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Devils go down for count in numbers game

March 11, 2006|By DAN KAUFFMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa.

By the numbers - specifically, a 14-rebound edge and a 20-shot advantage - one would suspect the Greencastle-Antrim boys basketball team would have won its first state tournament game in 50 years Friday night.

"It's not always a game for numbers," Blue Devils coach Garon Gembe said.

Unfortunately, the coach is right.

Though Greencastle dominated Blue Mountain in the paint - with Adam Wiestling and Dameatric Scott posting double-doubles - in the end, the Blue Devils couldn't quite get the ball in the basket enough, making just 21 of 68 shots and falling 56-53 in overtime in the PIAA Class AAA first round at Chambersburg.

It certainly felt like one that slipped away from Greencastle (22-7).

"It seems like we got our hands on the ball a lot but we couldn't quite grab it, and they came up with a lot of them," Gembe said. "It was what you'd expect for a first-round state playoff game. Both teams battled hard. ... They came up with the plays at the end."

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Scott, who hit a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 47-47, relied on his length and athleticism to post 18 points and 12 rebounds. Wiestling dominated the smaller Blue Mountain players with brute strength and positioning, and he finished with 17 points and 16 boards as the Blue Devils won the rebounding battle, 43-29.

"Adam and Dameatric were both really good tonight," Gembe said. "They played with a lot of energy and crashed the boards hard. They kept us in the game."

But neither they, nor their teammates, could find a way to win it.

Greencastle took a 53-50 lead with 1:45 left in overtime when Jaren Gembe made the first of two foul shots, and Scott put his miss back up and in. Those were the last points the Blue Devils scored.

Will Huntzinger made 3 of 4 foul shots to pull Blue Mountain (18-10) back into a tie, and David Murphy's baseline drive and reverse layup with 23 seconds left broke it.

Jaren Gembe missed two 3-point attempts in the closing seconds, with Josh Rhody making 1 of 2 free throws for Blue Mountain in between Gembe's shots to finish the scoring.

Blue Mountain made 18 of 48 shots and went to the foul line 29 times, making 16. Greencastle made just 7 of 15 free throws.

The game was played at a helter-skelter pace, especially after halftime. Both teams played their top five players for most of the contest. Many of Greencastle's perimeter shots in the second half wound up short, possibly due to fatigue.

"We were prepared for (the up-tempo style)," Garon Gembe said. "Did it have a little affect on our shots? It may have, but we pride ourselves on being in great shape, so I'm not going to make an excuse out of that.

"(Blue Mountain) was very good defensively, I thought. They were quick to the ball and very active. I give them a lot of credit."

Jaren Gembe finished with 11 points for the Blue Devils. Michael Kacelowicz led Blue Mountain with 19.

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