After a girls-boys high school basketball doubleheader that highlighted the inaugural Donnie Swartz Memorial Classic, West York boys coach Bill Ackerman took in the moment at York College's Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center.

The event was held in honor of Swartz, the former YAIAA basketball official who spent 38 years officiating before he died in March 2011.

Not only was the Classic started to pay tribute to Swartz -- a beloved figure for many local basketball fans and coaches, including Ackerman -- it serves as a fundraiser for the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Fund, which Donnie established in 2001 after his wife's death in 1997.

"I told my guys before the game that this holds a special place in my heart. I knew Donnie well," Ackerman said. "I was glad my guys played with passion -- that was Donnie. Both games were well-played with good sportsmanship. I think he'd be proud."

The Bulldogs' stifling defense keyed the nightcap, forcing York Suburban (4-8) to commit 33 turnovers -- 12 in the first quarter. Although the Trojans managed a comeback before halftime, West York (5-7) kept the pressure going after the break and went on to a 64-50 victory.

In Saturday's first game, the Central York girls' team trailed Eastern York (8-4) until the fourth quarter. The Panthers (6-6) poured in 26 points and posted a 57-48 win against the Golden Knights.

"It was an honor to play in this game. Donnie was a ref when I played," Central coach Andrew Stiffler said.

Samantha Sweeney scored 12 of her game-high 22 points during the dramatic fourth-quarter comeback and earned game MVP honors.

"We came out in the second half and knew the odds were against us. It was about never giving up," Sweeney said. "Assistant coach (Kevin Stiffler) said, 'Wouldn't it be nice to look back and remember the time we were down and came back in this beautiful arena?'"

Central York’s Alexis Balanda tries to shoot against Eastern York’s Elizabeth Myers during the first quarter of the girls basketball game in
Central York's Alexis Balanda tries to shoot against Eastern York's Elizabeth Myers during the first quarter of the girls basketball game in the inaugural Donnie Swartz Memorial Classic doubleheader on Saturday. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - CHRIS DUNN)

Morgan Thomas scored 18 points and teammate Elizabeth Myers added 16 points and had 17 rebounds to lead Eastern. Thomas' layup put the Knights up 31-22 midway through the third quarter.

However, Alexis Balanda (18 points) nailed a 3-pointer at the end of the quarter, which pulled the Panthers within 34-31. Early in the fourth, she banked in a trey and, 16 seconds later, Sweeney tied it at 37 with a fastbreak layup.

The teams traded points until Balanda nailed her fifth 3-pointer, giving Central a 46-43 lead with less than 3 minutes to play.

"I was not pleased with the first half. The second half we played with much more intensity and energy," Andrew Stiffler said.

Between games officials from across the YAIAA basketball leagues donned their striped jerseys and entered Wolf Gym to the song, "I can only imagine."

The refs lined the sidelines and the those in attendance paid tribute to Donnie Swartz with a moment of silence. The public address announcer gave a brief recap of Swartz's life, noting that both he and Gretchen were officials, and are believed to be the only husband-wife team in PIAA basketball.

Ackerman was quick to point out how important it is for his team to force turnovers. It led to the Bulldogs jumping out to a 13-5 lead, which increased to 22-11 after one quarter.

"It's because our offense isn't good enough to stand on its own," he said.

Yet, led by six points from Evan Eberhardinger, who notched a game-high 22, Suburban tied the game by scoring the first 11 points of the second quarter.

"The game was a microcosm of our season. We will make a great play, then turn it over," Ackerman said. "At halftime, we basically challenged our seniors to step up. I thought they did a good job defensively."

After Eberhardinger made cut the Trojans' gap to 49-41 early in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs scored eight straight points, all by freshman Damian McCauley, who earned MVP honors after scoring all 16 of his points in the final 8 minutes.

Central York’s Alexis Cash and Eastern York’s Elizabeth Myers struggle for possession during the first quarter of the girls basketball game in
Central York's Alexis Cash and Eastern York's Elizabeth Myers struggle for possession during the first quarter of the girls basketball game in the inaugural Donnie Swartz Memorial Classic doubleheader on Saturday at York College. Eastern York girls held their lead until the fourth quarter, when Central York tied the score at 37-37 and went on to win at 57-48. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - CHRIS DUNN)

West York's Kevin Rice finished one rebound shy of a triple double, finishing with 15 points, 10 steals and nine boards.
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Boys' game
WEST YORK (64)
   Lopez 2 3-3 7, Kinneman 0 0-0 0, Bailey 1 0-2 2, Cable 1 0-0 2, Frey 0 0-0 0, Snellbaker 1 1-5 3, Neff 4 0-0 8, Kevin Rice 6 1-2 15, Woodard 1 0-2 2, Neiderer 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-0 0, Traettino 2 0-0 5, Darian McCauley 5 6-7 16, Weekly 2 0-0 4, Einsig 0 0-0 0, Torres 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 11-16 64.
YORK SUBURBAN (50)
   Evan Eberhardinger 8 6-7 22, CJ Boxley 1 1-3 3, Moats 0 2-2 2, D. Boxley 1 0-0 2, P.J. McClane 6 3-6 15, Olsen 0 0-0 0, Bauer 1 0-0 2, Briggs 0 0-0 0, Mears 0 0-0 0, McDowell 0 0-0 0, Donahue 0 0-0 0, Wise 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 12-18 50.
West York     22  11  12  19 -- 64
York Suburban   11  19    9  11 -- 50
   3-point goals -- West York 3 (Rice 2, Traettino).
  
Girls' game
CENTRAL YORK (57)
   Shifflett 0 0-0 0, Wisner 3 2-2 9, L. Shellenberger 1 2-2 4, Alexis Balanda 6 1-4 18, Windsor 0 0-2 0, Cash 1 2-4 4, Samantha Sweeney 6 10-14 22. Totals 17 17-28 57.
EASTERN YORK (48)
   Beaver 3 0-0 6, Kalke 0 0-0 0, L. Myers 1 1-3 3, Dietz 0 0-0 0, Morgan Thomas 8 2-4 18, Nalls 1 0-0 2, Elizabeth Myers 6 4-6 16, Pennell 0 3-4 3. Totals 19 10-17 48.
Central York   7  10  14  26 -- 57
Eastern York   8  18    8  14 -- 48
   3-point goals -- Central York 6 (Balanda 5, Wisner).