Talk about tight.
Every possession was defended.
Nearly every shot was closely contested.
Traps and steals were commonplace, as was a blistering pace.
A one-point game was destined to be — again — between Yorktown and Wapahani.
And it was on Saturday night as the Tigers won the championship game of the Delaware County Tournament, 45-44.
“It was close and I expected that,” said Yorktown senior post player Justine Irelan, who helped lead a second-half surge and then helped hold off a relentless Wapahani attack in the closing minutes. “It was a very hard game. They played physical and we came back.”
She scored six points in the fourth quarter and totaled 11 for the game. Irelan also made a game-high eight rebounds.
Sophomore guard Katy Johnson led the Tigers with 16 points, including three treys. Kendra Saunders and Leslie Sargent added six apiece for Yorktown.
Hanna Rose scored all 12 Wapahani points as the Raiders took a 12-6 lead after the first quarter.
Yorktown battled back to a tie at 18 at halftime with five points from Irelan and Johnson. Irelan scored on a putback and then a free throw with two seconds left.
Yorktown entered the last quarter with a 31-28 lead.
Rose was frustrated after taking her second foul with 2:45 left in the first quarter and saw several shots barely rim out in the second half. She made five steals and four rebounds for Wapahani, which fell to 9-6.
She made one free throw in the fourth quarter and totaled a team-high 13. Freshman Kambrey Jolley led the Raiders back from 37-29 deficit with eight of her 11 points in the fourth quarter. Lindi Thomas scored nine points and Angelica McKibben eight for Wapahani.
Jolley hit two treys, including one with 1:20 left and another with less than a second left.
The game was a déjà vu in intensity and closeness from a 44-43 home victory for Wapahani on Dec. 4.
“I knew it was going to be close, but I didn’t have a doubt that we would finish it,” said first-year Yorktown coach Joy Dixon, whose team rose to 11-4. “I inherited a great group of girls and I am really proud of them.”
She substituted and called timeouts at opportune times to keep her players rested. She used only seven in the game.
“We were changing it up, having different people guard them,” Dixon said as she watched Irelan cut down the title net
Yorktown broke away quickly after halftime with a long 2 by Saunders and Johnson’s third trey of the game.
There were several scoreless seesaw periods of steals, turnovers and close calls by the referees.
Yorktown converted on only eight of 19 free throws, but six came in the final quarter.
The title was Yorktown’s fourth in the last five years. The Tigers also won in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
“This one felt so good because it’s my senior year,” Irelan said.