York College splits vs. Frostburg
While it wasn't a playoff game, the York College men's basketball team had to feel like it was when the Spartans squared off against Frostburg State Wednesday night.
After beginning the season with a 6-2 mark, the Spartans have struggled lately, dropping six of their past seven games heading into their battle with the Bobcats. If Coach Matt Hunter's club wants to make a run at a Capital Athletic Conference playoff title, it was critical to find a way to emerge from the recent funk.
It didn't look good early for the Spartans, but the hosts showed glimpses of the the team that was so efficient in the early part of the season. Behind the play of Matt Scamuffo, the Spartans rallied from as many as 15 points down in the second half to pull within two.
Hunter's squad, however, just didn't have enough to get out of the hole. A handful of turnovers and missed shots prevented what would have been a pivotal triumph. The Bobcats hung on for a 59-53 victory.
York fell to 7-9 overall and 3-6 in the CAC. The loss prevented a sweep of the men's/women's doubleheader. The Spartan women claimed a 68-64 victory.
"We put ourselves in a tough situation," Hunter said. "And it requires some energy. But we got ourselves back to where we needed to be. But we had a couple possessions where we didn't get a shot off. We did a really good job defensively for a really long time, but we just couldn't quite put it all together. ... We gave ourselves a chance to win."
Despite the loss, Hunter still believes his club can right the ship.
"We have to put the focus back on us and try to get better each day," he said. "We have to do the things we didn't do well tonight better and we'll kind of let the pieces fall out as they do. It's going to be topsy-turvy all the way through the end."
Scamuffo led York with 19 points.
Women's game: The Bobcats (3-13 overall, 0-9 CAC) may have entered Wednesday's women's contest winless in the conference, but the visitors certainly didn't play like it.
"I told my players that we needed to bring it tonight," York women's coach Betsy Witman said. "Because Frostburg beat us here last year, on our home court. They always play us hard. But all season we've found a way to win, even if it's ugly."
Frostburg pushed Witman's club to the brink behind a strong game from Courtney Young (13 points, 14 rebounds). The Bobcats erased a seven-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter before taking a 64-62 lead with just under a minute remaining.
That's when the home team started to turn things around. Susquehannock grad Katie Wagner earned a trip the foul line with 37 seconds left. Wagner, who was 0 for 3 at the line up to that point, sank both attempts to even things up. After a Bobcat miss, Wagner (10 points) then scored the go-ahead basket with 14 seconds left.
"We had Katie swing to the point to help us break the press and get it up the court," Witman said. "And she made some big free throws at the end."
West York grad Sarah Shearer, who finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, iced the game with two seconds left by converting on two free throws to help the Spartans improve to 13-3 and 7-2 in the CAC.
Perhaps the biggest different maker on the night was the play of freshman Katie McGowan. The Dallastown grad scored a career-high 11 points to go with eight rebounds on a night when starter Sam Hruz (four points) had trouble getting on track.
"Sam Hruz was struggling," Witman said. "So we put Katie (McGowan) in. We know that she's going to rebound and finish shots inside. She's starting to really come on for us and I'm happy to see that."
York will hit the road for a game scheduled for Saturday at Mary Washington. Witman's team defeated the Eagles at home earlier in the season, but know a sweep of their rivals (12-3, 6-2) won't come easy.
"With this snow storm, they may move it up to Friday or maybe back to Sunday or Monday," Witman said. "We beat them earlier and probably played our best game of the season. But we have to go down there, which is a tough place to play."
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.