Sparkman Named MVP as Spartans Win Durgala Memorial Tournament

  BALTIMORE, MD-Sophomore guard April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) poured in a career-high 21 points to lead the York College Spartans to a 70-61 victory over Johns Hopkins in the championship game of the Mike Durgala Memorial Tournament in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon. The Spartans improve to 3-1 overall as they have won three straight while the tournament hosts fall to 1-1 for the campaign.
    Sparkman was big for the Spartans all weekend as she gotten off to a great start in her second year in the green and white. With the Blue Jays leading 33-32 early in the second half, Sparkman hit back-to-back threes that kick started a 9-2 Spartan run that gave them a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way. Hopkins cut the lead to four at 45-41 but York fashioned an 8-1 run that pushed the Green and White lead to 11 at 53-42. Hopkins couldn’t get any closer than eight until Caitlin Sloane hit a three with 10 seconds left in the game to cut York’s lead to seven. Senior Amanda Andrews (Fallston, Md./Fallston) drained a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to ice the win and provide the Spartans with their final nine point margin of victory.
    The first half saw the Spartans hold a majority of the momentum but York was unable to deliver the knockout blow in the opening 20 minutes. York held a nine point lead at 26-17 on a Sparkman three with 6:39 remaining in the half but the Blue Jays responded with an 11-2 run to tie the game at 28. That was the third, but not last, tie of the half as the two teams traded free throws in the final 1:47 of the half. The game went to the break tied at 30.
    Sparkman finished the game with five rebounds, three assists, and two blocks in addition to her game-high 21 points. Sparkman was 5-for-9 from three and 4-for-4 from the charity stripe en route to her career-high scoring night. Senior Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford) joined Sparkman on the all-tournament team as she tallied a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Ward added two assists and a steal in 35 minutes of action. Senior Chanel Perez (Biglerville, Pa./Gettysburg) was the third Spartan in double figures with 10 points while she also pulled in seven rebounds. Andrews contributed nine points, seven rebounds, and three assists.
    Senior forward Kristin Phillips paced the Blue Jays with 20 points and nine rebounds. Phillips was 6-for-10 from the floor including 2-for-4 from three while she was also 6-for-9 from the free throw line. Fellow forward Lyndsay Burton came off the bench to recorded 11 points and six rebounds as she was only other Blue Jay in double figures. Anastasia Wynn contributed eight points and seven rebounds while Sloane chipped in with eight points, two rebounds, and two assists.
    The Spartans finished the game shooting 40.4% from the floor and 33.3% from three. The Spartans won the game with their stellar 18-for-21 (85.7%) mark from the free throw line. Conversely, the Blue Jays may have lost the game at the charity stripe as they went a dismal 15-for-27 (55.6%). The Blue Jays shot 32.8% from the floor while they converted 31.6% (6-for-19) from three for the game.
    York won the battle of the boards for the third time this year as they held a 45-38 edge on the glass. The Spartans also held a 30-16 edge in points in the paint while the Blue Jays had a 14-9 margin in second-chance points.
    The tournament championship is York’s fourth straight in-season tournament championship. The Spartans won both of their in-season tournaments last year and their second tournament during the 2005-06 season.
    York returns to action on Tuesday evening when they travel to Towson, MD to face former Capital Athletic Conference rival Goucher College in a non-conference contest. The game is scheduled to tip at 5:30 pm.