District 3 hoops: 3 Franklin teams play Wed.
The Shippensburg and Greencastle-Antrim boys basketball teams earned nice wins last Friday in the play-in round of the District 3 Class AAAA Tournament.
In the first round Wednesday, they get to face the No. 1 (Central York) and No. 2 (Reading) seeded teams, respectively. On the road.
The Greencastle girls - the area's other team in action in first-round play Wednesday - has the shoe on the other foot. The Blue Devils, the defending Class AAA champion and No. 5 seed, will host No. 12 Fleetwood at 7 p.m.
Here's a look at the matchups:
GIRLS, Greencastle (20-2) vs. Fleetwood (15-7): The Blue Devils had lost only one game before getting trounced 70-36 last week by two-time defending state champion Cumberland Valley.
That game is well into the rear view mirror. Since then, Greencastle has been able to get in some valuable practice time, which is just what the coach ordered.
"It feels good to be able to practice," said G-A coach Mike Rhine, who had lamented a string of games at the end of the regular season. "We went back to some of the fundamental stuff we worked on the first day of practice. We worked on the little things that got us to where we are. We worked on help defense, and we had the players play in different positions, because you never know how things will turn out."
What you do know is that Jenay Faulkner (20.5 points per game) and Hannah Crist (16.8) will get their points. And Meghan Hieneisen (8.5) is also a threat.
"We have three very experienced players and the rest have almost no varsity experience," Rhine said. "But the girls are excited to play."
The Tigers are led by Lauren Lister, a 5-foot-7 guard who averages 15.3 ppg, and freshman center Keeley Suzenski (11.0 ppg).
Rhine said, "Lister is a shooting guard who likes to flash to the basket. They've got a couple of inside players who play bigger than they are and are physical. They set a lot of ball screens."
G-A's Madison Sweitzer may play some, but is still dealing with an ankle injury that has kept her out of four of the last six games.
BOYS, Shippensburg (17-7) at Central York (20-3): Greyhound coach Ray Staver was watching Saturday night when the Panthers were beaten by Spring Grove in the YAIAA championship game, 42-36, and his companion asked whether he'd rather be playing Central York coming off a championship or a stinging loss.
"I said I'd rather they win, but then I was thinking about it later, and maybe they have some cracks showing," Staver said. "I know when they lost to Carlisle they gave up 32 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. But they are pretty good."
The Panthers are not a tall team, but are well-balanced. Jared Wagner is their top defender and scorer, Nathan Markey is a sharpshooter and Tommy O'Neill, at 6-3, is their best inside player.
Staver said, "Wagner is a real gambler on defense. I saw one game on tape when he made eight steals - and most of them ended up as layups at the other end. He's strong, athletic and quick and he's as big a steals guys as you'll see in high school."
Central York plays a defense that makes plenty of switches, something Staver hopes he can ready his team for.
"Carlisle played its zone offense against them," he said. "I do think our length might give them trouble. There aren't that many teams in York County that have much length."
Staver also said Central's offense is similar to what they've seen twice with Greencastle, in that Greencastle is not tall, either, and essentially plays with five guards.
For the Hounds, Wade Mills has had only three games below double-figure scoring and averages 14.1. Teagan Staver has been in double figures in eight of his last 10 games (10.9 average) and Shuntan Hickman (10.1) and Carter Van Scyoc (9.2) are frequent contributors.
BOYS, Greencastle (15-7) at Reading (21-3): Yes, the Blue Devils will have their hands full against the Red Knights, who won the Berks County championship.
Reading has won 16 straight games after early season losses to Coatesville, Archbishop Wood and Clinton Christian. The real eye-opener came on Jan. 30, when it crushed a good McCaskey team, 103-51.
"They are super athletic and confident, and they're on their home court," Greencastle coach Gary Martin said. "They probably believe they can win a state championship. We're just going to have to try to match their intensity and confidence."
What Martin wants to avoid is a big deficit early.
"If we have a big, lopsided first quarter, it will be a long game," he said.
The Red Knights' star is Lonnie Walker IV, a 6-5 guard who averages 16.1 points per game. He gets plenty of help from Khary Mauras (14.8) and Damen Stern (11.3). All are guards, although the rest of the team has good height - "Their guards would be forwards for us," Martin quipped.
Reading is averaging 71.7 points per game and allows only 45.3. That's a pretty healthy margin.
Martin said, "I don't see any weaknesses. Hopefully, we'll be a little hotter than usual, and they'll be colder."
The Blue Devils have gotten consistent scoring from Casey Hover (16.3) and Bryan Gembe (10.0), while Brandon Stuhler and Ian Gelsinger have played well recently.