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Spartans Ride Big First Half to White Rose City Classic Championship

YORK, PA  - The York College men's basketball team captured their fourth consecutive in-season tournament championship as they downed Elizabethtown College 84-74 in the championship game of the 2010 White Rose City Classic in York on Saturday afternoon. The Spartans improve to 3-0 overall in 2010 while the Blue Jays suffer their first loss as they fall to 2-1.

The Spartans placed four players in double figures led by senior Kevin Whaley as he notched his second 20-plus point effort in his first three games with 21 points. Sophomore Julian Watson added 19 points to the Spartan effort.

The two squads were tied early on at six before the Spartans fashioned a 16-7 run to take a 22-13 lead. The Green and White continued to build on the lead the remainder of the half. An 11-3 Spartan spurt late in the half pushed the lead to 17 at 36-19 with 6:05 left in the half. The hosts eventually reached a high-water mark of 24 twice before taking a 48-26 lead to the break.

The Spartan first-half defense was stifling as they held the Blue Jays to just 39.1% shooting from the floor. York also turned over the Blue Jays 14 times in the opening half as they scored 16 points off the Elizabethtown miscues.

The second half was a much different story as the Spartans maintained the lead between 15 and 23 points over the opening 12 minutes of the half. That's when things started to go a little crazy for York. The Spartans led 68-49 on a Whaley lay up with 10:11 left. The Blue Jays went on a quick 6-0 spurt to trim the lead to 13 with 6:54 remaining. York maintained its lead in double figures until a pair of Keith Fogel free throws cut the Spartan lead to nine at 75-66 with 2:21 left.

Elizabethtown's Andrew Mantz split a pair of charity tosses to cut the Spartan lead to eight but Paul Kouvaris converted a traditional three-point play to kick the Spartan lead back up to 11. The Blue Jays kept applying pressure and further trimmed into the lead with two more Fogel free throws and a Mantz lay up with 1:12 remaining. Watson missed a pair of free throws and on the ensuing possession, the Blue Jay's Brady Haughney banked in a deep three from the left wing cutting the Spartan lead to six at 80-74 with just under a minute showing on the clock.

Spartan sophomore Jeremy Skoloda was fouled eight seconds later and converted both of his free throw attempts followed by a Spartan defensive stop. Kouvaris then split a pair of free throws, putting the Spartans up nine with 30 seconds left. Sophomore Mitch Kemp split his free throws with 20 seconds left to close out the scoring for the Spartans.

Whaley's 21 points were a game high as the guard was 8-for-16 from the floor, 3-for-8 from three and 2-for-2 from the stripe. Watson was also outstanding as the sophomore contributed 19 points, three assists, two rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal. He was 5-for-7 from the floor, 2-for-2 from three, and 7-for-11 from the free throw line. Kouvaris was saddled with foul trouble much of the night but still managed 14 points, five rebounds, and two blocked shots in just 19 minutes of work. Skoloda was the fourth Spartan in double figures with 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, four steals and a blocked shot.

Senior Dylan Hoffman handed out a career-high eight assists while he also had five rebounds, and five points off the bench for the Green and White.

Fogel led the Blue Jays with 17 points including an impressive 11-for-11 from the free throw line in the game. He also had eight rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal in his 31 minutes of action. Mantz added 13 rebounds and three blocked shots while Brian Allport was the third Blue Jay in double figures with 10 points in addition to recording six rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots.

The Spartan defense was outstanding in the first half as they held the Blue Jays to just 39.1% shooting as the Green and White built the large first half lead. York shot 53.1% in the first half and ended the game shooting 48.3% from the floor. The Spartans were 6-for-17 (35.3%) from three while the Blue Jays converted 6-for-19 (31.6%) from distance.

The Blue Jays edged York on the glass, holding a slight 35-33 margin on the boards. The Spartans did force 25 Elizabethtown turnovers, which they turned into 21 points in the game.

The Spartans return to action on Tuesday in a pre-Thanksgiving day tilt with Messiah College. Game time at Wolf Gymnasium is set for 7:00 pm.

AUDIO HIGHLIGHTS COURTESY OF DARRELL HENRY

Julian Watson photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh (www.sharpedgefoto.com)

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