YORK >> A twisting, turning drive to the hoop by Jameson Kolb midway through the fourth quarter Friday night produced a timely three-point play and brought comeback-minded Jenkintown within six points of York Country Day.
Kolb was in the midst of a 25-point performance and John Contoudis’ defense was holding the sensational Jordan Ray well under his scoring average, as the Drakes were maybe one more push away from drawing even.
“They were switching man-to-man,” Jenkintown coach Wes Emme said of York’s defense, “and we had 20 turnovers, which were caused by that, but we were confident that we would be able to beat it.
“Problem with that is that we score as a team — we’re not an individual-scoring team. We rely on guys to get other guys shots. (York is) so athletic and so rangy that it made it difficult for us to keep the ball moving consistently.”
The Greyhounds prevented Jenkintown from getting any closer, pulling away to a 67-58 victory in front of a packed house at West York Area High School.
The win advanced York to the second round of PIAA Class A States, to face the winner of the Millville-Notre Dame match-up, which was postponed to Saturday due to snow.
“I’m really proud of this group,” Emme said of the Drakes, who trailed the District Three Champs by just five at the break. “It’s been one of my favorite groups to coach.”
After the three-point play by Kolb brought Jenkintown within 54-48, York made its move. Jalen Gorham used his speed and quickness to create a lane to the hoop, kissing it off the glass to stretch the gap to eight.
Another bucket by Kolb sliced it to 58-50, but York scored back-to-back baskets, a dunk by DeAireus Brown inflating the lead to 62-50 and putting the Greyhounds in position to close it out.
“They’re really good. Let’s not kid ourselves,” Emme said with a smile. “There’s a good reason they’re ranked top-10 in every state poll and it would not surprise me if they came home with the state title.”
Brown spotted up for threes, had a pair of dunks and played a terrific offensive game that added up to a team-high 20 points, Ray scored 16 and Jalen Gorham added 14.
“We just didn’t have an answer for guarding them,” Emme said, “and that was probably the biggest difference in the game.”
It took a few minutes for both offenses to settle in but a rebound and soft jumper by Brown opened the scoring for York with 5:51 to go in the first quarter.
A drive to the hoop by Gorham followed, boosting the early advantage to 4-0 before Jenkintown got on the board moments later.
The Greyhounds began hitting from the outside, threes by Ray and Brown giving York a 10-4 lead, the margin growing to 12-4 when Ray got out running, finishing at the hoop to put the Greyhounds on the verge of breaking it open.
But Jenkintown came right back, pounding it inside and getting baskets from John Contoudis, Jason Plange and Patrick Morrin to close to 14-11 before D.J. Hamilton intercepted a pass at midcourt and took it all the way in for a 16-11 lead at the end of the first.
York led by five at the break and pulled out to a 50-40 lead after three but Jenkintown again came back, clawing to within six before the Greyhounds raced away one last time.
Kolb, whose 25 points were the game high, went over 1,000 points for his career in the second quarter.
“He’s fantastic. He would make any college coach he plays for very proud,” Emme said.