SHIPPENSBURG - The game looked as if it was over after the first half.
Greencastle-Antrim's girls basketball team held a commanding 31-13 lead at halftime, but Shippensburg wasn't ready to give up quite yet. The Greyhounds outscored the Blue Devils 23-10 in the third quarter and proceeded to tie it at 43 with 5:36 remaining in the game.
Then Greencastle kicked it into high gear, forcing four turnovers in less than a minute and a half and scoring six points off those turnovers. The small spurt was enough to put the momentum squarely in Greencastle's favor, and the Blue Devils secured a 57-49 victory over their Mid Penn Colonial Division foe on Saturday night.
"Girls basketball is about pressure," Greencastle coach Mike Rhine said. "It was just the girls sensing, 'We better play. We screwed this up, and now we've gotta play.' They just find another gear."
The game was a battle of both point guards. Shippensburg (8-10, 5-7 MPC) was led by Alysia Clawson, who filled up the stat sheet with a team-leading three assists and six steals. She added four points and four rebounds.
"It's hard to ever come up with enough to say about Alysia Clawson," Shippensburg coach Amy Lyman said. "I play her in games almost to exhaustion because she is my point guard. As far as really having that poise and running the offense, she's the one I want out there."
Hannah Crist was the leader for Greencastle (8-9, 6-4 MPC). She scored a game-high 16 points and nine assists. She also led the Blue Devils with two blocks.
"She just knows basketball and has a relaxed style that we practice a lot, and it just worked out for us tonight," Rhine said. "When you have a point guard as good as ours, she makes up for other people's faults."
In the first half, the star of the show was Greencastle's Jane Herman. She finished the game with 14 points - all of which came in the first half. She had both of the Blue Devils' 3-pointers.
In the third quarter, Shippensburg's Brooke Porter was a big part of the comeback. She scored nine points in the third stanza alone and was 4-of-5 from the field during that span.
"She's such a big, strong player," Lyman said. "She's worked all year on recognizing what a presence she can be inside, and when she does that and takes full advantage of her size and strength, she does well."
But the fourth quarter was all Crist. Of the Blue Devils' 16 points in the final period, Crist scored 10 of them, including shooting 4-of-5 from the line.
"Foul shots were a big thing coming down the stretch, so I knew I had to step up and make those," Crist said. "We're usually tired in the fourth quarter, but we had to step it up this game."
Another standout for the Blue Devils was Katie Gelsinger, who brought down a game-high 13 boards - 10 of which came in the first half. She was just one point shy of a double-double.
"I knew what I had to do because those girls had heads on me," Gelsinger said. "They were so much bigger, but I knew if I did my part in boxing them out, I could secure the rebounds and do my part for the team."
Rhine said, "I can't say enough about Katie Gelsinger. She's agile and has as good of feet as anybody in our league. She's just wonderful, and we know if we get the ball to her, good things are going to happen."
With the victory, the Blue Devils are one step closer to their ultimate goal - the playoffs. But they know there's still a long road ahead of them.
"It's coming close now," Crist said. "We're going to have to win every game, so winning this game and knowing that they were ahead of us is going to help our confidence."
Lizi Arbogast can be reached at 262-4788 or email@example.com.
Greencastle 57, Shippensburg 49
Ashlynn Schaeffer 3 2-2 8, Hannah Crist 6 4-5 16, Chloe Hoover 3 2-2 8, Jane Herman 6 0-0 14, Katie Gelsinger 2 5-6 9, Meghan Hirneisen 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 13-15 57.
Drew Lovett 2 0-0 4, Alysia Clawson 2 0-0 4, Shayla Keller 2 0-2 6, Brooke Porter 4 1-2 9, Alicia Johnson 5 0-1 10, Denice Lovett 0 1-2 1, Sarah Lyman 2 2-2 6, Jasmine Chambers 0 0-0 0, Nicole Baker 2 3-4 9. Totals 19 7-13 49.
Greencastle 11 20 10 16 - 57
Shippensburg 9 4 23 13 - 49
3-point shots - GA 2 (Herman 2); Ship 4 (Keller, Baker 2). Shooting - GA 21-52 (40.4%); Ship 19-54 (35.2%). Rebounds - GA 29 (Gelsinger 13); Ship 25 (Porter 9). Assists - GA 12 (Crist 9); Ship 10 (Clawson 3). Steals - GA 13 (Herman 4); Ship 10 (Clawson 6). Turnovers - GA 19; Ship 17. Blocked shots - GA 4 (Crist 2); Ship 3 (Clawson 2).
Next game: GA: Tuesday, at James Buchanan, 7:30 ... Ship: Wednesday, at home vs. Dover, 7:30.