Greencastle places 5th with upset of Palmyra
See the top 10 plays from Greencastle's 46-41 win over Palmyra in the District 3 Class 5A Fifth Place Game. Matt Catrillo/GameTimePA.com
It might've been much different than Monday night's high-scoring, 160-point affair.
But for the second game in a row, Greencastle-Antrim's boys basketball team proved you can't count it out of anything.
Going up against No. 3-seeded Palmyra in the District 3 Class 5A fifth-place game, the Blue Devils won a slow-paced, grind-it-out type of game, 46-41.
"One of the guys said in the locker room that we can win any way, and I don't think we thought that," G-A coach Rick Lewis said. "We had that mantra that we gotta get to 60 (points), but we're learning to win in other ways. We've done such a better job in close basketball games, and the more you play, the better you get."
It was a seesaw affair through the first three quarters, before the Blue Devils slowly but surely started to pull away. Some clutch free-throw shooting, especially from Brandon Stuhler, allowed G-A to earn a double-digit lead with under two minutes to go.
Although the Cougars (20-5) cut it back to single figures with some hot shooting late, they simply ran out of time.
"We didn't play well offensively, but there was an awful lot of slow pace to that game, which was to their credit," Palmyra coach Pete Conrad said. "Any zone that is well-played is not going to yield an open look right off the bat. I don't think we always did a good job of enforcing our tempo and playing in attack mode."
Despite the loss, it isn't over for Palmyra yet. The Cougars will face the No. 2 seed out of District 11 in the first round of states, which begin Friday, March 10. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils advance to play the District 1 runner-up on the same date.
"I think with us being in the (Mid Penn) Colonial, nobody really respects us," G-A's Ben Freeman said. "That was kind of our goal in districts was to make a statement that we're one of the better teams in the Mid Penn and in the district, and we did that by placing fifth. After this little two-game win streak against two great teams, we're confident going into states."
There were several other keys to Greencastle's victory over Palmyra.
In addition to holding Cougar leading scorer Isaac Blatt to just nine points, Greencastle also had a fine effort on the boards despite being severely undersized.
"That was probably one of our best rebounding games all year," Blue Devil junior Ian Gelsinger said. "We need to get those rebounds to keep winning and keep playing. The rebounds really determine a game to me, and we're used to (being undersized) so that makes us play harder."
After the back-and-forth first half, Palmyra led by a point heading into the locker room, knowing it needed to make adjustments. Unfortunately for the Cougars, they didn't make those changes well enough.
"We had to stay down and guard, which we didn't do in the first half; we did a lot of jumping at guys and that's never going to work," Conrad said. "We wanted to attack the zone, and we never did a very good job of getting the ball to the right spots. But a ton of credit to them; that's a good team, and I was so impressed with their basketball IQ."
Once again, Greencastle had a nice scoring spread. Stuhler led the way with 15 points by going 11-for-12 from the line; Casey Hoover added 13 points, and Gembe scored nine.
For Palmyra, Braden Vernet led the way with 11 points.