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Area team goes 1-4 at national hoops tourney

August 09, 2007|By LARRY YANOS

A team involving Washington County and Tri-State area boys basketball players recently competed in the National AAU Tournament at the Wide World of Spots Complex at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

"We finished 1-4 in our age group but three of those defeats came by one point," Greencastle-Antrim High School boys basketball coach Garon Gembe said. "The players saw tough competition and they learned from it. It was a learning experience and a lot of fun."

Gembe's team - called the Franklin Force - included a group of 17-year-old athletes who will be seniors this year.

"We had to finish in the top four in regionals (held near Wilmington, Del.) to advance to the finals and we did that while competing against Mid-Atlantic teams," Gembe said. "You were allowed to pick players in your neighboring region. I selected 10 players and they received adequate playing time. That's what it was all about."

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The roster included Mitch Belella, Kevin Breslin and John Duhring of St. Maria Goretti; Hamilton Stamper of Heritage Academy; Dameatric Scott and Jordan Gembe from Greencastle; Khalid Gresham and Byron Johnson from Scotland; and Craig Van Scyoc of Shippensburg.

Andrew Lawson from the Cumberland Valley Christian School was also a member of the team, but injuries prevented him from attending nationals.

The Franklin Force faced squads from Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida and Illinois.

"We started in pool play, then went into the elimination bracket," Gembe said. "We were only 1-4, but we certainly proved we were competitive. The kids represented themselves well. And there were a number of college basketball coaches at the tournament - that was a plus thing for the players."

Randy Van Scyoc assisted Gembe with coaching duties at the tournament.

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