MERCERSBURG -- When Bryan Gembe stepped up to the free-throw line with 1:46 left to play and the score tied at 58, the Greencastle-Antrim boys basketball team knew what was coming.
"We never lose to James Buchanan," Gembe said.
Gembe split a pair of free throws to give Greencastle a one-point lead, and that spring-boarded seven consecutive foul shots in the final two minutes of the game to seal a 65-58 decision for the Blue Devils over Mid Penn Colonial rival James Buchanan on the road.
James Buchanan (3-1, 1-1 MPC) controlled the first half thanks to a 13-point performance in the first two frames by Gage Piper, giving the Rockets a 33-27 lead at the break. But turnovers and adjustments by the Blue Devils (2-2, 1-1 MPC) to guard the Rockets' top scorer changed the tone in the second half.
"We need to take care of the ball," Piper said. "We went from one turnover in the first quarter, to four in the second and then we had a total of 13 in the second half. We need to take care of the ball."
"What I was upset was we scored plenty of points (in the first half)," Greencastle coach Gary Martin said. "It wasn't our offense, it was giving them open looks and threes and we really wanted to make sure we came out and we guarded and challenged them in the second half."
Piper was limited to just six points in the second half, ending the game with team-high 19, including four 3-pointers, three taken in the first half. Ryan Hege tallied 17 points for James Buchanan, while Cody Tacker had 13.
"You have to finish games," James Buchanan coach Larry Strawoet said. "You can't be satisfied with one half or three quarters, you have to finish games. You have to play 32 minutes, and that was the difference, they played 32 minutes and we didn't."
Four of five scorers for Greencastle ended the night in double figures, led by Gembe's 21, which included four 3-pointers and a 5-for-6 effort at the foul line. Casey Hoover followed with 15 points, and Sam Sprague had 13.
But Brandon Stuhler, who had 11 points, was the anchor that pulled Greencastle away in the final minute, hitting 4 of 6 consecutive free throw opportunities to end the game.
But Stuhler's night almost ended late in the final quarter after nearly fouling out.
"It was a lot of anger and sadness," Stuhler said. "It was a lot of pressure with that loud student section that they had, and I usually feel good about my free throw shooting, but tonight I just didn't shoot that well."
Martin said Stuhler promised to make 25 free throws in practice Wednesday.
"I know he'll make every one," Martin said. "Brandon brings another dimension to our team. He's a winner."
NOTES: Spencer Meyers returned to the Blue Devil lineup Tuesday after breaking his arm in two places during week 9 of the football season.
Greencastle-Antrim 65, James Buchanan58
Brandon Stuhler 3 4-6 11, Sam Sprague 4 5-8 13, Ian Gelsinger 2 1-1 5, Casey Hoover 5 3-4 15, Bryan Gembe 6 5-6 21, Matt Lutz 0 0-0 0, Spencer Meyers 0 0-0 0, Bryson Robinson 0 0-0 0, Camron Hileman 0 0-0 0, Ben Freeman 0 0-0 0. Totals — 20 18-25 65.
James Buchanan (58)
Gage Piper 7 1-2 19, Zach Vosburg 1 4-5 6, Toby Sowers 0 0-0 0, Cody Tacker 5 1-1 13, Ryan Hege 6 5-8 17, Hunter Sowers 1 1-2 3, Jared Pine 0 0-0 0, Kyle Buchanan 0 0-0 0. Totals — 20 12-18 58.
Greencastle _ 15 _ 12 _ 17 _ 21 _ — _ 65
J.Buchanan _ 19 _ 14 _ 16 _ 9 _ — _ 58
3-point goals — GA 7 (Gembe 4, Hoover 2, Stuhler), JB 6 (Piper 4, T.Sowers 2).