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G-A gets well, cans Canners

February 10, 1999|By DAN SPEARS

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - No one wants the flu. It makes you cough, it makes you tired, it saps your body of energy.

The Greencastle-Antrim girls basketball team found the perfect vaccine for all that ailed it: getting revenge on your biggest conference rival with the league title on the line.

The No. 7 Blue Devils, who had four players miss practice the day before because of illness, wore down Biglerville in the final five minutes Tuesday night, winning 43-39 to keep their shot at the Mid Penn Colonial title alive.

"This is awesome," center Becky Fitz said. "Everyone's been sick, and we've been spreading it around to ourselves. You can call it team unity."

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Tuesday night, the Blue Devils came together at the last possible moment, closing the game on a 10-1 run after a rare outburst from coach Doug Stuart.

"He said good teams know when to do the right things ... they know when to keep their composure," Fitz said. "We were having problems, but we didn't let it get to us. Good teams do that."

Down 33-30 after a Jenny McQuait drive, Biglerville ran off eight points in one minute's time and put Greencastle (15-7, 4-1) on the brink as the Blue Devils had five turnovers in six possessions to open the fourth quarter.

But a change in defenses and a simple reminder were all they needed.

"I had to do some chewing out, and I don't have to do that often," Stuart said. "All we talked about was playing smart on defense, because if we fouled, they were shooting two. And we played great and had some clutch performances."

Greencastle finally came out of a zone defense into its traditional man-to-man, and the Canners got one point on its final 10 possessions. No matter what defense was out there, though, Biglerville still missed the shots, finishing an abysmal 15-for-76 from the field (19.7 percent) - 1-for-11 from 3-point range.

"The teams that beat them played zone," Stuart said. "We didn't think their outside shooting was as solid as before, so we basically told them, 'Show us you can beat us from the outside.' They didn't."

The Blue Devils allowed only one second-chance opportunity in that stretch as seniors Fitz (13 rebounds, 12 points) and Kylene Helman (16 points, nine rebounds) came up with all the big plays. They combined for the all the points in the final run.

It was the seventh meeting between the two increasingly bitter rivals over the last two seasons. The win was vindication for the teams' first matchup this season on Jan. 5, a game where Greencastle also scored 43 points - and gave up 70.

The Blue Devils stood 5-4 after that blowout. They've gone 10-3 since.

"It was pivotal. We were either not going to be good at all, or we were going to turn it around and play," Stuart said. "Everyone realized that people had to step up, and we've played well since then."

And Biglerville just happens to be the team that won the conference title last year - over Greencastle.

"We want the championship," Fitz said. "They beat us by four last year, and we haven't forgotten that."

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