Baldridge leads York over Burlington Central

Lizzie Baldridge has the ball in her hands the majority of the time.

That's more than fine for York.

“She's takes care of the ball for us,” York coach Brandon Collings said following York's 45-40 win over Burlington Central in the first round of the Montini Christmas Classic on Monday. “She gets us started; she pushes the ball for us. She knocks down open shots. Offensively is where we need her most to get us going.”

Baldridge, York's junior guard, has spent ample time — perhaps this year especially — in leading her team. She had 11 points and two rebounds Monday to earn co-player of the game honors with Burlington Central's Becca Carani.

“Just not only calling out the plays to each other, but making sure everyone is balanced together,” Baldridge said. “And, the ball is in the right spot [at] the right time. We're just working hard together. We're having a lot of communication with that. So, I think a big role I'm playing is helping everybody out, making sure they feel comfortable where they are.”

York (8-4) will play Montini, which rolled over St. Francis Monday, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday while Burlington Central will face Nazareth at 11:30 a.m. With four teams dropping out of the tournament because of COVID protocols, it has switched to a shootout format.

The Dukes tussled with the Rockets to the wire, as Burlington Central (7-4) fought back from seven points down to close the third quarter into a seesaw effort down the wire.

After Hannah Meyers sunk two free throws for York to go up six with 1:18 left in the game, Carani hit a layup, but missed the ensuing free throw on the foul. Meyers missed the following one-and-one free throw, but Baldridge backed her up by hitting two critical free throws to go back up six with 37 seconds left.

Rockets senior Rylie DuVal sank a three 17 seconds later, but York's Erin Powers was able to hit 2-of-4 free throws to seal the win.

Burlington Central went 0-for-4 from the free-throw line in the third quarter and 2-for-4 in the final quarter.

“We felt like we were really working hard to get to the free-throw line, and when we finally got there, we just didn't capitalize,” Burlington Central coach Collin Kalamatas said. “I'm proud of our effort to get the ball inside and take the contact that we took tonight, but we just weren't able to cash it in.”

York was led by Mariann Blass' 14 points and four rebounds. Powers had 11 points and six rebounds and Meyers had four points and three rebounds.

“We haven't been in a lot of close games like that. We're young. We just got to get better each game,” Collings said. “I thought we hit our free throws at the end. We took care of the ball; we ran some clock just like we wanted. I wish we attacked the basket a little bit more instead of pulling [up] like we did that much. But, again, we're young. We're getting better.”

“Defensively, I thought we had some defensive mistakes there toward the end there for sure, but we kept our composure. We knocked down our free throws when we needed them. Offensively, throughout the game, our offense is not where it's been; where it needs to be. We've been off for a week and a half, so I think we're still getting back into it.”

The Rockets were paced by Carani's 13 points, three rebounds and three assists. Taylor Charles had eight points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, while Sam Origel had eight points and four rebounds. Origel, in particular, flashed in the third quarter with five of those points.

“Sam has been having a great few weeks,” Kalamatas said. “She's really turned it up a notch in practice as well. Her activity on the defensive end usually translates to her playing well offensively and we saw that from her tonight. With her ability to shoot and get to the basket, she's capable of pouring it in any night. It's just a matter of when.”

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