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Berks Catholic loses to Eastern York in District 3 Class 4A boys basketball semifinal

Feb. 28—An early deficit proved insurmountable for Berks Catholic on Tuesday night.

The top-seeded Saints fell behind by 12 points early in the first quarter and never recovered, eventually falling to No. 5 seed Eastern York 51-44 in a District 3 Class 4A boys basketball semifinal at Wolf Gymnasium.

"We didn't have good defensive matchups on the floor at times," Berks Catholic coach Snip Esterly said. "That hurt us at times."

The two-time defending district champions, the Saints (21-4) clawed their way back into the game and trailed by just three points on two occasions in the fourth quarter, the last of which came when senior Parker Nein hit a deep 3-pointer with 1:03 to go to cut the Golden Knights' lead to 47-44.

However, the points were Berks Catholic's last of the game. Eastern York (17-7) was able to navigate the Saints' full-court defense and convert four of its final six free throws to seal the win.

"After I hit that (3-pointer), I thought we had a pretty good chance," Nein said. "Once they came down and broke our press, I thought it was pretty much over."

Nein led all scorers with 22 points. Senior teammate Josh McKoy finished with 16 points.

"(We were) very impatient offensively," Esterly said. "We didn't get enough points from other players except for Josh (McKoy) or Parker (Nein). We desperately needed somebody to step it up and it just wasn't happening tonight."

Eastern York opened the game with a 15-3 run. The Golden Knights led 17-6 after one quarter.

Berks Catholic started the second quarter with a 7-0 run to get back into the game, but struggled to find a consistent rhythm on offense. Eastern York led 26-20 at the half and 36-30 after three quarters.

The Golden Knights had four players score eight points or more. Senior Carter Foote-Renwick led Eastern York with 18 points, including five in the fourth quarter.

With the loss, the Saints will host No. 2 seed Fleetwood in the third-place game on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Wolf Gymnasium. Both teams already clinched a berth in the PIAA playoffs.

"We'll come ready to play," Esterly said. "We'll play some players that didn't get a shot (tonight)."