HERSHEY >> Conrad Weiser came into Saturday's District 3 Class AAA girls basketball championship as the team with a reputation for bombing in 3-pointers.
But Greencastle-Antrim beat the Scouts at their own game in the first half – going 7-for-13 from behind the arc – and carried that advantage to a 57-52 victory at Giant Center for the Blue Devils' first girls basketball district title.
"We knew the three-ball would be a big part of the game," G-A coach Mike Rhine said. "They spread you out and shoot them a lot ... but so do we."
The Blue Devils (24-3) will open play in the PIAA State Tournament next Saturday against District 12's fourth-place team. Conrad Weiser (20-8) will face the District 4 runner-up.
Jenay Faulkner hit four 3-pointers on her way to 20 points, including 13 in the first half when Greencastle built a lead as big as 16 points at 31-15. But she wasn't alone – Hannah Crist and Jane Herman also each had a pair of threes in the first half.
Herman said, "It was definitely nice having played here in a game already. I thought we came out confident we'd shoot well, but not too confident."
"Because we played here Wednesday, we were joking that this was our court now," forward Meghan Hirneisen said. "We were not as awestruck playing in a big arena as we might have been."
The Blue Devils used good ball movement to get their shooters open.
Conrad Weiser coach Mark Owens said, "The way they ran their offense was just beautiful, the way they made that one extra pass to get somebody open. I was watching it with two minds – it was fun to watch, but I realized they were doing it to us."
But the Scouts were not done. Trailing 40-22 – the largest lead of the game – the Scouts scored 15 of the final 19 points of the third quarter and trailed just 44-37. A layup to open the fourth by Anouk Ooms brought them within just five points.
"We switched off on the their high ball screens, and we made an effort to prevent them from shooting threes," Owens said. "Once we did that, it helped our offense get going. It's tough to concentrate on offense when you've just given up a 3-pointer."
Herman said, "In the second half, they put more pressure on the ball. We had some turnovers, but we just needed to stay calm."
Having surrendered the last nine points, Greencastle settled down. Faulkner found a wide-open Hirneisen underneath for a layup to snap the streak, then Faulkner made two free throws and Herman was 1-for-2 as G-A got into the bonus. Another pair of foul shots by Hirneisen jumped the lead back up to 51-39 and that proved to be enough to weather the storm.
"My legs were shaking on those," Hirneisen admitted. "I've been in that situation a couple of times before and I usually don't do as well as I did today."
Rhine said, "When you're playing like they were in total desperation mode for a while, it takes a lot of energy. We took a couple of timeouts and the kids responded well to them."
The Scouts out-scored the Devils 30-17 after G-A took its largest lead, primarily by driving to the basket instead of shooting threes as they prefer to do. Greencastle played some man and some 3-2 zone trying to keep them at bay.
"We kept switching up on them," Rhine said. "The problem was they like to spread you out so they can set up their threes, but if you go out to cover that, then they can drive right up the middle."
Conrad Weiser kept after it and climbed back in it, thanks to nine points in the final period for TeCari Telford, to get to within 54-52 with 17 seconds left. But Katie Gelsinger dropped in a pair of foul shots with 12.6 seconds remaining to preserve the victory.
NOTES >> Crist scored 12 points, Herman had 11, Gelsinger nine and Hirneisen five for Greencastle ... Hannah Racis scored 16 and Telford 11 for Weiser ... For the game, the Devils shot 40.5 percent from the field, including 42.1 on 3-pointers (they were 1-for-6 in the second half) ... The Scouts shot 3.3 percent (27.8 from 3-point range).
CONRAD WEISER (52)
Chelsea Erkes 1-7 0-0 2, Kennedy Lutz 0-1 0-0 0, Gwyneth Price 3-8 0-0 8, Hannah Racis 4-12 8-9 16, TeCari Telford 3-9 4-4 11, Kiersten Ingram 2-3 0-0 5, Anouk Ooms 4-8 1-2 10.
Totals — 16-48 13-15 52.
Jenay Faulkner 7-12 2-3 20, Hannah Crist 3-9 4-8 12, Katie Gelsinger 3-8 3-4 9, Meghan Hirneisen 1-5 3-4 5, Jane Herman 3-8 3-4 11, Shelby Stouffer 0 0-0 0, Hannah Zimmerman 0 0-0 0.
Totals — 17-42 15-23 57.
3-point goals — CW 5-18 (Price 2, Telford, Ingram, Ooms), GA 8-19 (Faulkner 4, Crist 2, Herman 2).