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Spartans Open 2010 Up With a Win

YORK, PA – The York College women’s basketball team began the new year on the right foot Saturday with a 65-57 victory over visiting Ursinus in the opening round of the 2010 Hampton Inn Coaches vs. Cancer Classic hosted by York. The Spartans improve their season mark to 5-4 while the Bears drop to 5-4.

April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) led the way for the Green and White pacing all scorers with 17 points. The Spartan junior went 4-for-10 from the floor, including 2-for-4 from three, while canning seven of her eight free throws. Sparkman loaded her stat line with seven rebounds, six assists, and a career-high six blocks in her 37 minutes of action.

Fellow junior Jaimie Sapp (Bluemont, Va./Loudoun Valley) provided the Spartans with a strong inside presence. She netted 15 points for the home squad, shooting a solid 6-for-11 from the field. Sapp and Sparkman seemed to feed off each other throughout the contest.

“They were both starters last year,” Spartan head coach Betsy Witman said of Sparkman and Sapp, “and they have had a full season of playing together. Actually they have been playing together for three years now so naturally they do have that good chemistry. Those two are really special players.”

The Spartans opened the contest on a tear as they captured a 14-3 lead five minutes into the game. Sparkman canned seven of York’s first 14 points.

After York’s opening blitz, the visitors slowly chipped away at the Spartans’s lead throughout the remainder of the frame. The Bears eventually cut York’s once 12-point margin to a mere two at half at 34-32.

Ursinus took the lead for the first time at the 18:02 mark of the second half. A Jaclyn Hilf triple gave the Bears their first advantage of the game at 37-36.

The rest of the game proved a nip-and-tuck affair. Ursinus captured a 51-45 lead with only 8:34 to play. However, just as the Bears had done in the first half, York responded well to the deficit.

Down by six, the Green and White went on an 8-0 spurt to take a 53-51 lead at with 5:24 to play. Four Spartans contributed during that run as Sapp, Sparkman, and freshman Jess Kramer (Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard) each recorded buckets while Caitlin Byrne (Westminster, Md./Winters Mill) drilled two free throws.

The Spartans relinquished the lead only once over the final 5:24, and that only lasted for a mere 15 seconds.

Sparkman put the Spartans ahead for good at 55-54 with a pair of freebies with 4:48 to play, while senior Jamie Polan (York, Pa./West York) provided the Green and White with some breathing room with a clutch triple 44 seconds later.

For the game, the Spartans shot 42 percent from the floor and a strong 80 percent from the charity stripe.

Aside from the quality play of Sparkman and Sapp, Gayle Exley (Spring City, Pa./Owen J. Roberts) provided the Green and White with nine points, seven rebounds, two assists, and one block over her 22 minutes of action.

Ursinus went 19-for-62 from the floor, shooting just under 31 percent for the contest. Alex Shivers posted 12 points and six rebounds for the visitors, while Hilf also added 12 points. Lindsay Teuber was the third Bear in double-figures, tallying ten points and eight caroms.

The Spartans return to action tomorrow, Sunday, January 3, for the championship game of the Hampton Inn Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. York will square off with the College of New Jersey, who registered a 55-41 win over Norwich, in a 2:00 p.m. contest from York’s Grumbacher Sport & Fitness Center. Ursinus and Norwich will play in the consolation game scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

GAME BOX

April Sparkman photo courtesy of Mike Adams

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