New Oxford handles Shippensburg to reach Gettysburg's title game
In the first three years that Sean Bair brought his New Oxford boys' basketball team to Gettysburg for the GWABC Tip-Off Tournament, the Colonials lost both games.
Bair, a 2008 graduate of Gettysburg High, was 0-6 in his old home gym.
But the team reversed that trend Friday night, as the Colonials defeated Shippensburg, 58-51, in opening round action. New Oxford (1-0) will face Lancaster Mennonite in the championship tilt at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Blazers earned their spot by defeating Gettysburg, 62-42.
"They're a little more athletic and a little more aggressive than we are," Bair said of Lancaster Mennonite. "They play fast, but they also play organized. They take good shots and they make them. They're an impressive team."
The Colonials trailed early against the Greyhounds, but took the lead for good on John Wessel's 3-pointer with 1:38 to play in the half. That shot jump-started a 20-6 spurt that spanned the quarter break, and New Oxford took a 31-19 lead into halftime.
Ship (0-1) started well in the second half, holding New Oxford off the board for the first 3 1/2 minutes of the frame and trimming the deficit to 31-24. But the Colonials responded with a strong finish to the stanza and led 41-28 after three quarters.
The lead grew to 46-28 before the Hounds put together an 18-5 run that cut the lead to 51-46 with 1:50 to go.
"We talked at halftime about playing one possession at a time and we did that for awhile and cut the lead," Ship coach Ray Staver said. "But then we started playing too frenetic and it got away from us. We were playing like we were down 15 with three minutes left in the game and it was still in the third quarter."
The Colonials hoisted up 29 3-point attempts, making eight of them and the 29 shots from beyond the arc represented 52 percent of the team's shot attempts, something that Bair encourages his team to do.
"(Houston Rockets' general manager) Daryl Morey figured things out before a lot of other people did and many NBA and college teams are playing for 3-point attempts or layups," he said. "We don't like mid-range jumpers because the percentage that you make of them isn't much higher than a 3-pointer."
Jordin Brown, who paced New Oxford with 15 points, drained a corner 3-pointer with 1:18 to play that pushed the edge to 54-46.
"We wanted to stay calm and get good shots and we did that late in the game," Brown said. "The clock was on our side, and we had to use it."
In the nightcap, Lancaster Mennonite blazed to a 15-2 advantage five minutes into the contest. Gettysburg later cut the lead to 17-10, but the Blazers led 24-10 after the first quarter and never looked back.
Lancaster Mennonite (1-0) held a 37-17 lead at intermission before the teams played an even second half to reach the final margin.
Blazers big man Javan Terry was a load inside for the Warriors to handle all night and he posted 21 points and 11 rebounds.
For Gettysburg, (0-1) David Buxton connected on a trio of 3-pointers and paced the Warriors with 15 points.
The Warriors, who have a brand new starting lineup this season, got no closer than 17 in the second half.
"I liked that we stayed together, that we didn't quit and that we stayed unselfish tonight," Gettysburg coach Jeff Bair said. "We've got a very inexperienced team, so we've got a lot of room to improve."