York Catholic’s Michael Sperring falls over Delone Catholic’s Cooper Ayres while shooting the ball in the third quarter on Friday. The York
York Catholic's Michael Sperring falls over Delone Catholic's Cooper Ayres while shooting the ball in the third quarter on Friday. The York Catholic boys defeated Delone Catholic, 61-48, in basketball at home. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - CHRIS DUNN)
On this night, the manner of its victory didn't much matter to the York Catholic boys' basketball team.

A few too many turnovers? No big deal.

Some disjointed play here and there? So what.

All the Fighting Irish cared about Friday was the result: A 61-48 win over YAIAA Division IV rival Delone Catholic in James Forjan Gymnasium.

After all, this was a game they had painted a bull's eye on months ago. York Catholic had lost three times to the Squires last season, including a District 3 Class AA playoff defeat that ended its season.

"This was a payback game," Irish senior Michael Sperring said.

York Catholic might not have been perfect. But in a taut contest filled with turnovers and fouls, the Irish combined some timely offense with a dogged defense that ultimately made the difference.

In the end, York Catholic got what it came for. It was the program's first win against Delone in seven tries, a drought that dated back to the 2006-07 season.

The Irish (8-3, 6-0) also took a one-and-a-half game lead over Delone (8-5, 5-2) in the Division IV standings. The two teams play again at Delone on Feb. 7.

"I think they were motivated by it," York Catholic coach Joe Keesey said of the Squires' recent dominance. "That was a huge factor. They're probably our biggest rival now."

The Squires had mostly their own wastefulness to blame for the defeat.


After emerging from the first quarter with a 15-10 lead, Delone stumbled through the second and third stanzas. It committed a combined 16 turnovers in the middle two quarters -- and made four field goals in that span -- while the Irish surged ahead.

Delone finished the night with 24 giveaways. All but two of those occurred after the first quarter.

"Turnovers and not moving the basketball to the open person really hurt us," Delone Catholic coach Jim Dooley said. "It was the worst passing we've had on the break all year. And we're good at that. That's a real strong point for us."

York Catholic took advantage. The Irish suffered a few sloppy spells -- they frittered away 22 turnovers themselves -- but they also did a better job of attacking the basketball and cashing in on the Squires' blunders.

Mark Burnside, York Catholic's 6-foot-6 senior, inflicted much of the damage; he finished with 22 points, thanks in part to a 9-of-12 performance at the foul line. He also added 11 rebounds.

"I was just trying to go to the open spot," Burnside said. "Down to the block, the foul line, wherever was open."

Burnside dropped in a layup off a long pass from Sperring to give the Irish a 37-30 lead at the end of the third quarter. Later, Sperring's right baseline 3-pointer midway through the fourth pumped York Catholic's lead to 46-34. The 6-foot-4 senior chipped in 13 points for the Irish, all in the second half.

Delone was able to rally; it cut the lead to six, 48-42, on a Michael Hertz lay-up with about three minutes left. The Irish were stalled in part by seven turnovers in the final quarter.

But Burnside added another lay-up, and the Irish tacked on from the foul line in the game's final minutes.

"I think that's the reason why we won the game, was because of our defense," Keesey said. "Because we were pretty sloppy sometimes on offense."

Seth Bullers (15 points) and Brett Smith (14) paced the Squires. Delone was also hurt by foul trouble -- starter Tanner Orndorff played less than four minutes in the second half before fouling out. In all, the teams combined for close to 40 fouls.

Minor details, as far as the Irish were concerned.

"We got beat by them pretty bad the last couple games," Sperring said. "It was our time."
@johnsclayton; 771-2045


   Brett Smith 4 5-7 14, Comly 2 0-0 6, Seth Bullers 4 4-4 15, Ayres 0 0-0 0, Hertz 3 1-2 7, Dye 3 0-1 6, Orndorff 0 0-0 0, Kilkelly 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 10-14 48.
   O'Brien 0 0-0 0, Dougherty 2 0-0 5, Rost 2 0-0 5, Heusser 3 3-4 9, Montgomery 3 1-2 7, Michael Sperring 3 5-6 13, Reichert-Warfel 0 0-0 0, Devlin 0 0-2 0, Mark Burnside 6 9-12 22. Totals 19 18-26 61.
Delone  15    9    6  18 -- 48
York Catholic  10  17  10  24 -- 61

   3-point goals -- Delone Catholic 6 (Buller 3, Comly 2, Smith), York Catholic 5 (Sperring 2, Dougherty, Rost, Burnside).
   JV score -- York Catholic 47, Delone Catholic 38.