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Greencastle earns signature win vs. Manheim Central

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Everything finally came together for Greencastle-Antrim's boys basketball team on Monday night.

After a slew of difficult games and a handful of tough losses, the Blue Devils once again faced underdog status in a District 3 Class 5A fifth-place consolation semifinal against Manheim Central.

But no matter. G-A was firing on all cylinders, scored its season high and held off a late Barons' push for an 82-78 victory.

"I've been saying that we really haven't had a game where everybody has shot the ball well," G-A coach Rick Lewis said, "and tonight, everybody shot the ball well. That's a lot of points against a very good team."

Four of Greencastle-Antrim's five starters scored in double figures, and Ben Freeman wasn't far behind with seven.

The Blue Devils were fiery hot from beyond the arc, scoring eight 3-pointers in the first half and finishing the game with 12. Bryan Gembe led the way with six longballs and scored a total of 27.

"We give each other confidence," Gembe said. "Once we see each other hits threes and buckets and drive the lane, our confidence runs through all of us. Once one person starts going, we just hop on the train."

G-A's Casey Hoover said, "We played here twice (at East Pennsboro) in the Christmas tournament, so we kind of know the courts and the hoops a little bit. Coach said when you're open, shoot the ball, and that's what we did. When we have multiple hot like that, it's hard to stop."

With the victory, the Blue Devils will face Palmyra in the fifth-place game at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lower Dauphin.

Despite being the No. 8 seed compared to the Barons' No. 5, Greencastle went up and early often, as Gembe, Hoover, Freeman and Ian Gelsinger all knocked down at least one 3-pointer in the opening half.

G-A kept putting on the offensive onslaught, taking its largest lead of the night, 69-52, with 2:14 remaining. But then the Barons started to make the Devils sweat, cutting the deficit to as little as five points in under a minute-and-a-half.

"We just had to keep calm and know that we could finisht eh job that we had already started," Blue Devil junior Brandon Stuhler said. "We knew they were going to make shots and throw a punch at us, but we just had to take it and finish."

After holding 6-foot-9 Taylor Funk to just 12 points through the first three quarters, Greencastle learned just why he's headed to St. Joe's. Funk scored 22 points in the final frame alone.

"Honestly, I think we played terrific defense on him, but he's just an incredible player," Gembe said. "He didn't miss in the fourth quarter. Whenever we went man in the end, Ian played great defense on him, but he's going to find a way to score."

Lewis said, "We just overloaded to his side. The guys worked hard, and we went to that 3-2 with the idea that our back guys had to be as deep as he was. We've been undersized all year, so it really doesn't matter if you're 6-4 or 6-9, we're undersized. It was a matter of everyone getting on the boards, and everyone did."