The York College men's basketball team desperately needed someone to step up this season.
The Spartans lost three 1,000-point scorers off of the 2018 Capital Athletic Conference championship team.
With those departures, it was not surprising that the defending champions were picked third in this season's CAC preseason coaches' poll.
Fortunately for the Spartans, someone did step up in a very big way.
Thursday, Jason Bady was named the CAC Men's Basketball Player of the Year after a memorable senior campaign. Bady was also a first-team All-CAC selection.
Bady's teammate, Central York High School graduate Jared Wagner, was picked to the All-CAC second team.
Thanks to Bady and Wagner, among others, the Spartans (20-6) tied Christopher Newport for the CAC regular-season title at 12-2. Thursday night, No. 2 seed York plays host to No. 3 seed Mary Washington in the CAC playoff semifinals. The Spartans enter on a nine-game winning streak.
Season to remember: The 6-foot Bady leads the Spartans in scoring (18.7 points per game), rebounding (7.4 rebounds per game), free-throw percentage (81.4 percent), field-goal percentage (53.9 percent) and blocked shots (1.3 blocks per game). As a junior, Bady averaged about 10 points and six rebounds per game.
He has been named the CAC Men's Basketball Player of the Week three times and his name pops up all over the CAC statistical leader boards. He is first in the league in scoring, first in made free throws per game, fourth in rebounding, fourth in blocked shots, fourth in free-throw percentage, sixth in field-goal percentage and 10th in assists per game.
"Jason has been playing at an incredibly high level all year and especially over these last couple of weeks," York College head coach Matt Hunter said in a news release. "He is very worthy of being the CAC Player of the Year."
Bady has had 10 20-plus point performances, including a trio of 30-plus point efforts. He struck for a career-high 35 points in the Jan. 16 win at Salisbury. He matched that in the Feb. 6 game at home against the Sea Gulls in one of the most memorable nights of the season. In that game, Bady matched his career-high, joined the 1,000-career-point club and won the game with a free throw with 1.4 seconds left in the game. He has recorded a team-high four double-doubles
At York, Bady is 23rd in career scoring (1,064 points), 16th in rebounds (502), fifth in steals (152), tied for fifth in blocked shots (77), tied for sixth in games played (106) and tied for 10th in free throws made (304).
Bady is the fourth Spartan to earn the award. He joins Dallastown grad Chad McGowan (2006-07 and 2007-08), Delone Catholic grad Nick Brady (2009-10) and Paul Kouvaris (2011-12).
Big year for Wagner: Wagner earns his first All-CAC honor as a third-year junior starter. Wagner is averaging 14.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game.
"Jared has had an awesome season," Hunter said. "It has been fun to watch him explode and grow into his role over the course of the year."
Wagner is first in the CAC in steals, fourth in assists per game, ninth in scoring and ninth in free-throw percentage (77.0 percent). He is third in free throws made per game.
Wagner set a new career high in the Nov. 11 win over Johns Hopkins with 33 points while he established a new career-high in rebounding with 12 against St. Mary's on Jan. 12. For his York career, he is second in total career steals (198), fifth in assists (332) and 10th in free throws made (304). He has scored 910 points in his 82 career games.
"It's always great to have players in your program recognized for their success," Hunter said. "To have Jason and Jared earn these accolades are indicative of their prowess on the court and the success of our team."
Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information for this story was provided by York College athletics.