Spartans Give Great Effort But Fall Just Short

YORK, PA – The York College men’s basketball team fell 69-62 to an athletic Alvernia University squad Sunday afternoon in the consolation game of York’s 2009 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The result pulls the Spartans’ record down to 3-9 while Alvernia improves to 5-6 on the season.
     The first half proved to be a back-and-forth battle, which included three ties and eleven lead changes. With 8:46 remaining the initial 20 minutes, the Spartans fought back from a four-point deficit to take a 23-21 lead courtesy of a pair of Mike Riley (Webster, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit) threes.
That would be the last time the Spartans would hold a lead in the frame as Alvernia’s David Washington sunk a lay-up to knot the score at 23. Washington’s deuce effectively kick-started a 16-8 run for the Crusaders, who closed the half with a 36-31 advantage.
     The second frame saw the green and white show a resiliency that could spark positive results throughout the remainder of the season. After Alvernia stretched their lead to as much as nine at 44-35 with 15:42 remaining, the Spartans went on an extended 17-5 run. The spurt resulted in a three-point 52-49 advantage for the green and white with 6:59 left to play. York shared the ball well over the 8:43 span as five different Spartans tallied.
     The Spartan run came to an abrupt end with 6:18 on the clock, as Nick Rivera finished a fast-break dunk to cut the margin to one. A pair of Jeff Amponsah lay-ins and a Derek Dubbs jumper later and the Crusaders had established a 57-52 lead.
     Alvernia was able to stave off any further Spartan comebacks throughout the final five minutes despite York cutting the Crusader lead to one on two separate occasions. With 2:42 remaining, senior Pat Kelley (Davidsonville, Md./South River) converted two free throws to chop the Alvernia advantage to one at 60-59. Alvernia’s Washington then tallied a lay-up to push the lead back out to three. With just 52 seconds left Kelley knocked down a jumper to cut the margin to one again, however a Tyrone Bradley score followed by solid 4-for-5 free throw shooting down the stretch spelled defeat for the Spartan side.
     For the game, the green and white shot 23-for-52 from the field for 44.2% and went 7-for-17 from beyond the arc. Alvernia recorded a 28-for-59 afternoon from the floor, coming in at 47.5%. The Crusaders were dominant in the paint as the visitors outscored the Spartans 50-24 in the lane.
     York freshman point guard Julian Watson (Odenton, Md./Arundel) was selected to the All-Tournament Team for his solid weekend. After a career-high 20 points last night, Watson tallied nine points against the Crusaders on an efficient 3-for-4 from the field plus 2-for-2 from the stripe and also dished out a game-high six assists. Riley put on one of the best performances of his career knocking down five shots, including a trio of threes, to record a career-high 13 points. Kelley, senior guard Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic), and freshman forward Paul Kouvaris (Baltimore, Md./Cardinal Gibbons) each notched 10 points for the Spartans.
     Bradley was named to the All-Tournament Team from the Crusader squad. Against the Spartans he scored a game-high 18 points on a blistering 8-for-11 shooting while he also canned 2-of-4 from the line in a mere 22 minutes of action. Amponsah was the second of three Crusaders in double-digits as he tallied 16 for the game while Rivera added 13 to the scoreboard.
     After a tough weekend, the Spartans will look to get back on track Wednesday as the green and white travel to Fredericksburg, Va. for a date with the Mary Washington Eagles. The Capital Athletic Conference tilt is slated for an 8:00 pm tip.


Mike Riley photo courtesy of Steve Doemland