Loss doesn't minimize Casey Hoover's career
No one likes to lose.
But losing is even harder when it means your season is over.
And a season-ending loss to end a magical career is downright heartbreaking.
That's what happened to Greencastle-Antrim's Casey Hoover on Friday night in the Blue Devils' 62-46 loss to Upper Merion in the first round of the PIAA Class 5A playoffs at Cheltenham H.S.
"Let me be clear that I'm only emotional and upset because I don't get to coach these five seniors again," G-A coach Rick Lewis said. "Those 13 (players) as a group, you don't get seasons like this very often in coaching. We have so many moments that we'll digest, but that's the reason I'm upset."
Lewis' biggest departure from this year's 18-10 season is Hoover, who had some pretty unbelievable accomplishments in Friday night's game.
Not only did he become Greencastle boys basketball's second leading scorer in history, he also finished off a career in which he started all 95 games of a four-year stint in a Blue Devil jersey.
"I was fortunate to stay healthy through all four years, and I had great teammates and great coaches," Hoover said. "Without them, I would've never been able to start all those games. I expect (this team) to be back better than ever next year, and be in the same spot that we were this year."
Teammate Bryan Gembe said, "Casey is the greatest leader on our team, and the greatest leader I've ever played with, especially mentally. Obviously he's a great scorer and a great player, too, so it'll be really different not having him next year."
Hoover finished his career with 1,313 points - just one more than Dameatric Scott, who graduated in 2008.
"(Casey) will go down as one of the best all-time players to come through Greeencastle," Lewis said. "It's important to understand Casey actually scored less this year than he did the last two years, but he did so much more than that. I can't tell you how much I've appreciated him."
Once again, Greencastle entered Friday's game as the underdog, and after the first half, it looked like the Blue Devils might pull off their third-straight upset.
"We expected that 2-3 zone out of them, and they play it well and smart," Upper Merion coach Jason Quenzer said. "They packed it in, they had some good rotations, and they were aggressive. We forced some shots early, and we had to get back to what we do best."
Trailing 28-25 at halftime, the Vikings (17-10) came out of the locker room with a sense of urgency and quickly turned the tide. G-A managed just five points in the third quarter, and it never regained the lead.
"I think we just rushed ourselves in the third," Gembe said. "They came out with a lot of energy. Us not making shots allowed them to push the ball, and that allowed them to increase the lead a lot."
After holding Holy Cross commit Matt Faw to just four points in the first half, he finished with 23 for the game. Ethan Miller scored 20.
As usual, Greencastle put up a nice scoring spread. Gembe led with 11 points, while Ben Freeman had nine. Brandon Stuhler and and Ian Gelsinger each scored eight, and Hoover finished with lucky number seven to push him over Scott's career total.