York's Ronald St. John Wins 300th Career Game in Dramatic Fashion

Ronald St. John, head coach of the York College men’s basketball team, won his 300th career game Friday night as the Cardinals defeated Wells College 95-92. The Cardinals, who were playing in the opening round of the Skidmore College Hilton Garden Invitational, rallied from a 17 point halftime deficit and outscored Wells 61-41 in the second half to get St. John to the historic milestone.

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” said St. John, who became the 58th coach in NCAA Division III history to reach the milestone. “It’s quite a feeling to be up there with an elite group of coaches.  300 wins definitely gives you a lot to look back on.”

Wells appeared to have the game well in hand when they ended the first half with a last second lay-up to take a 51-34 lead going into the locker room. 

In the second half, the Cardinals cut into the lead slightly but Wells still maintained a comfortable 76-66 cushion with 8:58 to play.  York then went to work and cut the lead to 78-76 with 5:31 to play thanks to a pair of Nicholas Hamilton-Lopez three-pointers and lay-ups by Ryan Exum and David Simon.  York would then tie the game a few minutes later, when Hamilton Lopez drained another three-pointer to make the score 81-81 with 5:00 to play.

The game was still tied with just 19 seconds remaining when York’s Keith Thornton put back a missed jumper and was fouled on the play to give York a 92-90 lead.  Thornton missed the ensuing free throw but Simon grabbed the rebound and York maintained possession.  Hamilton-Lopez was then fouled and hit the next two free throws to seal the win for York.

“When we were down 17, I didn’t think it could happen, added St. John. To comeback and win it like this—It’s a game I’ll never forget. Our guys never stopped and did a great job. I thanked them for their effort after the game.”

Hamilton Lopez set a new career-high, scoring 33 points, while shooting 8-15 from three-point range. Marcel Esonwune also had a big night, recording 21 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.  Omari Phipps netted 14 points and grabbed eight boards and Exum finished with 13 points, nine assists and five steals.

For Wells (3-4), Juan Paulino had a big night, scoring 31 points and grabbing ten boards.  Darrell Bullock added 20 points and Greg Jones finished with 18.

With the win, York improves to 3-4 and advances to tomorrow’s championship game against Johnson State College, who defeated host Skidmore 77-67 in the first game. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.  

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