The York Catholic boys' basketball team looked like it was no match for the first 24 for minutes of Saturday's game against Vaux High School at New Oxford High.

The fourth quarter, however, was a different story. The Irish used a huge fourth quarter comeback to draw within one point with 28.8 seconds left before Vaux forced two turnovers that accounted for four easy points, giving them the 56-51 victory in the first round of the PIAA Class AA tournament.

Vaux had more athleticism and more height then the Irish and for the first three quarters, it showed. After three quarters, Vaux led 36-24 and seemed to be running away with it.

Michael Sperring and the rest of the York Catholic basketball team had another thing in mind.

"You can't say enough about our seniors," said York Catholic junior guard James Dougherty. "Mike (Sperring), Steve (Heusser), and Mark (Burnside), all those guys they stepped up and made big shots. They were our leaders out there. It's tough, but I don't think anyone can hang their head about today."

At the start of the fourth quarter, senior guard Heusser stole the inbounds pass and took it the rest of the way for a lay up to cut the lead to 10. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Vaux's Kyseem Roberts was called for pushing off.

York Catholic inbounded the ball and found Dougherty wide open along the baseline and he hit the jumper to make it an eight-point game.

Vaux turned the ball over on its next possession and Sperring drained a 3 from the top of the key to make it a five-point game, forcing Vaux to call a timeout.

The 7-0 run that the Irish went on was the first time all game that York Catholic showed any sign of life. Up until this point the Irish had not been able to formulate any offense and Sperring was struggling to find his shot.

The athleticism and size of Vaux seemed to intimidate the Irish up until this point.

However, coming out of the timeout, the confidence in the York Catholic huddle reached a fever pitch and the Irish took the court determined to battle back.

Vaux's Rasheed Jordan hit two free throws to extend the lead to seven before Sperring drained another 3-pointer to make it a four-point game at 38-34. The next four possessions resulted in both teams going to the free-throw line and ended with Vaux ahead, 42-37.

Burnside drove hard to the hoop on the Irish's next possession to cut the lead the three.

Burnside was plagued much of the game with foul trouble. The Irish missed the 6-foot-6 Burnside as Vaux dominated the boards for the majority of the game.

Both teams exchanged free throws on consecutive trips and Vaux was forced to take a timeout when York Catholic's defense prevented them from finding an open man, ahead 43-41.

Vaux went on to score the next three points before Sperring drained another 3-pointer to make it a two point game, 46-44.

The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth battle between Sperring of York Catholic and Jordan of Vaux.

Jordan answered Sperring's 3 with a 3 of his own to get the lead back to five.

Later in the fourth quarter, with 42 seconds left, off of a missed Vaux free throw, Sperring found Dougherty wide open for 3 and he buried it to cut the lead to one.

Unfortunately the luck of the Irish ran out as Vaux scored the next four points to seal the victory.

York Catholic finished the season 18-9, winners of the YAIAA Division IV title and District 3 ClassAA runners-up.

at New Oxford H.S.
VAUX (56)
   Chaplin 0 0-0 0, Rysheed Jordan 6 6-11 22, Tinley 2 1-2 5, Corey Morris 4 3-4 13, Cole 2 2-2 7, Roberts 1 1-2 4, Butler 2 1-1 5. Totals 17 14-22 56.
   James Dougherty 3 2-2 10, Rost 1 1-2 3, Heusser 1 2-2 4, Hartman 0 0-0 0, Montgomery 0 0-0 0, Michael Sperring 7 10-12 28, Burnside 2 0-0 4, Reichart-Warfel 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 15-18 51. 
Vaux  10  13  13  20 -- 56
York Catholic    5    9  10  27 -- 51

   3-point goals -- Vaux 8 (Jordan 4, Morris 2, Cole, Roberts), York Catholic 6 (Dougherty 2, Sperring 4).

More of Saturday's PIAA basketball coverage:

Imhotep Charter holds off Delone Catholic's rally

West York girls battle but fall short against Villa Maria Academy.

Dover's boys bow out against Lower Merion.

William Penn sees its season come to an end with a loss to Norristown.