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District playoffs tip off in Pennsylvania

February 08, 2008|By Dan Kauffman

The PIAA District 3 playoffs start today with play-in games involving Chambersburg's boys and Waynesboro's girls. The Greencastle-Antrim boys get to sit and wait until their first-round contest Tuesday.

* The Trojans (12-10) play host to Harrisburg (12-10) tonight at 7, with the winner advancing to play Lancaster McCaskey (19-4) -- the No. 2 seed in District 3-AAAA -- on Wednesday.

Chambersburg went on the road and defeated Harrisburg 70-67 on Jan. 4.

"We're trying to call upon the knowledge of playing against them, and trying to prepare to do the things we have to do to be successful," Trojans coach Shawn Shreffler said. "We're trying to make sure, number one, that we do a great job on the glass, and not giving up multiple chances off of rebounds. That's very important, and sometimes we've done it very, very well, and other times we've struggled.

"Defensively, we have to try to contain them and keep them on the perimeter, and not let them get into the heart of our defense with their penetration. On the offensive end, they come at you in a variety of ways, whether with man-to-man pressure defense or zone, halfcourt or fullcourt. We've been going over a variety of press breaks so we don't just give them one look, and so our kids have different things to go to and have confidence in that they can break the pressure and get good shots and opportunities once we do."

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Shreffler expects Armond Perez (21.1 points, 9.4 rebounds per game) -- who injured an ankle in Saturday's 70-58 victory over James Buchanan -- to be close to 100 percent today.

"Day by day, it's getting better for him," Shreffler said. "He's had other dings throughout his career and he always seems able to bounce back. The other night (against Waynesboro, a 57-55 loss Tuesday), he wasn't nearly as explosive, but he was still solid. I expect him to feel as good as he's felt since the injury."

The Trojans have a handful of quality wins this season -- including a 55-45 victory over Greencastle -- that gives them confidence.

"Our kids have confidence within themselves, and I know the team has confidence in everyone," Shreffler said. "If put in a position to step up and make plays, I think our guys will make plays."

* Coming off a memorable run to the PIAA Class AAA boys championship game in 2007, the Blue Devils (21-4) will begin what they hope is an equally memorable run with Tuesday's District 3-AAA first-round game against Manheim Township at Chambersburg at 7:30 p.m.

"I don't know a whole lot just yet," Greencastle coach Garon Gembe said of Manheim Township. "I know they have the leading scorer in the Lancaster-Lebanon League, a little 5-foot-8 guard. He comes off a lot of screens and has the ability to get shots off pretty quickly, so our perimeter defense will have to be pretty solid."

Seven teams will advance from District 3-AAA into the state tournament, so the first-round game is huge.

"That's the one you absolutely have to win," Gembe said. "After that, seven of the eight teams will advance. There is one unfortunate team that doesn't, but your chances increase significantly if you win Tuesday."

Greencastle rebounded from a tough 66-65 loss to Boiling Springs to close the regular season Friday by stunning Mid-Penn Commonwealth power Central Dauphin East 53-52 in the first round of the Mid-Penn Tournament on Monday. Then the Blue Devils ran into a buzzsaw in the top-ranked Class AAA team in the state, falling to Susquehanna Township 58-52 on Wednesday. A late rally by the Blue Devils -- ranked eighth in Class AAA -- made the score closer.

"That was a nice win (over CD East)," Gembe said. "It was a nice game with (Susquehanna) Township, a good experience for our kids. If they are -- and they very well may be -- the best team in the state, our kids should have confidence because we proved we could compete with them. We have to do some things better, but we can do them better, it's not unattainable.

"I think we're excited and optimistic. Our kids are ready to compete in the next stage of our season, and it's kind of an old saying, but we have to take it one game at a time, and our kids understand that. Right now, our concentration is on Manheim Central, and on Tuesday we'll be ready to go."

* Waynesboro (17-6) travels to New Oxford (16-7) for a District 3-AAAA girls play-in game tonight at 7.

The Maidens, champions of the Mid-Penn Capital, stumbled down the stretch with losses in five of their last eight games. They are led by Mallory Wishard (15.9 points, 9.3 rebounds).

Waynesboro's boys (12-11) travel to Mechanicsburg (17-7) in another District 3-AAAA play-in game today. The winner will face Red Lion (18-5) at New Oxford on Wednesday.

* Southern Fulton's boys (16-7) and girls (17-6) will play in the District 5-A playoffs next week.

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