There's one word that seems to follow the York College men's basketball team these days — belief.
Belief that they can win in any circumstance.
Belief that any one player on the court can make a big shot in the clutch.
Belief that this is the year when the Spartans will make a deep postseason run.
That belief was rewarded Wednesday, Dec. 13, when York played host to Swarthmore in a non-league clash of unbeaten teams at Charles Wolf Gymnasium.
Trailing by a point with just more than six minutes left, the Spartans went on an 11-3 run to take the lead for good en route to an 83-79 victory.
York improved to 8-0, while the Garnet, who entered the night ranked No. 12 in NCAA Division III by d3hoops.com, fell to 8-1. The 8-0 mark set a new school record for the best start to a season by the Spartans.
“We just believe," York sophomore Jared Wagner said. "We believe that no matter who we are going up against that we are going to play harder than them and more together than them.”
That was certainly the case when the Spartans were mired in a back-and-forth tussle with Swarthmore. Senior Dalton Myers, who led the way with 22 points, scored six points during that pivotal 11-3 stretch, while Wagner, who finished with 12 points, sparked the team with his emotional play.
The Central York High School graduate seemingly put an exclamation point on the victory with a 3-pointer from the key with 1 minute, 40 seconds left that put his team ahead by six points (77-71). After making the shot, Wagner ran up the court near the York student section, imploring his classmates to make noise.
"I'd like to say that it was just another shot, but (it wasn't) because it was near the end of the game and there really aren't many shots left," Wagner said.
Matt Scamuffo, who was an All-Capital Athletic Conference First-Team All-Star last year, scored 20 points in the victory, while Blayde Reich added 12 more.
York has one more game before the holiday break hits. The Spartans will travel to Carlisle to face Dickinson on Tuesday, Dec. 19. Dickinson sits at 5-2.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.