Shot denied: Greencastle-Antrim s Brandon Puffenbarger (55) blocks a shot attempted by Shippensburg s Tyrell Kater on Friday night. The Blue Devils won,
Shot denied: Greencastle-Antrim s Brandon Puffenbarger (55) blocks a shot attempted by Shippensburg s Tyrell Kater on Friday night. The Blue Devils won, 66-64, in overtime. (Public Opinion/Ryan Blackwell)
SHIPPENSBURG - In a back-and-forth, toss-up game like Greencastle-Antrim and Shippensburg played Friday night, you could find any number of factors that decided the game.

You could zero in on Joel Zola's 35 points for the Blue Devils or the Greyhounds making only 19 of 34 free throws, including 10 misses after halftime.

But it was G-A's defense, especially in overtime, that triumphed over everything else in its 66-64 Mid Penn Colonial Division boys basketball win over Ship.

The Hounds (4-3, 3-2 MPC) shot only 3-for-13 in the fourth quarter and did not score a field goal in overtime until the final six seconds. Depending on which coach you talked to, the reason was either G-A's improving man-to-man defense or the Hounds' failing to solve it.

"We wrote two things on the board in the locker room," Shippensburg coach Ray Staver said, "Effort, and execution. We asked them which one we did well and which one we didn't. And they knew it was execution that was lacking."

Greencastle (5-2, 3-1 MPC) typically plays a 1-3-1 zone, but the Hounds found ways to get inside and score against it. So the Devils switched to man in the second half and it was particularly tough down the stretch.

G-A coach Gary Martin said, "They were running their flex offense pretty well against our zone, so we had to go man. And our work in the man is getting better. We have to stay one step ahead of our opponents."

And then there was Zola, who put up a big "35" in the scoring column.


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He scored 11 of his team's 18 points in the first quarter, then went scoreless in the second. After Ship took its biggest lead of the night at 37-30 in the third, Zola found his range and banged in a trio of 3-pointers in the third to bring his team to within 44-42, then scored nine more points in the fourth, including a pair of pull-up jumpers that tied the game at 53-53 and 55-55, the latter with 32 seconds left.

"I was just feeling it tonight and my teammates were helping out by setting screens," Zola said.

To the basket: Shippensburg s Reid Singhas (22) looks to shoot a layup as Greencastle-Antrim s Joel Zola defends on Friday night. The Blue Devils won,
To the basket: Shippensburg s Reid Singhas (22) looks to shoot a layup as Greencastle-Antrim s Joel Zola defends on Friday night. The Blue Devils won, 66-64, in overtime. (Public Opinion/Ryan Blackwell)
"It was probably the best shooting night (12-for-21) I've ever had."

Staver said, "He missed one at the end of regulation, but other than the second quarter it seemed like he made everything else."

It was even more important because the Blue Devils' point guard, Zach Faulkner, fouled out with 2:58 left in regulation.

Martin said, "I thought we might be able to put them away in the fourth, but our emotions got to us a little. If they are calling ticky-tack fouls, you have to realize that and not do it. The more I told them to stop fouling, the more they did."

Late in the fourth, consecutive baskets by Britton Hastings and Mac Miller gave Shippensburg a 53-51 lead before Zola tied it. Two Miller foul shots put his team up again before Zola struck one more time.

In overtime, after Reid Singhas made one of two at the line, G-A's Danny Stepler drove inside for a three-point play and Greencastle never trailed again.

Staver said, "The one bad defensive possession we had was when we let Stepler weave through four of us to get the layup and then we fouled him. Then we took a not-so-good shot at the other end and fouled (Brandon) Puffenbarger when he got the rebound. He made both shots, so it was a five-point swing. And that's tough to overcome in overtime."

With just under 30 seconds left, Ship's Cordell Shannon made a twisting layup to bring his team within 62-59, but Zola made two free throws. A Miller trey with 0:06 left made it 64-62, but two more Zola foul shouts sealed the deal.

"I'm not disappointed in our effort, but the execution was not good at all," Staver said. "But we haven't in many games like this, so hopefully it's a learning experience."

Zola said, "We said we can play much better defense than we were. And we turned it on, got some turnovers and won the game."

Notes: Faulkner scored 11 points for the Devils, who made 12 of 13 at the foul line Puffenbarger had nine rebounds and four blocks, two of which came in OT For Ship, Miller totaled 18 points, Singhas had 11 of his 17 in the first half and Ty Kater scored 10

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Ed Gotwals can be reached at 262-4755 and egotwals@publicopinionnews.com.

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Greencastle 66

Shippensburg 64, OT

GREENCASTLE

Zach Faulkner 4-9 2-2 11, Danny Stepler 3-5 1-1 7, Brandon Puffenbarger 2-10 3-4 7, Joel Zola 12-21 6-6 35, Austin Scott 3-4 0-0 6, Holden Baker 0-4 0-0 0, Eli Englehart 0-1 0-0 0, Matt Montedoro 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-54 12-13 66.

SHIPPENSBURG

Britton Hastings 1-5 1-2 3, Mac Miller 5-15 6-8 18, Ty Kater 3-8 4-9 10, Reid Singhas 7-11 3-7 17, Bryce Hastings 1-2 1-2 4, Seth Frey 0 2-4 2, Tony Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Cordell Shannon 2-3 2-2 7, Spencer VanScyoc 0-0 0-0 0, Cline Bake 0-1 0-0 0, Austin Springer 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 20-46 19-34 64.

Greencastle 18 10 14 13 11 - 66

Shippensburg 14 16 14 11 9 - 64

3-point shots - GA 6-17 (Zola 5, Faulkner); Ship 5-9 (Miller 2, Bry.Hastings, Springer). Shooting - GA 44.4%; Ship 43.5%. Rebounds - GA 22 (Puffenbarger 9, Zola 6); Ship 25 (Miller 9, Singhas 8). Assists - Ship 13 (Bry.Hastings, Shannon 3). Steals - Ship 8 (Kater 5). Turnovers - GA 13; Ship 17. Blocked shots - GA 6 (Puffenbarger 4); Ship 2. Fouled out - Faulkner, Scott.

JV: Shippensburg 60, Greencastle 38. Emmit Geiger led Ship with 18 points; GA got 12 points from Cody .

Next game: G-A: Friday, in Richard Doub Tournament at Williamsport, Md. vs. Broadfording, 5 Ship: Thursday, hosting Hound Invitational vs. Annville-Cleona, 7:30.