The Greyhounds' boys basketball squad is off to a great start with a 4-2 overall record and a 3-1 record in the Mid Penn Colonial Division. But tonight, the Hounds face off against the defending divisional champs in the Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils.
"It's a great opportunity for our kids," Shippensburg coach Ray Staver said. "To be 3-1 in the league, we're right in the hunt, which is where we wanted to be. They're a good, veteran team, so it's going to be a real challenge for us on our court."
Greencastle is certainly no slouch this year. The Blue Devils are also 4-2 overall, 2-1 in the division. The only divisional loss for either team came at the hands of undefeated Gettysburg.
Although Ship struggled last year, going just 5-17 on the season, and Greencastle easily won both of its contests against the Hounds, Blue Devil coach Gary Martin certainly isn't overlooking this game.
"We really expect them to come ready to play," Martin said. "I know coach Staver is back, and I know the team is playing pretty good basketball right now. We're going to have to be prepared."
Shippensburg has had four consecutive losses to the Blue Devils, but this year, it has a lot of threats on the court.
The biggest surprise for the Hounds has been senior forward Reid Singhas. Although he played well for Ship during the spring and summer, Staver wasn't expecting his numbers after seeing him in preseason.
"He struggled a little bit in the preseason, but he's really been tough in the games," Staver said. "He's averaging a double-double, so he really does a lot for us."
Forward Tyrell Kater also had a strong game against Waynesboro on Wednesday after returning from a two-game absence. Although Kater got in foul trouble and played only 10 minutes of the game, he still managed to put up nine points.
On the flip side, the Blue Devils have the likes of Zach Faulkner and Joel Zola, who are both constant threats. Zola is averaging 17.6 points per game and has put up more than 20 in two separate games, while Faulker has 16.6 ppg and has not scored fewer than 10.
In addition to that dynamic duo, senior Danny Stepler has also made an impact for Greencastle recently.
"I've been talking about how defensively, Stepler's playing the baseline very well in the 1-3-1," Martin said. "Offensively, he's making good passes, reading defense, hitting scorers and scoring on his own. He's doing very well for us right now."
Defense is one of the Blue Devils' biggest strengths, and that's no secret to Staver.
"We gotta handle their defense," he said. "Greencastle will play 42 feet, and they're long. We have to be smart handling the ball and attacking the defense."
Shippensburg also has a streak to protect. The Greyhounds are currently on a three-game winning span - their longest since the 2009-10 season.
Lizi Arbogast can be reached at 262-4788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blue Devils-Hounds at a glance
Game data: Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils at Shippensburg Greyhounds ... Tonight, 7:30, at Shippensburg Area Senior High School ... Mid Penn Colonial Division boys basketball game.
Teams: Greencastle (4-2, 2-1 MPC) won its last game against Boiling Springs, 61-57, on Wednesday ... Ship (4-2, 3-1 MPC) just beat Waynesboro, 63-55, on Wednesday.
Media: The game will be livestreamed on www.GameTimePA.com or www.publicopinion.com ... Follow @EdGotwalsPO for live tweets Webcasts are available on www.midpennbroadcasting.com, www.fmtrustonline.com and www.sesportsnet.com.
P.O. pick: Greencastle by 6.