York women's basketball team sees standout season hit snag; other local college notes

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Bradi Zumbrum

It’s not often that a college athletic program has the rug pulled out from beneath it before the season even starts.

A season ago, however, that’s exactly what happened to the York College women’s basketball team.

With a roster featuring talented senior starters, the Spartans had high hopes entering that season. They were looking forward to their first season as a member of the Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth Conference.

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That, of course, was before COVID-19 raged throughout the nation. The eagerly anticipated first MAC season became a pandemic casualty.

“That was hard,” York junior Bradi Zumbrum said. “We had our whole team back, so we were like, ‘this is the glue.’ We had it all together but then it got canceled.”

The toll of that unprecedented experience was quite trying for each of the players. That included Zumbrum, who led the Delone Catholic girls to a PIAA state title during her senior year of high school. The normality of playing basketball was gone for the first time since elementary school and she found it to be quite a shock to the system.

“Mentally it was a challenge,” Zumbrum said. “When you work out, you’re supposed to be more happy, and not playing definitely took a toll and everything on us.”

While many of last year’s seniors lost out on their final seasons, Zumbrum is thankful to finally be back on the court.

And, to the surprise of a lot of people around the MAC, the Spartans did not allow the disappointment of the past to damper their performance on the court this season.

Suffering their first loss: Picked to finish fifth in the preseason coaches’ poll, York got off to the high-flying start they envisioned last year. The Spartans won their first seven MAC Commonwealth contests this season to soar to the top spot in the standings.

The good times, however, were thwarted Wednesday evening against visiting Albright, which handed the Spartans their first conference loss, 64-58.

“Albright is a really good team,” York coach Betsy Witman said. “Their record (9-5 overall, 4-4 Commonwealth) doesn’t really indicate the type of team that they are because of COVID. They lost some games that they probably wouldn’t have (at full strength).”

The Lions overcame a five-point deficit after three quarters by shooting the lights out over the final 10 minutes. Albright knocked down 7 of 9 shots in the final period, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. Solid shooting at the line (8 for 8) also foiled any comeback attempt by the Spartans.

Savannah Wilson led York (13-3 overall, 7-1 Commonwealth) with 15 points while Zumbrum and Eastern York grad Cassidy Arnold each chipped in 12 points.

The dismay of seeing their perfect conference run end certainly didn’t sit well with any of the players, nor with Witman herself. Both the coach and her players, however, know they have been through worse than just a single setback, and they’ve proven they can rebound from it.

“Yeah, it’s just one game,” Witman said. “Fortunately, we have eight more (conference games) left and we’ll have a chance to play them again later in the season.”

OTHER LOCAL COLLEGE NOTES

York men also lose to Albright: The York College men's basketball team also lost to visiting Albright on Wednesday, 79-69.

The Spartans fell to 6-7 overall and 2-6 in the Commonwealth. Albright is 8-8 and 4-4.

York was led by David Giuliani (20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists), Chris Miers (11 points) and Travis Stoll (10 points, five rebounds, three steals).

York limiting spectator access: Citing concern for the health and safety of its campus community, York College will soon begin limiting spectator access for all on-campus, indoor athletic events.

Starting Monday, Jan. 24, only York College students will be permitted at Spartans' indoor athletic events.

The college said it anticipates that the restriction will be temporary and it will notify the public and campus community when changes occur.

Students will be required to present their York College identification in order to enter indoor events. Masks will be required.

New Oxford grad helps PSY men win battle for first place: At York, the Penn State York men's basketball team earned a 67-62 showdown victory over Penn State Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday.

The local Lions (14-3 overall) are now alone in first place in the Penn State University Athletic Conference East Division at 9-1. PSWB fell to 12-2 and 8-1.

New Oxford High School graduate Deriq Brown, a 6-foot, 5-inch sophomore, led PSY with 23 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. He was 7 for 12 from the field.

Red Lion, New Oxford grads help PSY women roll: At York, the Penn State York women’s basketball team rolled over Penn State Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday, 75-53.

PSY was led by Red Lion High School graduate Jordyn Foster (19 points, five rebounds), Desii Garcia-Hernandez (18 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists), Nicole Sharpe (18 points, 10 rebounds) and New Oxford grad Jayla Brown (12 points, eight assists, five rebounds).

PSY is now 13-3 overall and 8-1 in the PSUAC. PSWB fell to 0-11 and 0-9.

Red Lion grad honored by PSAC: Red Lion High School graduate A.J. Virata has been named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Male Field Athlete of the Week.

The Slippery Rock freshman competed in both track-and-field events at the Al Hall Freedom Games in Edinboro last week. It was his first weekly honor from the PSAC.

He recorded three PSAC automatic qualifying marks and three top-two finishes at the Edinboro event. He won the high jump competition at 1.90 meters, just shy of his season-best of 1.95 meters that currently ranks fifth in the PSAC.

He also finished second in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes at Edinboro. His time of 22.05 seconds in the 200 was just off his season-best of :22.00, which is the third-best in the PSAC this winter. His mark of 7.00 seconds in the 60 is the sixth-best time in the league.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.