York College men’s coach Matt Hunter likes to refer to basketball as "the greatest game on Earth."
Outcomes are never guaranteed, no matter the opponent. A team can play extremely well one night and play very poorly the next.
Unfortunately for Hunter and his squad, Wednesday evening was not one of the Spartans' best games.
While effort was not lacking, the shots that Hunter’s club managed against Wesley inside Charles Wolf Gymnasium at the Grumbacher Center would not fall. York connected on just 6 of 28 attempts (21.4 percent) in the first half, which helped the visitors take a 13-point lead.
The Spartans battled back, despite shooting woes, to pull within five points in the final minute, but the home team was unable to overcome the early deficit in a 63-58 setback.
The York women’s team, however, had little trouble in the opener of a doubleheader Wednesday. Powered by 14-point performances from Morgan Golec and Katie McGowan, the Spartan women rolled to a 75-52 triumph vs. Wesley.
The mood around York's locker room was fairly somber at the conclusion of the men’s game.
“I was happy with our effort and happy with the way we competed,” Hunter said. “It’s really tough to stand in front of guys and tell them that they have to make shots. It’s just a physical thing, but it’s not one of those things that I’m going to harp on. We keep focusing on getting a lot of great shots and we got a lot of great shots.”
The home team settled for a lot of outside shots in the first half with minimal success. York made just 4 of 21 attempts from beyond the arc in the first half, which helped Wesley (4-4 overall, 3-1 Capital Athletic Conference) stake out a 32-19 advantage at the half.
Things improved in the second half, when York made just a shade under 50 percent (14 of 29) of its attempts. That enabled the Spartans to slowly chip away at Wolverines' lead.
The visitors, however, were able to stay ahead with a hot night at the foul line. Wesley knocked down 16 of 17 attempts at the charity stripe at one point.
The loss was bittersweet for Dalton Myers. The York senior, who finished with 11 points, connected on a 3-pointer with 2:44 left in the first half that put him over 1,000 points for his career.
“He’s the first one to reach it since I’ve been here,” Hunter said. “And it’s great. It’s really a team award, especially in his case. Usually one, if not two or three guys, have to touch it before he gets it. Obviously he’s done a great job for us playing and he has some great teammates that got him the ball all those times.”
Jason Bady came off the bench to lead York with 14 points, while Blayde Reich (12) and Central York grad Jared Wagner (10) also reached double figures for the Spartans (5-3, 2-2).
York cruises to easy victory in women’s contest: While York had issues making shots in the men’s game, it was the Wesley women’s team that had major issues in that department against Betsy Witman’s club. The Wolverines started out 1 of 18 (5.6 percent) from the field in the first quarter, which allowed York to pull out to a 20-4 advantage.
The Spartans never allowed Wesley a chance to get back into it.
It was a nice way for the Spartans to go out before the Christmas break. Witman’s club won’t play again for another two weeks when its visits Lamar College in New York City for a holiday tournament.
“They struggled from the perimeter, luckily,” Witman said of the visitors. “And we gathered up the rebounds, which allowed us to get our running game going and I think we executed pretty well.”
The lopsided outcome allowed Witman to utilize one of her team’s biggest assets — its depth. The York coach was able to get 11 players at least 10 minutes of playing time. It also allowed both Golec and McGowan to come off the bench, yet still lead the team in scoring.
McGowan, who played high school ball at Dallastown, particularly impressed her coach. The sophomore added seven rebounds while converting on 8 of 10 free throw opportunities.
“She shows a lot of promise,” Witman said. “I don’t think that she realizes just how good she can be.”
The Spartans improved to 6-3 overall and evened their record in CAC play at 2-2.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.