HERSHEY - Two minutes into Wednesday night's game, Greencastle-Antrim held a 7-0 advantage over Gwynedd-Mercy, and things were looking good for the Blue Devils.
The Greencastle-Antrim girls basketball team took on Gwynedd-Mercy in the second round of the PIAA-AAA tournament Wednesday, and fell victim to the Monarchs' tough defense in a 39-22 loss.
But after that first two minutes, Greencastle went cold.
Colder than cold.
Greencastle scored a measly 15 points for the remaining 30 minutes and suffered a 39-22 defeat in the second round of the PIAA Class AAA girls basketball playoffs.
"Give them the credit; we did what we could," Greencastle coach Mike Rhine said. "We just didn't have enough. I don't have a problem losing to a team that's better. When you play someone that good, this is what happens."
The victory puts the Monarchs (25-4) into the state quarterfinals, where they'll face Archbishop Wood. Greencastle finishes 24-4.
"We didn't quite come out on them early, but we knew we had to pick it up," Gwynedd-Mercy coach Thomas Lonergan said. "We were able to get into our full-court press, and I think that really wore them out."
Defense was the name of the game for the Monarchs, who held Greencastle to a 17.9 shooting percentage. The Blue Devils managed only seven field goals despite taking 39 shots, and were only 3-for-8 from the foul line.
"They were all over us," G-A senior Meghan Hirneisen said. "They did a really great job. They got some turnovers off our offense because they were up top guarding us so well. We weren't really able to run our offense. They were just aggressive and scrappy; they were a really good team."
Gwynedd-Mercy did an exceptional job on Blue Devil leading scorer Jenay Faulkner. She scored a free throw to put Greencastle up 1-0, then never scored again. Faulkner did still have eight rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals.
The boards were also a big factor in G-A's defeat. By the end of the game, the Monarchs held a 37-20 advantage in rebounds.
"We just tried to go back to the fundamentals, and in the first half especially, we boxed out tremendously," said Erica DeCandido, who finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Monarchs. "We knew they were shooting a lot of threes - long shots make long rebounds, so we had to get out on them."
Despite the loss, Greencastle made it to the second round of states for just the second time in school history.
"It's amazing what we've accomplished this year," Hirneisen said. "Hannah (Crist) and Jenay both got their 1,000th points; we won the division again, and I don't think anyone thought we would get here."
NOTES: Gwynedd-Mercy did not score at all in the fourth quarter ... Hirneisen led the Blue Devils with 10 points, and Crist had 7 ... Brigit Coleman finished just short of a double-double for the Monarchs with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Gwynedd-Mercy 39, Greencastle-Antrim 22
Carly Heineman 2 0-0 4, Maggie Cameron 1 0-0 2, Erica DeCandido 7 4-5 19, Brigit Coleman 5 0-0 11, Danielle Senour 0 1-3 1, Mary Claire Casey 1 0-0 2, Megan Dougherty 0 0-0 0. Totals — 16 5-8 39.
Hannah Crist 2 1-2 7, Morgan Wagaman 2 0-0 4, Jenay Faulkner 0 1-4 1, Morgan Sweitzer 0 0-0 0, Meghan Hirneisen 3 1-2 10, Ashley True 0 0-0 0, Lydia Crist 0 0-0 0. Totals — 7 3-8 22.
Gwynedd _ 13 _ 9 _ 17 _ 0 _ — _ 39
Greencastle _ 11 _ 2 _ 6 _ 3 _ — _ 22
3-point goals — GM 2 (DeCandido, Coleman), GA 5 (Hirneisen 3, Crist 2).