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Rockets beat rival Waynesboro

January 17, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Even when Brandon Bryan missed the early part of the basketball season while recovering from an injury, James Buchanan was a formidable unit.

With his return, the No. 4 Rockets appear stronger and more well-rounded with an inside-outside game, and they continue toward capturing their first Mid-Penn Capital regular-season title since the 1999-2000 season.

The 6-foot senior Bryan, when the chips were down, scored eight points over the last three minutes to lead the Rockets past No. 5 Waynesboro 58-48 in front of an enthusiastic crowd. It was JB's 13th straight win and, when coupled with Greencastle's win over Shippensburg, gave the Rockets a two-game lead over Greencastle.

"We've got a group of kids that have a special place in my heart, not only for what they do on the floor but also in the classroom," said JB coach Larry Strawoet. "Anyone that watches this team sees us work together."

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Everyone had a hand in the win, but specifically it was Bryan who dominated in the final eight minutes.

He gave the Rockets (14-1, 5-0) an eight-point lead at 43-35 early in the fourth quarter before Waynesboro (11-4, 3-3) dug down deep to orchestrate an 11-3 run and a 46-46 tie with three minutes left.

Matt Anderson nailed his third 3-pointer and Kevin Kline scored following a JB turnover to knot the score.

Then, Kline was guilty of his fourth personal foul - which sent Bryan to the line - and was also nailed with a technical foul that ended his night. Bryan converted both free throws and the Rockets made it a four-point play when Dion Lehman scored in the paint.

"The officials said (Kline) said something about the call and that's all I can really say about it," said Waynesboro coach Tom Hoffman. "You take a guy that averages 18 (points) and seven (rebounds) and you're back on your heels. It's like a pin popped our balloon."

That sequence might have deflated the Indians.

After Waynesboro's Devon Sims missed a shot, Bryan drove the paint for a goal. Then the Indians began to foul, but couldn't get the ball out of Bryan's hands, and he went on to cash in four straight free throws for a 56-46 lead.

The Indians did an effective job of keeping 6-5 forward Shane Rife out of the scorebook early, as he didn't score until three minutes into the second period. He knocked down his only goals of the half in back-to-back style that gave the Rockets a 16-9 lead.

"(Shane) demands attention in the middle, but when he wasn't effective early, we had other people step up," said Strawoet, who credited Dion Lehman (nine points) and Evan Angle (eight points) with solid performances.

However, James Buchanan was just as effective keeping down Waynesboro with a mixed bag on defense on the way to a 22-16 halftime lead.

"We switched defenses pretty well in the first half between man and zone," said Strawoet. "We got a little flat-footed when (Waynesboro) came back and Sims did a good job of penetrating for them."

Bryan, on the strength of his 18 second-half points, finished with 20 and Rife had 12 along with eight rebounds to help JB to a 33-21 margin on the boards.

"I don't think we pressured (JB) enough early in the game defensively," said Hoffman. "We might have given them too much and before you know it, we're down eight, 10 points."

Kline finished with 13 points and five rebounds for Waynesboro. Rickard added 11 and Sims chimed in with 10.

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