Hostler launches Rockets

December 23, 2002|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

MERCERSBURG, Pa - With both teams shooting miserably from the floor, it only took one player to find the hot hand.

Drew Hostler happily obliged.

The junior center scored all 16 of his points in the second half to lead James Buchanan to a 56-42 Mid-Penn Colonial win over Greencastle Friday night.

"It was real physical inside," said Hostler. "I guess I just got psyched up. I got more into the game. This is one of the biggest games of the year."

Trailing by as many as nine points in the third period, Greencastle drained its first three field goals of the fourth quarter, closing the deficit to 40-38. But Hostler scored nine points in a 15-2 James Buchanan run that sealed the Blue Devils' fate.


While Hostler sank all four of his fourth-quarter field goal attempts, his teammates struggled, hitting just 5 of 17 from the floor. Fortunately for the Rockets, Greencastle was even less effective at 5 for 19.

"I have to give (James Buchanan) credit," said Greencastle coach Garon Gembe. "They got after us defensively. But we had an awful lot of good looks that we just didn't hit. That happens to every team at every level. This was just a bad night to have an off night shooting."

And while the Blue Devils' leading scorers, Eric Ile and Danny Reese , combined for 32 of Greencastle's 42 points, they combined to hit just 12 of 33 field-goal tries.

"When you look at the boxscore for Greencastle, they have two prominent scorers in Ile and Reese," said Rockets coach Larry Strawoet. "We felt like if we could control those two, we would have a good chance of winning the game."

The Blue Devils didn't fare much better from the free-throw line, connecting on just 6 of 16 attempts, while James Buchanan hit 14 or 21.

Greencastle (4-4) established an early advantage behind six first-quarter points from Ile to claim a 15-11 lead after eight minutes.

The Blue Devils extended the margin to five points midway through the second quarter, but a pair of 3s - one each from Micah Hawbaker and Matt Heckman - sparked a 10-2 James Buchanan rally to give the Rockets the lead at the half, 25-22.

After five Hawbaker points gave JB a six-point edge early in the third period, Hostler began to assert himself inside, drawing numerous personal fouls and hitting 5 of 6 free throws.

An Ile jumper closed the gap to 37-30 with 81 seconds left in the quarter, but the Rockets waited for the last shot, and wound up with Eric Meyers hitting 1 of 2 from the line with three second left.

James Buchanan finished with Hostler (16), Hawbaker (14) and Meyers (11) reaching double figures.

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