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Rockets roll past Greencastle, into first place

January 07, 2006|By TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -

Through three periods Friday, things were proceeding just fine for the Greencastle-Antrim boys basketball team against rival James Buchanan.

The Blue Devils were in firm control through three periods with a 44-32 lead entering the fourth period.

Suddenly, Mr. Momentum began to slowly sway to the Rockets, beginning with Jordan Gembe's departure via personal fouls with 6:18 remaining in regulation, even with Greencastle still leading by 11 points.

What became a jubilant finish for the Rockets was a devastating loss for the Blue Devils as JB (9-3, 3-0) rallied into overtime and came out with a 63-54 victory, seizing first place in the Mid-Penn Capital in front of a standing-room only crowd.

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"We were down but we just decided to start picking up things defensively," said Brandon Bryan, who led JB with 19 points. "We're happy we won and I think the crowd helped us come back and win."

The No. 5 Blue Devils (8-3, 3-1) shot 57 percent through three quarters, kept Shane Rife bottled up with only 10 points and kept mistakes to a minimum before the picture began to fade.

Still leading 46-35 at the outset of the fourth period, guard Jordan Gembe was whistled for his fifth personal at the 6:18 mark and Josh Pickens converted both free throws to start a 14-0 run.

With Jordan Gembe out, the Rockets were able to fluster the Blue Devils into five turnovers and four missed shots while rallying to take a 47-46 lead with 1:14 to play on a bucket by Bryan. Pickens followed with a putback and 49-46 lead with 12 seconds left.

However, Jaren Gembe came out of a time out and hit a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left to knot the score, 49-49. Bryan quickly moved into the JB frontcourt and swished a long-range trey, properly denied by officials, at the expiration of time.

Jaren Gembe gave Greencastle a quick 52-49 lead with a 3-pointer, but JB went on an 11-0 run, fueled by Shase Hollenshead's trey to tie the game and a free throw by Dion Lehman for a 53-52 lead which JB never relinquished.

JB marched to the line for the final seven points, part of the huge advantage it had at the stripe. The Rockets were 16 of 27 while Greencastle went 1 of 5.

"As aggressive as (JB) is, I find it hard they can go an entire half, and then overtime, with six team fouls," said Greencastle coach Garon Gembe.

"When (Jordan) went out, it took a ballhandler and a spot-up shooter out of the game and hurt us on defense," he said. "We didn't have an answer when he was gone. That was the difference in the game."

JB junior varsity coach Diron Swailes said head coach Larry Strawoet "was ill and couldn't speak after the game."

"We're proud of how our kids came back," said Swailes.

Rife came alive with eight of his 12 rebounds in the last 12 minutes, hit two key buckets and ended with 14 points to support Bryan. Pickens added 13 and Hollenshead had 10.

Jaren Gembe led Greencastle with 17 points and Adam Wiestling added 14. Wiestling and Jordan Gembe each had six rebounds.

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