Red Hot Wesley Ends Stellar Spartan Campaign

Red Hot Wesley Ends Stellar Spartan Campaign

YORK, PA – The York College men’s basketball team ran into a red hot Wesley College squad as the Wolverines upset the Spartans 94-81 in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament semifinals on Thursday in York.

The Wolverines advance to face top seeded St. Mary’s in the conference championship game on Saturday afternoon in St. Mary’s City, MD. Wesley is now 19-7 overall while the Spartan season ends with an identical 19-7 mark.

The game started much like it has a number of times in the last four years as senior guard Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) banged home a three pointer from the left wing to give the Spartans a quick lead. The Spartans continued to sizzle from the field in the first four plus minutes as they led 12-5 thanks to nine points from Brady.

The Wolverines woke up from their early game slumber and began tickling the twine at an impressive rate. The Wolverines fashioned a prolonged 23-10 run to take a 28-22 lead with 9:28 left. Wesley’s Rudy Thomas capped the run with back-to-back threes. The Spartans battled back and recaptured the lead on a Jeremy Keefer (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra) three-point play with 6:21 showing on the first half clock. That began a stretch of back and forth play covering the final minutes of the half. The last six minutes of the half featured four ties and four lead changes as the largest advantage over that span was three by Wesley. The game was tied as the final seconds ticked off the clock but Wesley big man Paul Reynolds hit a step back three at the horn, giving the guests a 45-43 lead.

Wesley used the opening minutes of the second half to build on the lead Reynolds gave them at the break. The Wolverines began the half with another sustained run, this time outscoring York 17-7 to stretch the lead to 12 at 62-50.

The Spartans continued to claw but each time the Spartans got within single digits, the Wolverines had an answer. Wesley kept the Spartans at bay with big shots or big offensive rebounds and put-backs throughout the second half.

The Spartans cut the lead to seven on Brady’s final career three-pointer with 2:38 left in the game, but Thomas stuck a dagger in the Spartans’ heart with his fifth three of the game, pushing the lead back to 10. York scored the next four points to bring them to within six at 85-79. York fouled Alphonzo Wright with 1:22 left but Wright rebounded his front-end miss and allowed the Wolverines to maintain possession. Wright was fouled again immediately but this time he drained both free throws to push the lead back to eight. It began the Wesley parade to the free throw line as the Wolverines converted 9-of-13 free throw attempts in the final 1:22 of the game, salting away the big road win for Wesley.

Wesley was led by the impressive performance of Kevin Johnson as the junior guard poured in 25 points in his 34 minutes of action. Johnson was 9-for-17 from the field, 5-of-8 from three, and 2-for-2 from the line. He pulled in six rebounds and nabbed five steals. Thomas was also outstanding as the junior guard had 20 points with a game-high 14 assists and three rebounds. Thomas was 6-for-10 from the floor including a blistering 5-for-6 from three and 3-for-4 from the stripe. Reynolds added 22 points and seven rebounds while Wright notched a double-double with 17 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

Brady finished out his tremendous Spartan career with a game-high 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor and 6-for-10 from three. He chipped in four rebounds and a pair of steals in his 34 minutes of play. Junior Kevin Whaley (Dover, Pa./Dover) contributed 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists. He was 6-for-13 from the floor, 1-for-3 from three, and 2-for-2 from the line. Sophomore Matt Moley (York, Pa./West York) was the third Spartan in double figures with 10 points in 19 minutes of play.  Keefer finished his Spartan career with eight points, two assists, and two steals.

Brady reached another career milestone in the loss, as he became the eighth player in school history to reach 1,500 career points. He concludes his career with 1,524 points, 552 rebounds, 158 assists, and 87 steals in 104 career games. He converted 218 career threes and 276 free throws. Brady’s career scoring average will go down in the books at 14.7 points per game including 20.0 points in his senior season.

The Wolverines finished the game holding a 40-23 edge in the glass including a game-changing 26-12 margin in the second half. Wesley had nine second half offensive rebounds, which led to nine second chance points. York has been out-rebounded in each of their final six games of the year and eight of their last ten contests.

The Spartans had their worst defensive field goal percentage game of the year as Wesley shot a scorching 55% from the floor and a mind-numbing 55% (11-for-20) from three. The Wolverines made 17-for-23 from the free throw line for the game.

The Green and White also shot the ball well from the floor as York converted 52.4% from the floor and 41.2% (7-for-17) from three. York was 8-for-11 from the line in the loss.

The Spartans did a great job of taking care of the ball against the league’s best team in terms of creating turnovers as York had just nine msicues, 11 under Wesley’s season average. The Wolverines had 13 turnovers but it only cost them seven points.

Brady, Keefer and Wid Lyman (Amherst, Mass./Homeschooled) close out their careers with a four-year record of 62-42. The Spartans do return three starters and a number of key reserves as 2010-2011 has the potential to be another outstanding season for the Spartans.

Nick Brady photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh