York’s Season Ends In Quarterfinal Loss To Douglass

by Rusty Ellis

York Institute saw their season come to an end on Thursday afternoon in the Class 2A Quarterfinals against Douglass.

The Dragons took a 4-2 lead early, but the Red Devils finished the frame on a 10-2 run to take a 12-6 lead at the end of the first.

The second quarter saw the Red Devils find their offensive rhythm, as they outscored the Dragons 19-12 to take a 31-18 lead into the break.

Douglass opened the game up quite a bit in the third, as they shot 75% from three to push the lead to 17 heading into the fourth, despite a buzzer-beating three by Myles Leffew.

The Red Devils cruised to the finish-line from there, as they ended the Dragons’ season in 81-53 fashion.

Heath Wattenbarger led the way for the Dragons with 13 points, while Bryson Bilbrey added 12 of his own.

While not the finish to the season head coach Rodney Pile wanted, he knows this has been one of the most successful seasons in program history.

“It’s been a great year, one of the best in school history,” Pile said. “We won the regular-season district, the district tournament, region tournament and the sectional, and we had that 10-day layoff…I think we played well in spurts today, and Douglass is a great team. They all are once you get to this point.”

For lone senior Blaine York, this wraps up a career that saw three trips to the State Tournament, along with four consecutive region titles. As far as what he’ll miss the most about playing in Jamestown, he says it’s the fans that he’ll miss.

“It’s been great to represent this school, I grew up wanting to be here,” York said. “Having an entire town of people behind you is something special, so I know I’ll miss that for sure.”

And Pile made it clear that players like York have helped build the program into what it is today: a constant presence in the Glass House.

“We’re expecting right now to be back next year,” Pile said. “Blaine, and guys like Nic Smith and Jon Heddings have set the foundation for York basketball, and we want to keep it rolling. It’s bitter that Blaine is having to move on, but at the same time, we’re really looking forward to next year.”

The Dragons conclude the season with a 25-11 record.

Photos by Michael Lindsay