Yorktown girls basketball coach Joy Matthews embraced the fact that Saturday’s Delaware County Tournament championship game against Delta would be a defensive-oriented contest. The Tigers often play low-scoring games, and always embrace defense.
Her counterpart, Delta coach Bruce Ruble, was also putting an emphasis on defense. He told his team that a worthy goal would be to hold Yorktown to fewer than 40 points while keeping the game close throughout.
Both coaches’ predictions seemed accurate. Yorktown repeated as tournament champion by holding on in a defensive struggle, picking up a 40-34 victory, scoring the exact number of points Ruble had hoped to keep the Tigers under.
Yorktown held modest leads throughout much of the game. The Tigers never led by more than five points at the end of any quarter except for the fourth. And Delta’s defensive intensity only seemed to increase in the second half, with the Eagles forcing 11 turnovers in the last two periods after generating four in the first half.
The Tigers had two double-figure scorers who helped break up Delta’s defensive streaks. Senior Katie Wolfert finished the game with 18 points. She connected for five 3-pointers. Freshman Jenna Irelan, who came off the bench, scored 11 points, with nine of them coming in the first half to help her team establish its lead.
“I just feel like our team just had to fight today, just like we do every single game,” Matthews said. “We stuck true to what we do, our system. And once again, it’s a low-scoring game. We ended up on top, and we make a few more shots here and there, maybe it’s not so close. But, it is, it’s a huge deal for us to repeat.”
Micaya Richardson paced Delta, finishing the game with 15 points. Teaghan Dishman scored nine points and Ericka Pursley scored eight for the Eagles. Delta hit several key shots to bring its deficit back within just a few possessions, but the Eagles never turned those scores into a run sufficient to take control.
“We got on a run, and then they’d hit a shot and then we’d go on a cold spell,” Ruble said. “They’d hit a couple shots and then we’d go on a run. And then right when we had a chance to get a couple baskets, we couldn’t get them to go. We had good looks. I’ll tell you what, the effort was unbelievable. I told the kids, I said, ‘That’s as much emotion and as much heart as I’ve seen them play with all year.'”