January 3, 2010

Spartans Blitz Gettysburg; Capture CVC Tournament Title as Gamber Wins #450

YORK, PA  - For the York College Spartan men's basketball team, their rematch with Gettysburg in the final of the Hampton Inn Coaches vs. Cancer Classic lacked much of the drama that the team’s first meeting of the year contained. However for the Spartans, the results were just as impressive as they rolled past the Bullets 86-61 for their third in-season tournament championship of the year on Sunday night. The Spartans improve to 11-1 overall as they have now won six straight while the Bullets fall to a very deceptive 4-5 for the year. The victory for Spartan head coach Jeff Gamber was the 450th in his 33-year Spartan career.

In the first meeting of the season back on November 24, Spartan guard Kevin Whaley (Dover, Pa./Dover) had to hit a three-pointer with 15 seconds left in regulation to lift the Spartans to a 67-66 win. On Sunday night, the Spartans needed no such heroics as they fashioned one of their best team efforts of the year to earn their second home tournament title of 2009-2010.

The Spartans trailed by as many as four early in the game but a 17-4 run gave York a lead they would not surrender the rest of the way. The spurt gave York a 27-18 advantage with 7:12 left in the first half. The talented Bullets trimmed the Spartan lead to one courtesy of an 11-3 run capped with an Andrew Powers lay up with 2:53 showing on the first half clock. The Spartans responded by scoring ten of the final 13 points of the half, taking a 40-32 lead to the break.

The Spartans opened up the second half with a surge that may have been their most impressive of the year. York held the Bullets to just two points over eight minutes while the offense racked up 23 points to increase the lead to 63-35 with exactly 12 minutes left in the game. The run was keyed by tournament MVP Paul Kouvaris (Baltimore, Md./Cardinal Gibbons) as he notched nine points, allowing the Green and White turned the game into a blowout.

Gettysburg cut the lead to 17 with a quick 8-0 spurt later in the second half but the Spartans eventually built the lead to as many as 29 before settling for the 25 point win.

Kouvaris poured in 21 points and collected a career-high 15 rebounds, as the reigning CAC Player-of-the-Week should be a strong candidate for that award again this week. The sophomore was 6-for-8 from the floor and 9-for-10 from the free throw line while he also had three blocked shots, two assists, and a steal in his 30 minutes of action. Senior Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic), who joined Kouvaris on the All-Tournament team, finished with 20 points and four rebounds for the game. Brady was 7-for-13 from the floor including a career-high tying five three-point field goals.  Whaley and senior captain Jeremy Keefer (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra) each contributed 13 points to the Spartan attack. Keefer also had five rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocked shots as he continues to play at a high level for the Green and White.

Powers, the Bullets’ All-Tournament team selection, finished with 18 points, four rebounds, and two assists in the loss. Powers was 6-for-15 from the floor, 2-for-4 from three, and 4-for-6 from the line. Kevin Kennedy, who scorched the Spartans for a career-high 23 points in the November 24 meeting, finished Sunday night with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists. Brendan Trelease was the third Bullet in double figures with 12 points.

Gamber was pleased with the play of his team.

“We were really good tonight,” said Gamber. “It was an impressive performance. Defensively, I thought we were good. Offensively, I thought we were great.”

The Spartans did a tremendous job on the glass, outrebounding the Bullets 37-27 including holding a 15-7 edge in offensive rebounds. The Spartans had 36 points in the paint while they also had 14 second-chance points to just five for the guests.

The Spartans forced 16 Bullet turnovers, which they converted into 23 points. The Green and White committed a season-low six turnovers in the game.

York finished the contest shooting 49.2% from the floor while they made 9-of-17 from distance. The Spartans made 19-of-28 from the free throw line, good for a percentage of 67.9%

Gettysburg converted 45.7% of their shots from the floor when they were also sharp from three as they made 10-of-18 from distance. After being nearly perfect from the free throw line in their first trip to York, Gettysburg made just 9-of-19 from the stripe in the championship game.

The Spartans now begin a very challenging portion of their schedule as they take to the road for three straight Capital Athletic Conference contests. They open the trip on Wednesday evening when they travel to Arlington, VA to face Marymount University. After the game against the Saints, the Spartans travel to Hood College and Salisbury in the next 10 days. Tip time from Marymount is set for 8:00 pm.

GAME BOX

Photo of Tournament MVP Paul Kouvaris courtesy of Mike Zortman.