The most successful season in the history of York College Men’s Basketball came to an end on Saturday, with the Cardinals losing in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
York, finishing the year 22-8, fell to defending national champion Amherst of Massachusetts, 63-51.
The loss took place two days after York scored its first ever win in the NCAA Tournament in a 79-54 drubbing of Rhode Island College.
“It’s one of the best seasons we’ve had,” Head Coach Ronald St. John said in a statement issued by the school. “The guys were just terrific. They were fun to be with and be around. And it was an accomplishment to advance past the first round and be in a game for a chance to advance to the Sweet 16.”
In the Amherst game, both teams’ offenses came out cold, with York scoring only one basket in the opening six minutes.
But an 8-0 run gave the Cardinals a 10-5 lead, and they held a 23-21 lead at halftime.
It was in the second half, however, that Amherst came out asserting itself, scoring the first seven points.
Baskets by Michael Woods, the second-leading scorer in Division III this year, cut Amherst’s lead to four and then three, the latter with 3:30 remaining in the game before an 11-2 Amherst run put the game out of reach.
Woods finished with 19 points and Omar St. John of Jamaica and Martin Van Buren High School with 11.
Two days earlier, York broke an 0-for-5 first-round losing streak in the NCAA tournament while visiting Rhode Island.
St. John led the team with a career-high 31 points and Woods had 20. Jaron Williams controlled the backboards with 15 rebounds and blocked five shots. Hollis’s Justin Garvin of Bayside High School scores 11 points off the bench.
“I told the guys before the game that if we jump on them and get that knockout punch right from the beginning, it’ll be done before they realized what happened.”
The advice turned out to be prescient — three minutes into contest, the Cardinals went on a 16-0 tear.
Rhode Island chipped away, cutting the lead to 10 points before York went on a 13-2 run to give the school a 39-18 halftime lead.
The Cardinals would lead by as much as 27 in the second half.