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Greencastle girls set up big division clash

MERCERSBURG - When the Greencastle-Antrim and James Buchanan girls basketball teams walked into the JB gym Tuesday night, both had winning on their minds.

But for two very different reasons.

Greencastle was focused on the postseason, with eyes on the Mid Penn Colonial Division title, while James Buchanan simply hoped to keep its postseason hopes alive.

But the Blue Devils completed a three-game season sweep of James Buchanan, with a 65-28 victory, increasing their chances at postseason success, all the while dimming the Rockets' hopes for a playoff berth.

"We were really focusing on this game because we knew that if we didn't win this game, we didn't have any chance of getting the division title against Boiling Springs on Friday, no matter how we played," Greencastle's Meghan Hirneisen said.

The Blue Devils  (14-1, 7-1 MPC) host the Colonial Division-leading Bubblers (16-1, 8-0 MPC) on Friday (weather permitting), with hopes of gaining a tie in the division with a win.

With seven games remaining in the regular season, James Buchanan sits at 19th in District 3 Class AAA rankings, and third in the MPC, in which G-A and Boiling Springs are the only teams with a division record over .500. The Rockets (7-8, 4-4 MPC) don't have much room for losses in the remaining games of the season.

Despite outscoring James Buchanan 25-16 in the first half, Greencastle's shooters struggled in the first two frames, shooting just 25 percent from the floor.

"We just didn't get that energy in the beginning. I think some of the girls were tired from last night (a win over Delone)," Greencastle coach Mike Rhine said. "It's not an excuse, it's just one of those things. We got it back in the third quarter."

Greencastle went on a 14-point run in the third, to take a confident 52-26 lead before the final frame.

The Blue Devils made up for their shooting struggles by limiting the Rockets' offense almost completely.

James Buchanan's Charity Miller was her team's only scorer in the first quarter, scoring six points, and finished the half with 12 of the Rockets' 16 points.

"We expect that of her because if she's not scoring, it's a really bad day," James Buchanan coach Jen Lauthers said. "But we need more than three people to consistently score points."

Miller did not score the remainder of the game, shifting the offensive work to Tristen Amsley, who scored seven points in the second half.

The Rockets shot 17 percent in the second half, and struggled to come up second-chance shots.

Greencastle ended the night with 24 defensive rebounds and 39 total boards.

"When we have possession, we need to take care of that," Lauthers said. "We just didn't do that and, boom, it's a 20-point game."

The Blue Devils put three scorers in double-figures, led by Jenay Faulkner with 18 points. She also had nine boards, three blocks and three steals.

Hannah Crist scored 15 points, and Hirneisen added 15 with seven rebounds and three steals.   

Greencastle 65, James Buchanan 28

Greencastle (65)

Hannah Crist 5 3-4 15, Morgan Wagaman 4 1-2 9, Jenay Faulkner 5 4-6 18, Madison Sweitzer 0 1-3 1, Meghan Hirneisen 4 5-7 14, Ashley True 2 0-0 5, Lydia Crist 0 0-0 0, Hannah Haley 0 0-0 0, Madi Sherrill 0 0-0 0, Heidi Schanzenbacker 0 0-0 0. Totals — 21 15-24 65.

James Buchanan (28)

Charity Miller 5 0-0 12, Madison Martin 0 0-0 0, Cassidy Martin 0 1-4 1, Tristen Amsley 2 0-0 4, Rachel Martin 3 3-4 7, Aspen Anderson 1 0-0 2, Abby Mackling 0 0-0 0, Renee Sollenberger 1 0-0 2, Nina Shatzer 0 0-0 0. Totals — 9 4-8 28.

Greencastle _ 15 _ 10 _ 27 _ 13 _ — _ 65

J.Buchanan _ 6 _ 10 _ 10 _ 2 _ — _ 28

3-point goals — GA 8 (Faulkner 4, Crist 2, Sweitzer, Hirneisen), JB 2 (Miller 2).

JV score — James Buchanan 39, Greencastle 34.