and third chances on the offensive boards. York also had a bad case of the turnover bug as well.
With all of that going against them, it wasn’t in the cards for the Dukes as the Crusaders held on to pull off the upset with a final score of 40-37 in non conference girls' action.
York struggled from the floor in the second half as they were 0-9 in the third quarter, and it wasn’t until the 5:23 mark of the fourth quarter that the York girls scored their first basket of the second half, a trey from Veronica Botts.
The basket by Botts seemed to break the seal on the hoop as just 30 seconds later another 3-point shot, this time from junior Hannah Riley, tied the score at 37-37.
The Crusaders, who came in averaging just 34 points a game, went on top 38-37 on a free throw by Emma Benton with under three minutes to play, and on the Dukes' very next possession the seal was back on the hoop as they missed all four shots including three in the paint from close range.
Things went from bad to worse as the Crusaders used two free throws from senior Kelsie Scheel to up their lead to 40-37 with 40 seconds to play.
On York’s next trip down the floor they were whistled for traveling ... that was turnover number 21 on the night.
A foul on the Dukes sent GICC’s Mckenna Kime to the line, but the senior missed the freebie and York brought the ball up court and called timeout with 12 seconds left.
It would be turnover number 22 that would give the Crusaders the ball back and even though they missed a free throw with four seconds to play, Hannah Riley’s long 3-point attempt was no good at the buzzer sending the Dukes to their fifth loss in 11 games.
On two different occasions, one in the first quarter and another in the second, it appeared York might be able to pull away.
In the first quarter York led 11-5, and in the second they led by a 19-11 count midway through the quarter.
The Crusaders were just stronger on the offensive glass all night long as they scored 16 second-chance points.
At the break the Dukes led 26-22, but the final two quarters were a nightmare for Kern’s crew.
Leading the scoring for York was Erin Malleck with 13 and Riley with 11. York was 13-47 from the field and that included a 4-17 night from behind the 3-point arc. The Dukes hit 7-12 at the free throw line.
The Crusaders were paced by 18 from Scheel. Next in line scoring wise were Kime and Meghan Krajicek with six each.
GICC was 17-45 from the floor and 1-3 from the 3-point marker. The Crusaders finished 5-7 at the charity stripe.
York (6-5) will be back in action on Friday at Crete.
York (6-5).......................................15 11 2 9- 37
GICC (5-8)..............................11 11 11 7- 40