GREENCASTLE - The Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils don't want to lose the feeling that comes with winning. They're having too much fun doing it.
Joel Zola had 25 points and 11 rebounds - and the Blue Devils stretched their winning streak to nine games
"We're just having a lot of fun right now," said Zola, who went 9-for-15 from the field, including 3-of-8 outside the arc. "We're playing as a team, we feel good, and we're playing good basketball."
Danny Stepler scored 15 points and Zach Faulkner added 10 for Greencastle-Antrim, which has won four of its games during the streak by at least 10 points.
Next up for the Blue Devils: The Mid Penn Colonial Division-leading Gettysburg Warriors and Cody Kiefer (16.2 ppg) come to town Friday.
Greencastle-Antrim coach Gary Martin said, "We're feeling really good - I don't think you'd want to go into this game playing any better than we are right now. They (Gettysburg) beat us by three points at their place (57-54 in overtime), now we're coming home to our gym. It's going to be a great atmosphere not only for the players, but also the fans."
Jordan Clingerman scored nine of his 15 points in the first half for Southern Fulton, while Brayden Litton finished with eight points off the bench. The Indians, who got no closer than 12 points in the fourth quarter, have dropped four of their last six.
"It wasn't so much about the effort as it was the execution," Southern Fulton coach Kent Hendershot said. "We didn't play smart at all, especially in the first quarter, and you just can't make those kind of mistakes against a quality team like Greencastle and expect to win."
Hendershot said he wasn't concerned about the tempo of the game but wanted to try to limit the Blue Devils' looks as much as possible. But it was evident early that Greencastle-Antrim (12-2) wouldn't be slowed, scoring 35 at the half while outscoring the Indians in the paint, 18-14.
"It was a defensive meltdown," Hendershot said. "The game plan was to force them to shoot from the perimeter, but instead, we let them do whatever they wanted. You've got to give some of the credit to Greencastle - they rattled us at times - but we've got to show more consistency on both ends of the floor. Otherwise, we're going to be nothing more than a mediocre team."
The Blue Devils built a 35-17 halftime advantage behind Zola's 17 points. Greencastle-Antrim shot 52 percent before the break, compared to 25 for the Indians.
Martin said, "We wanted to put them away in the first half. We were up 18 at the break and we really felt good about that, but I told them at halftime, 'All these smiles are great, but you've still got to go out and play another half of basketball just like the first.' They (Southern Fulton) didn't keep us on the schedule to come down here just to say we played you. They came to try and beat us."
Southern Fulton finally pulled it together in the second half, using a 14-4 run capped by Dristin Mellott's 3-pointer to pull within 39-31 with 3:11 left in the third period, But Zola answered with a putback and a long 3-pointer, and the Indians never threatened again.
A pair of Austin Scott free throws gave Greencastle-Antrim its largest lead of the game, 65-44, with 24 seconds remaining.
Southern Fulton (4-4) finished 2-of-24 on 3's and shot 19-for-63 (30.2 percent) for the game as Nick Smartt and Alex Seburn were a combined 4-of-26 from the field and 2-of-21 from beyond the arc.
"I thought our shot selection was extremely poor," Hendershot said. "We certainly weren't patient - putting up a bunch of very quick shots. We seemed to settle down a bit in the second half, but by them it was too little, too late."
The Blue Devils, who came in averaging 58.1 points in their first 13 games, had little problem with the Indians, jumping out to a 21-8 lead in the first six minutes. They continued building from there and ended up with their fourth-highest scoring outing of the season.
Greencastle-Antrim shot 49 percent overall, went 11-for-16 from the line, and forced Southern Fulton into 11 turnovers, leading to 13 points the other way.
Martin said, "It took us a little while to figure out their zone. We were getting the shots we wanted, but they weren't falling, and to their credit they played some pretty good 'D.' But then late in the third, early fourth, we started clicking. We played them hard, but at the same time, we kept everybody as fresh as possible."
Greencastle-Antrim 65, Southern Fulton 46
Jordan Clingerman 6-11 3-4 15, Brayden Litton 4-13 0-0 8, Alex Seburn 3-11 0-2 7, Nick Smartt 1-15 2-4 5, Connor Litton 2-3 0-0 4, Jake Ashkettle 1-6 1-3 3, Brady Golden 1-3 0-0 2, Noah Smartt 1-1 0-0 2, Austin Mellott 0-0 0-0 0, Dristin Mellott 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-63 6-13 46.
Joel Zola 9-15 4-5 25, Danny Stepler 6-7 3-6 15, Zach Faulkner 4-12 2-3 10, Brandon Puffenbarger 3-5 2-2 8, Austin Scott 2-4 0-0 4, Holden Baker 1-6 0-0 3, Eli Englehart 0-2 0-0 0, Jeremiah Barber 0-0 0-0 0, Matt Montedoro 0-0 0-0 0, Sammy Sprague 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-51 11-16 65.
Southern Fulton 10 7 18 11 - 46
Greencastle-Antrim 24 11 13 17 - 65
3-point shots - SF 2-24 (Seburn, Ni.Smartt); GA 4-18 (Zola 3, Baker). Shooting - SF 30.2%; GA 49.0%. Rebounds - SF 31 (Clingerman 9); GA 34 (Zola 11). Assists - SF 13 (Ni.Smartt 4); GA 17 (Faulkner 6). Steals - SF 6 (Ni.Smartt 2); GA 5 (Scott 2, Zola 2). Blocked shots - SF 1 (Ashkettle); GA 5 (Puffenbarger 3). Turnovers - SF 11; GA 13. Fouls -- SF 15; GA 13.
JV: Southern Fulton 43, Greencastle-Antrim 29. Connor Litton had 17 points to pace the Indians; Wayne Kline and Sammy Sprague scored six points each for the Blue Devils.
Next game: GA: Friday, at home vs. Gettysburg, 7:30 SF: Tuesday, at home vs. Southern Huntingdon, 7:30.