GREENCASTLE >> When the Greencastle-Antrim girls basketball team is firing on all cylinders, there's not much anyone can do.
Unfortunately for East Pennsboro, Wednesday night was one of those nights.
The Blue Devils led from start to finish, shot over 50 percent from the 3-point line and put four players in double figures in a 68-55 win over the Panthers in the District 3 Class AAA first round.
Greencastle (21-3) will face Lancaster Catholic (21-3) at East Pennsboro on Saturday at 1:30 in the quarterfinals. The Crusaders beat the Blue Devils 59-52 in the quarterfinals last year.
"When we work together like we did tonight, we're unstoppable," Greencastle's Katie Gelsinger said. "We've been playing together a long time, and we just have a feel for where everyone is going to be."
After taking a 14-8 lead into the second quarter, the Blue Devils started to pull away. The Panthers went on a 4-0 run early in the quarter to cut the score to 17-14, but Hannah Crist found Jane Herman for back-to-back 3-pointers to put Greencastle back up by nine. After a pair of East Penn scores, Herman hit another three to cap off nine straight points for the Blue Devils. She finished with 12 points – all in the first half.
The Panthers kept battling and got to within 28-22 late in the first half, but Shelby Stouffer – who was solid while Meghan Hirneisen sat out with foul trouble – made a layup, and Crist capped off the half with a 3-pointer to put the Blue Devils up 33-22.
East Pennsboro coach Robert Kelly said, "That was a key moment of the game. We just cut their lead down, but that 5-0 spurt really switched the momentum. They're a very good 3-point shooting team, and I don't think we did enough in the first half to contest those threes."
And the Blue Devils stayed hot in the second half – Jenay Faulkner scored 16 of her 19 points after halftime, including five 3-pointers. Greencastle finished 11-for-21 from beyond the arc and was 25 of 53 from the field (47%).
"Every coach that plays here will tell you that they don't like this court," Greencastle coach Mike Rhine said, "but it works for us. We love it here."
Crist also had a standout game. She flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
Rhine said, "It's so unfair what we ask her to do. We tell her to guard from baseline to baseline, handle the ball and also score 15 points. And on top of that, don't think about a break. But she seems to love it, and she really sets the pace for our offense."
"We did some new things on offense tonight that we'd practiced," Crist said, "We did a good job of working the ball and finding the open holes. We wanted to work on handling defensive pressure, because we know we're going to see it the rest of the way."
And don't forget about Gelsinger. The senior capped off her final home game with 17 points and 18 rebounds. The Blue Devils haven't lost at home since she was a sophomore.
"I think it's just the energy we have here," Gelsinger said, "We get pumped up and don't want to lose at home. It's our house. I love getting a win like this in my last home game."
NOTES >> Greencastle is looking forward to its rematch with Lancaster Catholic ... Rhine said that it's the one game in the past two years that he felt like the Blue Devils had similar talent as the other team, but just couldn't pull it out ... Tayler Fries led East Pennsboro with 19 points, and Amber Grob added 18 ... The Panthers scored 22 points in the fourth quarter and got as close as 10.
EAST PENNSBORO (55)
Tayler Fries 6-16 6-6 19, Amber Grob 6-13 5-8 18, Maddie Ernst 3-7 0-2 6, Dani Kreiger 2-8 0-0 4, Cailey Joyce 1-5 0-0 2, Jordan Rolko 2-5 0-0 6, Olivia Embleton 0-7 0-0 0.
Totals — 20-61 11-14 55.
Jenay Faulkner 7-14 0-0 19, Katie Gelsinger 7-13 3-4 17, Hannah Crist 5-15 3-4 16, Jane Herman 4-7 1-1 12, Meghan Hirneisen 1-3 0-0 2, Shelby Stouffer 1-1 0-0 2, Hannah Zimmerman 0 0-0 0.
Totals — 25-53 7-9 68.
3-point goals — EP 4-14 (Rolko 2, Fries, Grob), GA 11-21 (Faulkner 5, Crist 3, Herman 3).