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Blue Devils protect home turf vs. JB

January 20, 2007|by DAN KAUFFMAN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - After reaching the PIAA District 3-AAA championship game last year, Greencastle-Antrim's boys basketball team entered this season with expectations as high as any team in the Tri-State area. A mixture of injuries, academic issues and disciplinary suspensions had kept the Blue Devils from fulfilling those expectations.

That is, until Friday night, when rival James Buch-anan - the top dog so far this year in the Mid-Penn Capital and the District 3-AAA power ratings - came to Greencastle.

Playing on their home court in front of a raucous sellout crowd, the Blue Devils delivered a statement to the No. 2 Rockets, making 30 of 53 shots and racking up a 36-18 rebounding edge on the way to a 77-67 victory that pulled Greencastle within a game of JB in the Capital standings.

"This was about bringing everything back to Greencastle, our momentum, our pride, everything," said Dameatric Scott. "This was a new beginning for us. This was about taking control in our house."

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Scott had a major hand in the Blue Devils' reawakening. He scored a season-high 34 points, most of them coming in the paint, and added 14 rebounds. He thoroughly outplayed James Buchanan center Shane Rife, who managed only nine points against the collapsing Greencastle defense.

"Dameatric just made a commitment to get inside," Blue Devils coach Garon Gembe said. "He made a couple of 3s, but everything else was inside. He was just so determined, and with the athletic ability he has, when he's that determined, good things are going to happen."

Guards Brandon Bryan and Dion Lehman helped the Rockets (14-2, 5-1) stay close to the Blue Devils (9-7, 4-2). They each posted season-highs in points - Bryan with 28 and Lehman with 20 - to help JB make 25-of-44 shots.

But ultimately, Greencastle's advantage in the paint proved too much to overcome.

"We probably haven't outrebounded anyone all year, so that speaks volumes for the effort of the kids tonight," Gembe said.

"The key to the game was winning the paint, and Greencastle took it to us," Rockets coach Larry Strawoet said. "I thought on the defensive side of the ball we were very flat-footed. We were watching the ball more than moving. We gave up 70 points, that's not a good night for us. We got a good old-fashioned butt-whooping."

Greencastle led 33-31 at halftime and used a 27-point third quarter to pull away to a 60-46 lead. Scott scored 11 points in the frame.

James Buchanan cut the lead down to as few as six points on Bryan's fourth and final 3-pointer with 1:27 left. Those were the last points the Rockets scored.

The Blue Devils jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first two minutes of the game to force a JB timeout. The Rockets later used a 15-0 run across the first and second quarters - with Bryan and Lehman scoring all 15 points - to take a 25-17 lead and force a Greencastle timeout. The Blue Devils then closed the first half on a 16-6 run, with Scott scoring eight points.

Jaren Gembe scored 16 points and dished out nine assists to compliment Scott for Greencastle.

"We're winding the season down, and this is certainly the time we want to be playing our best," Garon Gembe said. "Tonight was a step in the right direction. We'll see where it goes. The next three weeks will tell the tale."

If Friday night was any indication, Greencastle may be going back where they were just a year ago.

"We're back," Scott said. "It's just a start."

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