Game of the Week: Greencastle at Shippensburg boys
It's already been an interesting week in Mid Penn Colonial Division boys basketball, and it's about to get much more interesting.
On Friday, Greencastle-Antrim - which was voted as the division favorites in the preseason coaches poll - travels to take on Shippensburg, the two-time defending division champ.
It's expected to be a clash for the ages.
"I think it's going to be difficult to get through this league without any losses," Shippensburg coach Ray Staver said. "There's a good deal of balance, and there's some pretty good clubs. Friday night, we need to defend our home floor."
The Greyhounds (7-2, 3-1 MPC) are coming off their first division loss of the season, a 60-56 defeat at the hands of Waynesboro, and Greencastle (6-3, 4-0 MPC) is now the only team unblemished in the division.
Shippensburg boasts a pair of extremely strong players in Carter Van Scyoc and Cody Gustafson. Van Scyoc leads the way with an average of 15.8 points per game, and Gustafson is right behind with 15.3. Gustafson's season low is 10 points.
But Greencastle might have depth in its favor. Leading scoring Casey Hoover averages 14.6 ppg, with Brandon Stuhler (11.6), Ian Gelsinger (9.8) and Ben Freeman (6.7) not far behind.
"We have six kids right now averaging over five points per game, so that's good to see," Greencastle coach Rick Lewis said. "They're sharing the ball well. If we can continue to do that and shoot well, plus play a physical game without fouling, I think we should be OK."
For the Greyhounds, one of their biggest focuses will be execution. In Ship's loss to Waynesboro, the Hounds held the lead late in the game but couldn't keep their focus to finish off the Indians.
"I think we have to work a little harder in practice right now," Staver said after Tuesday's game. "We need to bring a better work ethic to practice. At times tonight, we just broke down, and we break down at times in practice, too. Sometimes that catches up to you in games."
With Shippensburg looming Friday, Greencastle is looking at a tough slate of upcoming games. In addition to Friday's showdown, G-A travels Saturday to Northeastern, which is currently ranked first in the District 3 Class 5A power rankings. Then it hosts Waynesboro for another key Colonial Division game.
"From a fan standpoint, it's awesome, but it's a challenge," Lewis said. "We're going to take it on game at a time. This is the fun part of the year, and fortunately, we have put ourselves in a position where these games really matter."
Blue Devils-Greyhounds at a glance
Game data: Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils at Shippensburg Greyhounds boys basketball ... Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Shippensburg ... Mid Penn Colonial Division game.
Media: Follow @liziarbogast on Twitter for updates.
Teams: G-A is 6-3 (4-0 MPC) and is the only undefeated team left in the division ... Ship (7-2, 3-1 MPC) is coming off its first loss after a 7-game win streak.
Series: This is the teams' first meeting this season.
P.O. pick: G-A by three. The Blue Devils have depth on their side.