Overtime Drama Lifts Spartans to CAC Touranment Berth

YORK, PA-Though he is the shortest player on the York College men’s basketball team, freshman point guard Julian Watson (Odenton, Md./Arundel) already has a knack for making some of the biggest plays of the season for the Spartans. Watson did it again on Saturday as he tied the must-win game against Marymount with .4 seconds left in regulation, enabling the Spartans to defeat the Saints in overtime, 90-82.

The Spartans, who needed the win to earn a spot in the six-team CAC tournament, improve to 9-16 overall and 7-9 in the CAC while the Saints, who will be fourth seed in the tournament and host Salisbury, fall to 13-12 overall and 8-8 in the league.

The Spartans had control of the game early as they led 18-12 on a Mike Riley (Webster, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit) three with 11:35 remaining in the half. The Saints then embarked on a 16-2 run that turned their six-point deficit into a 26-20 lead. The Marymount lead grew to as many as eight at 33-25 on a three-point play from Sam Sentz with 2:40 remaining in the half. York cut the lead to five twice over the final two minutes before Marymount hit the final jumper of the stanza as they took a 37-30 lead to the break.

The Saints came out of the half and hit the first bucket of the stanza but York responded with a seven-point spurt to cut the Marymount lead to 39-37. The Saints answered with a 9-1 run to take a game-high ten point lead, 48-38, with 14:58 remaining in regulation. York then went on a 17-7 run that tied the game at 55 with 10:51 left in the game, setting up a very exciting finish to the Spartans’ home campaign.

The Saints pushed out to a four-point lead before York retied the game at 63, the sixth tie of the contest. York took their first second half lead on a Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) three with 5:09 left in the second half. The Spartans pushed their advantage to four twice before the Saints tied the game at 70 on an Elvis Ellis bucket with 3:02 remaining in regulation. Ellis hit another basket with 1:41 left, giving the Saints a 72-70 lead. The Spartans forced a turnover on an inbounds play and Brady hit a bucket to tie the game at 72 with 1:10 remaining in regulation. Marymount’s Ronnie Barbour hit a dagger three from the left corner with 38 seconds remaining, giving the Saints a 75-72 lead. The Spartans answered with a Watson lay up with 32 seconds left to cut the Saint lead to one. The Spartans then were unable to foul until there were 12 seconds left in regulation when they sent Bryan DeBruin to the line. DeBruin split the pair, giving Marymount a 76-74 lead. That set the stage for Watson’s big play. The Spartans took possession and it looked like they weren’t going to get a shot off as the ball was tipped away from Watson just outside the arc with seven seconds left. Watson collected the ball and drove to the bucket where he hit a lay up with .4 seconds left, forcing overtime.

In the extra session, Marymount scored the opening basket on a Rockwell Moody hoop just 20 seconds into the overtime. Watson hit a jumper to tie the game and York would never trail again. Senior Pat Kelley (Davidsonville, Md./South River) then hit a lay up and a three on consecutive possessions to give York an 83-78 lead. After Barbour hit another big three to cut the York lead to two, Watson canned yet another huge shot as he drained a three and a pair of free throws to push the York lead to 88-82. The Spartans made two free throws in the final 18 seconds to provide for the Spartans’ final margin of victory.

Kelley led the Spartans with a career-high 20 points on Senior Day, as he was 7-for-14 from the floor including 2-of-3 from three and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. Kelley also had four assists, three rebounds, three steals and one blocked shots. Brady added 20 points, five rebounds, and three steals for the Spartans. Brady was 7-for-14 from the field, while he also made 3-of-6 from three, and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. Watson was the third Spartan in double figures with 19 points, four assists, two steals, and two rebounds. Watson was 7-for-14 from the floor including a career-high three three-pointers and a pair of free throws. Riley, playing in his final home game at York, added eight points, five rebounds, and four assists in his 21 minutes of work.

Sentz led the Saints as he tallied 20 points in addition to pulling down five rebounds and handing out three assists. Sentz was 8-for-10 from the floor but just 4-for-9 from the free throw line. Moody recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Moody was 6-for-7 from the field and 1-for-4 from the free throw line. Barbour and Ellis each added 12 points while Chapmen Canady chipped in with 10 points.

Marymount shot a blistering 57.1% from the floor for the game while York shot 43.8% from the field. The Spartans did shoot 60% (12-for-20) from three while the Saints were 5-for-11 from distance for the game. The Saints shot just 50% (13-for-26) from the free throw line for the game while York converted 14-of-19 (73.7%) from the stripe for the contest.

The Saints handled the Spartans on the boards as they held a 42-32 margin on the glass. Marymount overwhelmed York in the paint, outscoring the hosts 52-24 in the paint. The Spartans forced 23 Marymount turnovers, which they turned into 28 points. York had just 13 miscues that the Saints converted into 13 points.

Kelley and Riley were honored prior to tip as they were playing in their final game at Charles Wolf Gymnasium. They represent the final class that played in the old Wolf Gymnasium.

York begins its second season on Tuesday evening in the CAC quarterfinals as they travel to third-seeded Mary Washington. Tip time in Fredericksburg, VA is set for 8:00 pm.

GAME BOX

Photo courtesy of Steve Doemland (www.stevedoemland.com)