The York College women's basketball team used a come-from-behind effort in overtime to outlast McDaniel College 74-69 in the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Sunday afternoon in York.
The tournament title is the fourth straight for the Spartans and their sixth Coaches vs. Cancer Classic championship in the nine-year history of the annual tournament.
Overtime could not have started worse for York. McDaniel's Lindsey Nichols converted a three-point play a mere 14 seconds into the five-minute overtime period. The teams traded baskets and McDaniel led 66-63 with 3:22 left. Senior Julianne Lambert started the Spartan comeback with a tough, driving left-handed lay up with 2:21 in the overtime. After a Spartan defensive stop, sophomore Morgan Kuehne, a Red Lion grad, gave the Spartans the lead for good with a lay up with 1:44 left in overtime.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Sam Hruz then made a huge defensive play for the Spartans. Nichols attempted to cross over Hruz at the top of the key but the Spartan forward poked the ball away and the Spartans got possession. Nichols fouled Hruz and the York junior sank both free throws, pushing York's lead to 69-66.
York came up with their third straight stop when junior Sarah Shearer, a West York grad, picked off a Brittney Davis pass at the 1:05 mark. The Green Terror fouled and junior Karli McFatridge, a York Catholic grad, drained both of her attempts, increasing the York lead to 71-66. York got a fourth straight stop as Shearer picked up the defensive rebound. Lambert was fouled and split two free throws to push the York lead to 72-66.
The Green Terror finally halted the 9-0 Spartan run with a Sarah Bach free throw but McFatridge drained two more free throws with 15 seconds left to push the York lead to 74-67. Nichols got a cosmetic layup at the horn to provide for the final five point Spartan margin of victory.
York led by as much as 12 points in the third quarter, but McDaniel climbed all the way back to force OT.
Hruz continued her strong start to the season. The junior forward tallied a team-high 18 points. She also pulled in seven rebounds, dished out six assists, had three steals and blocked a shot in her 38 minutes of work.
Kuehne added 12 points and a career-high eight rebounds as she played a career-high 38 minutes. Sophomore Katie Wagner, a Susquehannock grad, also played well for York, tallying 12 points, three rebounds and three assists for York. McFatridge came off the bench and scored a career-high tying 12 points including a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Shearer chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds.
Nichols led the Green Terror. The senior guard tallied a game-high 21 points.
York dominated the game on the glass with a 46-31 margin in rebounding. York committed a season-high tying 22 turnovers in the win, including 16 in the second half, which allowed McDaniel to climb back into the game in the fourth quarter. McDaniel had 15 turnovers.
In addition to Hruz being named the tournament MVP, Kuehne earned all-tournament team honors for the Spartans. McDaniel's Nichols, Newbury's Destiny Spears, and Worcester State's TaNijia Smith were selected to join Hruz and Kuehne on the all-tournament team. Newbury won the consolation game 55-49.
The Spartans will get to enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday. They are now off until Wednesday, Dec. 2, when they will host Wesley College in their Capital Athletic Conference opener. That will start a stretch of four games in 10 days, including three conference games. Tip time on Dec. 2 is set for 6 p.m. at Wolf Gymnasium.