PORTLAND — The state tournament, said York High boys’ basketball coach Randy Small, is all about survival.

York’s quest to survive its Western Class B quarterfinal Saturday afternoon against Leavitt was made a little more difficult by a flu bug that ran through the team.

Six players were sick during the week and, said Small, “If we had to play Tuesday (in the preliminary round), I don’t know what we would have done.”

But fourth-seeded York looked plenty healthy against Leavitt, overwhelming the fifth-seeded Hornets on the way to a 59-38 win at the Portland Expo.

York’s defense was exceptional, taking the Hornets out of any inside game and forcing 20 turnovers, nine of which came in the first quarter.

“Defensively, probably our best game all year,” said Small. “Leavitt is a very, very good club. Give the kids all the credit. They really scouted Leavitt well in the classroom, on the court. Great team effort.”

York (15-4) will play in the semifinals Thursday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The Wildcats forced six turnovers in the opening four minutes, taking a 12-2 lead. But it wasn’t just the turnovers that perturbed Leavitt Coach Mike Hathaway. What bothered him was that York was able to score easily inside. York’s first six baskets came on layups or offensive rebounds.

“We didn’t do a good job keeping the ball in front of us,” said Hathaway. “They were able to get to the paint pretty easily.”

While the Hornets (15-5) settled down, they were never able to overcome the early deficit. York opened a 20-point lead with 4:07 left in the third quarter on two Aaron Todd foul shots. Leavitt responded with a 10-0 run but missed four foul shots in that stretch that could have cut the gap further.

York soared ahead again early in the fourth quarter, scoring eight straight points for a 51-32 advantage.

“We came out hard,” said senior guard Liam Langaas. “That’s been our game plan all year. We haven’t felt we’ve come out as hard as we can all year, so a focus was putting a team away early. Everything was going for us early, especially our defense, which allowed us to take control.”

Langaas led York with 20 points, while Todd had 14. Langaas said the Wildcats knew they had to control Leavitt’s inside presence, especially Jordan Hersom, who finished with just nine points.

“We had two, three guys around them down low,” said Langaas. “It was stifling. Nothing easy. It’s one of the things we practice, nothing easy on defense.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:
[email protected]
Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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