With the season winding down, everyone in Franklin County started watching the District 3 Class 5A rankings like a hawk.
It seemed more and more likely that a rematch might just happen, and, as many had hoped, it did.
No. 8 Greencastle-Antrim (15-8) hosts No. 9 Shippensburg (16-5) on Monday for a much-anticipated boys basketball rematch in the first round of the postseason.
"We've put ourselves in a position to play in front of a lot of people, and our kids are comfortable in these environments and these games," G-A coach Rick Lewis said.
This environment is going to be exceptionally intense, as 350 pre-sale tickets were sold out in less than two days. Approximately 150 tickets will be available when doors open at 6 p.m. for the tipoff at 7, according to Greencastle athletic director Vicki Ritchey.
"We're trying to downplay (the hype) a little bit," Ship coach Ray Staver said. "The nice thing is it's not a lose and you're done situation, so that's helpful. But we're trying to focus on what we feel we have to do to win and trying to be confident."
With 10 teams advancing to PIAA from 5A, the winner automatically earns a bid to the state tournament, while the loser has a chance to work its way back.
"I've always just thought as a high school coach," Lewis said, "the mark of a good season is if you make the state tournament. That's a really neat thing."
It certainly should be a marquee matchup. In the teams' first meeting, Greencastle smoked the Greyhounds to the tune of 72-51, but the second time around, Ship pulled out a nail-biting victory, 59-56.
The Blue Devils have a well-rounded team with four players averaging in double figures. Ian Gelsinger has been hot lately, putting up double-digit performances in four of the last six.
"Individually, Gelsinger has been playing really well right now," Staver said. "As a team, their pressure defense is always an issue, and you have to be prepared for that. We need to minimize the runs they have."
Meanwhile, Greencastle will focus on containing Ship leading scorers Carter Van Scyoc (16.4 points per game) and Cody Gustafson (16.1), who have carried the team offensively.