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Rife stands tall, plays taller in Rockets' playoff run

Rife stands tall, plays taller in Rockets' playoff run

April 01, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Shane Rife



James Buchanan

As the man in the middle for the James Buchanan boys basketball team, senior Shane Rife has been in the middle of a whirlwind month.

Rife, who stands 6-foot-6, was front and center for the Rockets in their run to a third-place finish in District 3-AAA and, more impressively, to the PIAA state semifinals.

"This has been one of the greatest experiences I've ever had," Rife said. "It's amazing how the whole community came together around our team, and the accomplishments were amazing and memorable. ... I'm so thankful for everyone who supported us the whole way through. To drive three hours to Shamokin (High School) and have our stands be full, that was unbelievable."

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Rife can add one more accomplishment to his list - he's the 2006-07 Herald-Mail Player of the Year, as voted by the sports staff. He averaged 19.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and three blocks per game in the regular season.

Rife, who was an All-Area First Team selection last season, first started drawing attention as a sophomore for his post play. His game has grown significantly in the last two years.

"My sophomore year, I was a straight post-up player," Rife said. "Since then, I've really expanded my game to be more versatile. People have to guard me 25 feet from the basket, and that's opened up my game so much, and not only for me but for my teammates. Brandon (Bryan) and Dion (Lehman) both had great years."

"I think he always looks to improve," Rockets coach Larry Strawoet said. "His work ethic is excellent. He comes in with the idea that he's going to better himself and his team. His passion for the game, his dedication and commitment, all those words embody Shane."

Rife's performance in the playoffs grabbed the attention of college recruiters.

"Carnegie Mellon is still my first choice, but I've been getting some looks from D-I and D-II schools," Rife said. "Patriot League schools like Lafayette and Bucknell have called."

"Obviously, when you make a run in the state playoffs, you have other coaches come in, and now he has interest at a higher level," Strawoet said. "That's a compliment to his abilities and what he's accomplished as a player."

As impressive as Rife is on the court, its his other qualities that impress his coach the most.

"He leads by example in the classroom and on the court," Strawoet said. "We'd like our kids to grow up like him. He's an excellent role model. He handles himself with a lot of class."




ALL-AREA BOYS BASKETBALL



ALL-AREA FIRST TEAM



Shane Rife, James Buchanan, Sr., 19.7 pts., 10.2 reb.

Brandon Bryan, James Buchanan, Sr., 18.4 pts.

Adam Flook, Boonsboro, Sr., 19.9 pts. 4.3 reb. 2.9 asst.

Jaren Gembe, Greencastle, Sr., 17.1 pts., 4.2 asst.

Vance Hosby, Jefferson, Jr., 19.0 pts., 12.2 reb.

Kevin Kline, Waynesboro, 15.7 pts., 6.6 reb.

Ryland Newman, Jefferson, Sr., 13.2 pts., 7.9 asst., 3 stls.

,b>Armond Perez, Chambersburg, Sr., 13.9 pts., 7.2 reb.

Will Taylor, Williamsport, 16.2 pts., 11.6 reb.

David Theis, Mercersburg Academy, Sr., 19.8 pts., 11.4 reb.

COACH OF THE YEAR



Garon Gembe, Greencastle

Larry Strawoet, James Buchanan

ALL-AREA SECOND TEAM



Muzammil Bhutto, South Hagerstown; Kevin Breslin, St. Maria Goretti; Mike DeBarge, Boonsboro; Brad Divel, Southern Fulton; Dion Lehman, James Buchanan; Michael Lopez, Hedgesville; J.R. Mayles, Hedgesville; Mike russ, St. James; Isaac Thornton, Martinsburg; Tyrone Wheeler, North Hagerstown.

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