Huge First Half Lifts Spartans to Victory over Hood

YORK, PA – A huge first half offensive performance from senior Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) helped lead the York College men’s basketball team to a big 88-80 Capital Athletic Conference win over Hood College on Saturday afternoon in York. Brady poured in 22 points in the opening stanza as the Spartans gashed the conference’s top defensive squad for 56 first half points.

The Spartans improve to 15-4 overall and claim second place all to themselves with a 7-3 league mark while the Blazers fall to 12-8 overall and 7-4 in the conference.

The Green and White got off to a blazing hot start as they scored the first seven points of the game. The Blazers trimmed the Spartan lead to a deuce but York responded with a 12-4 spurt to take a 21-11 lead with 12:54 remaining in the half. The Spartan lead increased to 13 on a Jeremy Skoloda (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley) triple midway through the stanza. The Spartan lead topped out at 17 on Brady’s sixth and final three of the half. The Blazers used a 7-3 spurt over the final 1:50 of the half to trim York’s lead to 13 at 56-43.

The Spartans’ 56 first half points were just over nine points under the average that Hood, the CAC’s top defensive squad, is allowing per contest. York shot 66.7% (22-for-33) from the floor and three (8-for-12) as they had one of their more impressive halves of the season. Brady was 8-for-11 from the floor in the first half while he converted 6-of-7 from distance.

The second half saw the Spartans continue to maintain their double-digit margin through the first half of the second 20 minutes before the dogged Blazers worked their way back into the game. The Spartans led 76-59 on a Matt Moley (York, Pa./West York) three-point play with 9:26 left. The Blazers then embarked on a 12-0 run that covered almost exactly three minutes, cutting the York led to 76-71. Two minutes later, J’Air Brady drained a three to bring Hood to within four at 78-74 with 4:18 left.

Brady answered with a huge jumper to push the lead back to six. That would start a stretch where the two teams continued to exchange points as the lead went back and forth between four to six points. Tyler Snoots cut the lead to four for the last time at the 23-second mark but Brady hit the final four free throws of the game to seal the victory for the Spartans.

Brady finished the game with 30 points as he reached that mark for the second time in three games. He was 10-for-16 from the floor including 6-for-10 from three. Brady canned all four of his free throw attempts while he added two rebounds and three steals. Moley notched a career-high 17 points, as the forward was a blistering 8-for-10 from the floor and 1-for-1 from the stripe. Moley grabbed five boards in his 24 minutes of action. Skoloda and senior captain Jeremy Keefer (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra) each contributed 12 points. Skoloda was 4-for-8 from the floor and 3-for-5 from three. He also had three rebounds, three assists, and a steal. Keefer was also 4-for-8 while he was 4-for-8 from the charity stripe. Keefer chipped in with three assists, three steals, a blocked shot and a pair of rebounds. Junior Kevin Whaley (Dover, Pa./Dover) was the fifth Spartan in double figures with 11 points for the Green and White.

The Blazers also put five players in double figures led by the tandem of Justin Stone and Brady. Brady was 5-for-10 from the floor including two threes and a 4-for-5 performance from the free throw line. Stone was 5-for-11 from the floor, 1-for-3 from three and 5-for-8 from the stripe. Stone also had seven caroms for Hood. Reco Siler notched a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds while Byron Morgan chipped in with 11 points. Snoots added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Blazers. 

After the scorching first half, the Spartans finished the game shooting 57.1% from the floor, 50% from three and an uncharacteristic 62.5% from the free throw line. Hood also did a good job offensively as they shot 50% from the field, 31.3% from three and 68.4% from the line.

The Blazers held a 36-31 edge on the glass which led to a 15-11 margin in second chance points while the Blazers also had a 46-34 edge in points in the paint. The Spartans forced 19 turnovers, which they turned into 27 points.

The Spartans continue their current three game homestand on Wednesday night with another critical CAC contest as they host Marymount at 8:00 pm. In the earlier meeting this year, the Saints edged the Spartans 90-88 in overtime as a whopping seven Spartans fouled out in the game in Arlington.

Matt Moley photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh (www.sharpedgephoto.smugmug.com)