York College women's basketball team off to hot start

  • York College beat Lebanon Valley on Sunday, 63-53, to improve to 4-1 on the season.
  • Susquehannock grad Katie Wagner led the Spartans with 13 points.
  • York Catholic grad Anne Lehr scored 17 points to pace Lebanon Valley.

With seven former York-Adams League basketball standouts on the roster, the York College women’s team understandably feels like a family.

Like a lot of families, the Spartans are hoping to go on a trip when March arrives.

York College's Sarah Shearer, front, and Sam Hruz, back, box in Lebanon Valley's Jennifer Eck during basketball action at Grumbacher Center on Sunday. Dawn J. Sagert photo

While it's too early to forecast a journey to the NCAA Division III Tournament, coach Betsy Witman has her squad playing like a team destined for the postseason.

York took another step toward that lofty goal Sunday when the it played host to Lebanon Valley in a non-conference clash inside Charles Wolf Gymnasium at the Grumbacher Center. The home team gained the lead early against the Flying Dutchmen and never looked back.

Led by a team-high 13 points from Susquehannock grad Katie Wagner, York improved to 4-1 on the season after earning a 63-53 victory. Lebanon Valley fell 2-3.

Wagner, who also had eight rebounds and four assists, pointed to the familiarity from their high school days as a big factor in the team’s success so far.

“We’re all really good friends both off and on the court,” she said. “I think that just knowing how each other played in high school just helps. (Red Lion grad) Morgan (Kuehne) and I have played on a team before in AAU and we just all have really good chemistry together.”

That was seen on the score sheet. Seven different Spartans scored at least five points Sunday. Sam Hruz collected nine points, 13 rebounds and six blocks.

Lebanon Valley's Becky Evans, right, looks to get around York College's Katie Wagner during women's basketball action at the Grumbacher Center on Sunday. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Witman also pointed out that the familiarity was visible defensively. York did a terrific job limiting LVC’s offense. The Dutchmen converted just 23.7 percent (18 of 76) of their shots. That included a 3-of-18 effort (16.7 percent) performance in the third stanza, when the Spartans stretched their lead to double digits.

“I think they shot just 16 percent in the third quarter,” Witman said. “So that was very solid.”

The Spartans will now travel to Penn State-Harrisburg in their Capital Athletic Conference opener on Wednesday. While the Lions are not one of the favorites to win the conference title this year, Wagner knows from experience that no team in the CAC can be taken lightly.

“We lost to them before,” she said. “Everyone in our conference is good, so you have to be ready to play every game.”

Lehr shines for LVC: One bright spot for Lebanon Valley was former York Catholic standout Anne Lehr.

Now a sophomore at LVC, Lehr poured in a game-high 17 points while converting on 7 of 14 shot attempts. She impressed her former high school coach, Kevin Bankos, who attended the contest. More than half (11) of Lehr’s points came in the first half.

“In the locker room I told the team that she was showing off in front of her high school coach,” Witman said.

York College's Beth Wiseley, left, moves the ball down the court while Lebanon Valley's Hilary Yoh defends during women's basketball action at the Grumbacher Center on Sunday. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Witman was well aware of what Lehr was capable of doing. The York College coach admittedly made a strong bid to recruit the 5-foot, 7-inch guard when she was a senior at York Catholic two years ago. Unfortunately for York, Lehr decided to head to LVC because of that school’s physical therapy program.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.