BOILING SPRINGS >> The Gettysburg boys' basketball team is finally smelling chocolate. For the first time in program history, the Warriors are going to Hershey.
As the final minute ticked off the clock of Gettysburg's 66-53 win against Boiling Springs on Tuesday night, the Warriors' student section and fans started to chant, "We smell chocolate!" The fans who'd invaded Bubblers territory got louder as the buzzer sounded on the District 3 Class AAA first-round game, and the Warriors celebrated with their coaches and teammates.
It was the first non play-in district tournament win for Gettysburg since 1993, and it earned the Warriors their first trip to Hershey's Giant Center.
"It's a good win for the program, but I think we have to keep it in perspective," Gettysburg head coach Jeff Bair said. "That was a different locker room than we're used to for a district game. Usually, it's me trying to convince them that we have a shot. Tonight, we knew we had a shot, we just had to play our game."
Tuesday's district game was nearly a mirror image of the game three weeks ago between these two former Mid-Penn rivals during the YAIAA/Mid-Penn Showcase. In both games, the Warriors' hot-shooting offense gave them a big lead, and once again, the Warriors had to hold off a late rally.
Tuesday, No. 11 Gettysburg led by as many as 24 points in the third quarter before No. 6 Boiling Springs cut it down to five with just four minutes to go in regulation.
"They know they have five guys who can handle the ball and they spread you out so well," said Boiling Springs head coach Pat Dieter, who was back coaching on the sidelines after missing several games with health concerns. "As soon as they got a lead, I knew we were in trouble."
In the first quarter, two Max Lampe 3-pointers and four Marquise Camel steals helped Gettysburg take a 19-9 lead.
"Pat (Dieter) and I have been friends for a long time, and I'm sure he had things that he thought would be his advantage, and I had things that I thought would be our advantage," Bair said. "And a couple of mine came through in the first quarter."
Tyler Lampe capped a 20-2 Gettysburg run in the second quarter with a vicious dunk off a Bubblers' turnover. Camel, who finished with six steals, and the active Warriors defense forced 10 turnovers in the first half. The offense shot 14-of-23, giving Gettysburg a 36-19 cushion at the half.
"That was a big-time play," Camel said of Lampe's dunk. "That got the crowd hyped up."
Camel scored the first seven points of the second half for Gettysburg, pushing the lead to 45-21 midway through the third quarter. But that's when Boiling Springs made its stand.
"At halftime, we talked a lot about the name on the front of their jerseys and how they aren't the first ones to wear it," Dieter said. "I told them that there were people here tonight who have been coming for 30 years and they weren't used to seeing us quit. I told them you go down the way that you're supposed to go down if you go down, or you go out and win. They showed a lot of heart and character coming back."
The Bubblers' 26-9 run stretched into the fourth quarter and cut the lead to 54-49. When the Bubblers defense couldn't get a turnover in the fourth quarter, Dieter was content to foul Gettysburg and take advantage of the Warriors' poor free-throw shooting.
"I was getting a little concerned," Bair said of letting the lead dwindle to five. "But, I kept saying to our bench that we just needed one stop."
Gettysburg went 0-for-1 from the field in the fourth quarter, but shot 18-of-28 from the line down the stretch, including eight in a row to pull away after Boiling Springs had cut the lead to five.
"We haven't been there, so it was a good win and a great accomplishment," Camel said. "We wanted to get there and we wanted to get to states. Last year (in districts) was a tough loss to Berks Catholic, so we just wanted to get back and win."
The Warriors advance to the quarterfinals, where they'll take on third-seeded Manheim Central — a 73-63 winner against no. 14 Milton Hershey — at 5 p.m. Friday at Giant Center. And yes, they can smell the chocolate from Adams County.
"I'm excited to take this group as far as they want to go," Bair said. "You can look at our record, but we're a different team since Christmas. We've righted the ship, we're playing our game, and I think we'll be a tough out."
Marquise Camel 6 5-7 17, Max Lampe 5 3-6 16, Colin Bortner 1 9-10 11, T. Lampe 3 2-5 8, Turner 1 5-7 7, C. Weikert 2 1-2 5, Ringler 1 0-0 2, Biggins 0 0-2 0, B. Weikert 0 0-0 0, Dillard 0 0-0 0
Totals — 19 25-39 66
Boiling springs (53)
Garret McHenry 8 2-2 19, Matthew Barber 5 4-4 14, Breon 4 0-0 8, Dockens 3 0-1 8, Thompson 1 0-0 2, Brymesser 1 0-0 3, Goshom 0 0-0 0, Malone 0 0-0 0, Wingard 0 0-0 0, Edwards 0 0-0 0
Totals — 22 6-7 53
3-point goals — GB 3 (M. Lampe 3), BoS 4 (Dockens 2, McHenry, Brymesser)