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Blue Devils earn their chance to 'shock the world'

February 15, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Once Greencastle finished off a 65-58 victory over Susquehanna Township in Tuesday's Mid-Penn Conference boys basketball first-round playoff game, Blue Devils coach Garon Gembe looked ahead to Thursday's showdown against Pennsylvania powerhouse Harrisburg.

"It's a great team win," Gembe said. "Now, we beat Harrisburg and shock the world."

If Greencastle junior Jaren Gembe does to Harrisburg (24-0) what he did to Susquehanna Township (18-6), a stunning upset in the semifinals might be possible.

Using an array of floaters, strong drives to the basket and perimeter shots, Jaren Gembe torched the Indians' tough man-to-man defense for a season-high 25 points, carrying the Blue Devils.

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"Hitting my first shot, that was key," Jaren Gembe said. "I hit my first shot and I got in the flow of the game."

Jaren Gembe scored at least five points in every quarter. None of his shots was bigger than his 3-pointer from the right corner with 4:35 remaining in the third quarter that gave Greencastle (19-4) a 38-30 lead.

"Jaren really stepped it up tonight offensively," Garon Gembe said. "He stepped up and carried us. I thought he was aggressive and he knocked down some shots."

Dameatric Scott scored 14 points, Jordan Gembe had 11 and Adam Wiestling had nine for the Blue Devils, who made 23 of 40 shots (57.5 percent), using a variety of backdoor cuts and screens to gash Susquehanna Township's tight defense.

"It's playoff basketball and we need to be tough," Garon Gembe said. "We stressed it in practice. We knew they'd be physical. ... They overplay so much and our backdoor cuts and offensive sets worked tonight."

Greencastle's shooting touch was even better at the foul line. The Blue Devils made 16 of 20 attempts from the stripe, including 12 of 15 in the fourth quarter. Jordan Gembe made 7 of 8 attempts in the quarter and Jaren Gembe made all four of his attempts down the stretch.

"That's the key," Jaren Gembe said. "If we can get to the line and score, it makes it so much easier at the other end."

"Our kids know how important that is in a big game," Garon Gembe said. "If you're going to knock off a good team, you have to make them. They're called free throws for a reason."

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