SPORTS

Martin works with basketball squad

PAT FRIDGEN
Among the boys who played in the summer league for Greencastle-Antrim High School were, from left: Cody Young, Taylor Blattenberger, Coach Gary Martin, Holden Baker, Grant Murray, Brandon Puffenbarger, Denton Cordell, Denver Cordell, Austin Scott, Trent Springs, Gabe Fridgen, Zach Faulkner and Nick Potter.

The new head boys basketball coach at Greencastle-Antrim High School is pleased with what he has seen in the team so far. Gary Martin, Mechanicsburg, supervised two summer leagues for interested players.

Boys entering grades 10-12 played in the Hagerstown Community College and Harrisburg Kirk Smallwood leagues in June and July. Because so many boys showed up for the HCC games, held at South High School, Martin created two Greencastle teams to play the four other participating squads.

"I didn't divide them up into separate teams, though," he said, "because they all had other obligations, too. Whoever showed up played in both games each night. And they all stuck out the summer."

Though only seven players were able to attend the championship game, they took the title after an undefeated season. They bested their opponents in 22 games. He watched the boys improve over the months and discovered the top players didn't have to be present for Greencastle to remain competitive.

The league to the north was more challenging, but the team won four of its last five games. "It was a big commitment for them to come up, but it was a good sneak preview for us," he said. "The teams we played we'll see later."

Though basketball won't start for the Blue Devils until November, Martin has met most of the players who will likely try out. Several also went to Susquehanna University for team camp. He also sponsored open gym in home territory.

Martin appreciated the strong parental support for his early efforts to work with the youth. He said Greencastle had the most parents watching the summer games of any team they encountered.

He was hired by the school board May 6 to replace Garon Gembe, who was at the helm for 10 years, and coached in the district in some capacity for 25 years. Martin has 18 years coaching experience at several high schools and colleges in the Harrisburg area. Greencastle's assistant varsity coach has not yet been named. The JV boys basketball coaching position has been reposted, with applications due to athletic director Vicki Ritchey by Aug. 31.