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Blue Devils salvage game, season

February 15, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Halftime was gutcheck time for the Greencastle-Antrim boys basketball team.

Assistant coach Jeremy Eby supplied the punch.

Greencastle trailed Manheim Central 33-28 at the break when Eby delivered a motivational speech that the Blue Devils took to their heads and hearts. They broke through in the second half and pulled away for a 62-49 victory to advance to the PIAA District 3-AAA quarterfinals.

The Blue Devils will face Eastern York tonight at 7:30 at Cumberland Valley.

"Coach Eby came in the locker room and told us to take off our jerseys," said Blue Devils forward Dameatric Scott. "We took them off and he told us to throw them in the trash can because of how we were playing. It made all the seniors realize that if we lose this game, our season is done. It made us realize how meaningful it was.

"We turned it around."

Greencastle outscored the Barons 34-16 over the final 16 minutes, with Scott leading the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds. The Blue Devils' 6-foot-6 senior finished with 27 points and 17 rebounds -- three more boards than the entire Manheim team.

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"Rebounding, a lot of times, is just about effort. You have to work for them," Greencastle coach Garon Gembe said. "But our height kind of wore them down a little bit and the rebounds in the second half got a lot easier."

Jordan Gembe had seven rebounds and Levie Holman added six for the Blue Devils, who finished with a 40-14 edge on the glass. Meanwhile, Andrew Cordell matched up with the Barons' top scorer, Jordan Gatchell, by request and held him to just six points in the second half. Gatchell averaged 21.5 points per game this season.

"Andrew Cordell, before we came out of the locker room, told Coach, 'I can guard him,'" Scott said. "And he did. He was on him."

It appeared Greencastle (22-4) would turn the corner much sooner, as it used a 9-0 run in the second quarter to take a 22-17 lead.

But Manheim Central answered with a 12-0 spurt to take its biggest lead of the game at 29-22, and the Barons (15-10) maintained an edge until the midway point of the third quarter.

The Blue Devils hit just 12 of 34 shots with 11 turnovers in the first half. Gatchell scored 11 of his team-high 17 points before halftime.

"In the first half, maybe we took Manheim Central not as seriously as we should have," Garon Gembe said. "Our concentration level was low and we needed to improve a lot of things. Obviously, I thought we responded pretty well."

Greencastle took the lead for good on Jordan Gembe's 14-foot jumper from the left baseline -- the basket started a 13-0 run that gave the Blue Devils a 51-39 lead with 6:10 left in the game. The lead never dipped below nine points after that.

Holman scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half to pick up the Blue Devils' slack early in the game, while Jordan Gembe finished with eight points and four assists. Scott added five assists.

To advance to the district semifinals, the Blue Devils must defeat Eastern York, which posted a 64-63 win in Greencastle on Dec. 18. The Blue Devils were without Jordan Gembe in that game, and Scott picked up two technical fouls and was ejected in the second half.

"We thought of that game as, 'To be continued,'" Scott said. "We didn't have Jordan and I had 28 points by the third quarter. I don't want to sound cocky, but if we're playing Eastern York, we're going to have a lot of confidence."

By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Greencastle's Dameatric Scott (24) chases down a loose ball in the first quarter of Thursday's District 3-AAA quarterfinal game at Chambersburg.

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