Sunday afternoon’s rescheduled contest between the York College and Franklin & Marshall men’s basketball teams may have been a blessing in disguise for the Spartans.
The contest was originally scheduled for F&M on Friday, Nov. 8. It was supposed to be the season opener for both teams.
That contest was postponed, however, by a student protest at F&M, that included a sit-in on the court just before the scheduled tip-off. The students were upset by social media photos featuring some Diplomat athletes, including basketball players, that were alleged to have been racially insensitive.
The game was later rescheduled as a York home game. That not only gave coach Matt Hunter and his crew an unexpected game the Grumbacher Center, it also gave the Spartans a chance to avoid a long layoff because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Whether it was a result of all the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing that was consumed Thursday or not, the York side battled through some shooting woes in the first half on Sunday. The home team connected on just 1 of 11 shots from beyond the arc (9.1%).
After the break, however, the Spartans played one of their best halves of the season, shooting 54.8% from the floor. Led by a double-double from senior Jared Wagner (15 points, 10 rebounds), the Spartans improved to 5-2 with a 78-58 nonleague triumph over the Diplomats at Charles Wolf Gymnasium.
Depth helps: “We’ve put together some pretty good second halves this year,” Hunter said. “And we have to give a lot of the credit for that to our depth. We have a number of guys that are able to come off the bench and make plays.”
Former Littlestown High School standout Logan Collins was one of those guys. The freshman scored just four points, but finished with two rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes.
Those contributions from the bench help Hunter keep his starting five fresh on most nights. That meant that a standout such as Wagner, a Central York grad, only had to play 26 minutes on Sunday.
“For us, it’s just about getting our shooters the ball when they’re open,” Wagner said. “Because we have some guys that can really shoot it.”
Polczynski, Giuliani shine: Joe Polczynski tallied 18 points to go with nine rebounds. Polczynski knocked down three of York’s four 3-pointers.
David Giuliani was a force in the paint, especially in the second half, when the Spartans pulled away in a contest that was tied at 33 at the half. Giuliani tallied 10 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, along with five of his eight rebounds.
Wagner likes his team: For Wagner, who has been on some really good York teams over his first three seasons, this year’s club has a lot of the same characteristics as those squads. And that’s why the senior feels good about his team’s chances as the Spartans prepare for their final season in the Capital Athletic Conference. York joins the Middle Atlantic Conference for the 2020-2021 sports season.
“What’s really special about, not just this team, but about our program over the years, is that we have fun,” Wagner said. “We love being around each other. Coach Hunter and coach (Jon) Showers recruit guys that really love the game of basketball and we love being around each other.”
The Diplomats fell to 2-3 on the season.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.