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Gembe the difference for Devils

February 16, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

NEW KINGSTOWN, Pa. - When Eastern York handed Greencastle-Antrim its first loss of the season, 64-63 on Dec. 18, the Blue Devils were playing without point guard Jordan Gembe.

With Gembe in the lineup for Friday night's PIAA District 3-AAA quarterfinal game, Greencastle had no problem repaying the Golden Knights.

Gembe had 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while Dameatric Scott added 25 points and 10 rebounds as the Blue Devils punched their ticket to the state tournament and the district semifinals with a 70-52 victory.

"Jordan's our ball-handler. He gets us into things," Blue Devils coach Garon Gembe said. "Without him, we're not quite as good. We were a good team tonight."

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"We had an actual (point) guard on the court," Scott said. "Last time we didn't have him, tonight we did and that's less work on my back."

Greencastle (23-4) will face top seed Susquehanna Township on Monday at 8 p.m. at the Giant Center in the district semifinals. The top seven teams in District 3-AAA earn state tournament berths, and the Blue Devils have already wrapped up a top-four seed.

"We've set some pretty lofty goals, and one was to try to get back in the state tournament," Garon Gembe said. "We did that tonight, and 23 wins is, I think, a school record."

It took a while for Greencastle to get going - Eastern York (17-9) had a 22-19 lead with 4:30 left in the first half, and Scott and Levie Holman picked up technical fouls in a whistle-filled first 12 minutes.

But the Knights made just 7 of 14 foul shots in the first half, and the Blue Devils finished the half on a 20-5 run sparked by four 3-pointers - two by Scott and one each by Gembe and Trevor Ile - to take a 34-24 lead at halftime.

"We didn't have a good start, and we got caught up in the hype," Scott said. "The young guys for Eastern York were talking trash and we got caught up in that. ... If we get a run going, we get our swagger. We live by the 3 and die by the 3. We all like shooting them, even me, and I'm 6-foot-6. We let them go when we have our swagger. We had it tonight and we made them. It's one of our most dangerous weapons."

Jordan Statler scored eight of his 13 points in the third quarter as Greencastle increased the lead to as many as 22 points in the fourth.

"You know I'm going to score 20, Jordan's going to get 15 and we need that third guy to step up," Scott said. "Tonight, it was Statler."

The Blue Devils, aware of how the game was being officiated, became more aggressive going to the basket and wound up making 15 of 19 foul shots in the second half to Eastern York's 2 of 4. Greencastle also finished with a 39-16 edge on the glass - Holman had seven.

"We wanted to get in the bonus before they did in the second half," Garon Gembe said. "Rebounding is about effort, and our kids are committed to that. (Scott) always gets a lot of boards but our other guys were getting them, too."

A pair of freshmen - guard Austin Tillotson (20 points) and 6-6 forward Andrew Nicholas (15 points) - led Eastern York in scoring.

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