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JB boys 'hand' it over to Greencastle

January 31, 2001

JB boys 'hand' it over to Greencastle



By DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Greencastle over JBMERCERSBURG, Pa. - Greencastle guard Alex Denkovich wasn't sure if he was the third or fourth option on the Blue Devils' final play Tuesday night against rival James Buchanan. By the end of the game, though, he left the Rockets without any options.

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With the score tied, Denkovich made the first of two free throws with 3 seconds left to give the Blue Devils a 49-48 victory in the Mid Penn Colonial - their second highwire win of the season over the Rockets.

"I was nervous, but I was just trying to tune everyone out," said Denkovich, who finished with a team-high 11 points. "But this is the biggest rivalry for me ... it's bigger than Waynesboro for me. I look forward to this one every year."

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JB (8-11, 0-4) may not be so enthusiastic in their outlook after giving away even a chance at defending a last shot. Greencastle took the ball out of bounds with 6 seconds to play at halfcourt, and Matt Piper went for the steal on Denkovich, but instead fouled him.

"We were doing a lot of handchecking ... a lot," JB coach Larry Strawoet said. "It cost us."

Denkovich missed the second free throw and the loose rebound was corraled by the Devils (6-14, 1-4) to run out the clock, wasting a 10-0 run to start the second half and a 6-0 to tie the game late by the Devils.

Those runs could have been larger, but the Rockets went just 9-for-17 at the free throw line in the second half.

"You've got to make free throws," Strawoet said. "And we didn't."

Jeremy Barnes finished with eight assists and a chipped tooth for Greencastle - which came as no surprise to anyone. The big surprise was Sean Fitz, who came off the bench for 11 points, nine rebounds and a spark.

"The rebounds were not a surprise, and he's put some points up for us before," Greencastle coach Garon Gembe said. "But he's usually not that aggressive out there, and he was tonight. That was huge for us."

It also busted Greencastle's bitter seven-game losing streak in which they lost the seven games by a combined 37 points. The Devils have only won three times in games decided by eight points or less.

Two of them are against their biggest rival.

"Boy I wish I knew the answer to that one," Gembe said. "If I did ... gosh, we'd be a lot better off than we are right now."

Greencastle 49, J. Buchanan 48



GREENCASTLE-ANTRIM (49)

Ile 3, Denkovich 11, Drake 9, Barnes 6, Strait 5, Chlebowski 2, Bode 2, Fitz 11. Totals 17-47 10-20 49.

JAMES BUCHANAN (48)

Hawbaker 4, Ayers 3, T. Piper 2, M. Piper 12, Kaltreider 2, Sheppard 15, A. Ryder 10. Totals 12-40 23-34 48.

Greencastle1514713-49

J. Buchanan8171010-48

Three-point goals-Greencastle 5 (Ile, Denkovich, Drake 3), J. Buchanan 1 (Sheppard).

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