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Whaley's Three Lifts Spartans to Comeback Win

YORK, PA – Junior Kevin Whaley (Dover, Pa./Dover) drained the go-ahead three pointer with 15 seconds left to lift the York College men’s basketball team to a dramatic 67-66 win over Gettysburg College on Tuesday evening. The Spartans had to survive the final 8.9 seconds of regulation, as the Bullets were unable to get off a shot as the final horn sounded.

The Spartans improve to 5-0 overall as they are off to the best start since the 2005-06 season. The Bullets fall to an uncharacteristic 0-3 with all three loses coming in tightly contested affairs.

Whaley’s heroics were needed because the Bullets dominated the first half, putting the Spartans in a huge hole for most of the evening. Gettysburg scorched the nets in the opening half as they shot 50% from the floor including a blistering 8-for-14 from three as they built an 11-point halftime lead.

The Bullets pushed the lead up to 15 points early in the second half before the Spartans began clawing their way back into the game. York cut the lead to eight on a Jeremy Skoloda (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley) three with 14:49 left. The Bullets quickly pushed the advantage back to ten before a Matt Moley (York, Pa./West York) jumper; three Whaley free throws and a pair of freebies from Skoloda trimmed the lead to three at 52-49 with 8:49 remaining.

As much as the Spartans were fighting to get back into it, the Bullets calmly kicked the lead back to seven on a Kevin Kennedy triple with six minutes remaining. After the Bullets huge first half from beyond the arc, Kennedy’s three would be their only second half triple as they went just 1-for-9 in the second half.

The Gettysburg lead vacillated between three and five over the next three and half minutes before Skoloda hit a huge three from the right wing to trim the Bullet lead to a pair at 63-61. Kennedy hit a layup off a beautiful feed with 1:32 remaining but Whaley answered with a pair of free throws to keep York within two at 65-63.

After a Spartan defensive stop, senior Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) drew a foul and stepped to the line. Brady, who had missed his first two free throws of the year earlier in the game, made his first but missed his second to bring York to within a point at 65-64 with 32 seconds left on the clock. The Spartans were forced to foul as they put Andrew Bohan at the line. Heading into the pair of Bohan attempts, the Bullets were 12-for-12 from the line as a team in the game. Bohan swished his first attempt but missed the second as the Spartans collected the rebound, setting the stage for Whaley’s heroics. Whaley brought the ball down the floor after the rebound and pulled up from the left side of the arc and drilled the three for the game’s final points. It would be the Spartans’ first lead since they game’s opening minutes when they led 2-0.

The Bullets brought the ball into the frontcourt before calling timeout with 8.9 seconds left. Gettysburg ran a double back door cut only to have Brendan Hagar have the ball knocked loose as the final horn sounded.

Whaley led all scorers with 24 points on 7-of-15 shooting including 3-of-6 from three. He also made 7-of-9 from the free throw line. Whaley added four steals, three rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot in the win. Brady notched a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds while he also had a team-high three assists. Skoloda was the third Spartan in double figures with 11 points. Freshman Todd Maciejewski (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion) played a huge role in the win as he hounded Gettysburg standout Andrew Powers in the post. Maciejewski had seven points, three offensive rebounds, and two steals in 18 minutes of work.

The Spartans, who entered the game shooting 48.5% from the floor for the season, ended the game shooting a season-low 35.7% from the field. York went 8-for-23 (34.8%) from three while they went 19-for-30 (63.6%) from the free throw line.

Kennedy paced Gettysburg as he poured in a career-high 23 points. Kennedy was 8-for-11 from the floor including 5-for-8 from three and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. Kennedy also had five rebounds, an assist, and a blocked shot. Powers added 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting. He added eight rebounds, six assists, two steals, and a blocked shot. Powers was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

After torrid first half, the Bullets ended up shooting 44% from the floor for the game while they shot 39.1% from three in the contest. The Bullets shot a blistering 92.9% (13-for-14) from the line for the game.

The Spartans forced 15 Gettysburg turnovers, which the hosts turned into 24 points. York also edged the Bullets in rebounding 36-34 as the hosts had a 12-6 margin in second chance points.

The Spartans have another staunch test on Saturday evening when they travel to Messiah College to face the Falcons in a non-conference contest. Tip time in Grantham, PA is scheduled for 7:00 pm.

GAME BOX

Kevin Whaley photo courtesy of Mike Zortman

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