The 5-foot-9 guard was one of the smaller players on the court against Lancaster-Lebanon League opponent Garden Spot. But he came up huge in the Wildcats' 59-56 win at Dallastown High School, scoring their final nine points of the third quarter and all 12 of the team's fourth-quarter points to carry the team to victory.
"This was big," Gemmill said. "We haven't played in a bit, so it was nice to come back out and get in the groove."
Gemmill found his groove at the end of the third quarter as he connected on three 3-point goals in the final 1:47 to turn a 44-38 Garden Spot lead into a 47-all tie heading into the final eight minutes of the game.
"After I hit that first 3, my teammates just kept feeding me the ball," Gemmill said. "I just kept shooting it and shooting it. I guess I was in the zone."
Gemmill picked up right where he left off in the fourth quarter, hitting another 3-pointer, three driving layups and three free throws to account for all of Dallastown's fourth-quarter scoring.
"I thought our guys recognized the hot hand," Dallastown coach Troy Smeltzer said. "They did a good job of getting him the ball, and they also played some great defense down the stretch."
Garden Spot had two opportunities to tie the game with 3-pointers in the final 32 seconds but came up short. The last shot hit the backboard before being rebounded by 6-5 Dallastown senior Manny Mossengo as time expired.
"Credit these guys," Smeltzer said. "Adversity set in, but they came back."
It looked like Dallastown was on its way to an easy win after the first quarter, taking a 16-7 lead behind five points from Gemmill and four points from 6-6 senior Chris Robertson, but Garden Spot rallied in the second quarter to tie the score 25-25 at halftime.
"Basketball is a game of runs," Gemmill said. "We went on our run in the first quarter, and then they went on a run to get back in it."
Garden Spot senior Jimmy Brackett exploded in the third quarter, nailing three 3-pointers and putting up 13 third-quarter points to keep the Spartans in the game. The 6-3 Brackett finished with a team-high 16 points for Garden Spot (14-8).
Gemmill wound up with a game-high 28 points, while Mossengo and 6-4 senior Nick Russell added eight points each.
"It's kind of been up and down, up and down all this season," Smeltzer said. "But I know how much talent is on this team. I am very happy for them."
GARDEN SPOT (56)
Dunn 4 0-0 9, Schlegel 1 0-0 3, Deck 1 0-0 3, Williams 2 2-2 6, Lewis 2 1-2 5, Jimmy Brackett 6 0-1 16, Adam Siegrist 5 4-5 14. Totals 21 7-10 56 .
Judd Gemmill 10 3-5 28, Striebig 2 0-0 6, Small 1 0-0 3, Russell 4 0-2 8, C. Robertson 2 1-2 6, Mossengo 3 2-4 8. Totals 22 6-13 59.
Garden Spot 7 18 22 9 -- 56
Dallastown 16 9 22 12 -- 59
3-point goals -- Garden Spot 7 (Brackett 4, Dunn, Schlegel, Deck), Dallastown 9 (Gemmill 5, Striebig 2, Small, Robertson).