G-A Blue Devils gallop past Mustangs in district opener

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Senior Cory Meyers propels himself to the hoop as G-A bypassed West Perry Tuesday on the home floor to advance in the district playoffs.

That all important first step was taken before a packed Greencastle-Antrim High School gymnasium by the boys’ basketball team Tuesday night.

The start of district playoffs can be the most dangerous as a loss ends your season. The Blue Devils avoided that the way they have done all season. A combination of team work and athleticism stayed in gear from start to finish Tuesday as the Blue Devils bounced West Perry from the District 3-A playoffs by a 71-63 score.

The victory earns the fifth-seeded Devils a quarterfinal date with Berks Catholic, the fourth seed and a 50-47 winner over Schuylkill Valley in the opening round. That game is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24 at Herhsey High School.

In a game where the Mustangs never let the Devils off the hook and West Perry’s Bryce Stambaugh cashed in for his 1,000th career point, it was G-A that collected the spoils before an appreciative home crowd.

Denver Cordell was lights out from the perimeter this night, bombing six of the treys en route to his team-leading 23 points. Cordell led four players in double figures, including brother Denton with 16, Joel Zola with 12 and Zach Faulkner with 11.

There are now eight teams in the 3-A bracket, vying for not only the district title, but one of the six state berths available. A loss in the quarterfinal round still allows a team the chance to play back for a fifth/sixth game. A win in the qaurters assures as state berth.

The Devils warmed up for the district tournament with a run at the Mid-Penn Conference Tournament that turned out to be a dramatic, yet drawn out event. G-A, representing the Colonial Division, opened some eyes in the semifinals by clipping Hershey 74-71 in overtime. Cumberland Valley High School was the venue for the conference event and the Devils ended up going back more times than they bargained for. Thursday’s final against Central Dauphin had to be suspended midway through the third quarter when the backboard was shattered by a CD player on a dunk. G-A was down by nine at the time and upon the return trip Friday held its ground for awhile before the Rams propelled to a 77-55 win.

In the exciting semifinal with Hershey, Corey Meyers turned on some late bombs to help lift the Devils. The senior ended up with a career-high 36 points that included nine in the overtime. G-A found the CV gym to its liking in this one, hitting over 58 percent of its shots and producing 18 points on 20 attempts at the foul line. The game was back and forth the whole time and came down to some key shots. Zach Faulkner (21 points) delivered a trey in regulation and a Meyers three in OT helped to deliver the points that held off Hershey in the end.

Denton Cordell contributed 14 points and added four assists and five steals.

Hershey, a 4-A school, had come into the event with just one loss. Central Dauphin is also a 4-A school. G-A is competing in the 3-A division of districts.

The conference championship game had just about everything, but did not end in a Blue Devils victory. It lasted for nearly 24 hours. It featured an unfortunate dunk by CD’s Devin Thomas that shattered the backboard. And it garnered widespread attention as the play aired on national television. But most importantly the Devils played hard, keeping at the heels of the Rams and giving Central Dauphin all it could handle for much of the game.

Thomas didn’t score a point in the first quarter, but in the end Thomas took control, scoring 31 points for the game that resumed Friday evening after a new backboard was installed. Fifteen of those points came in the final 11 minutes played Friday.

Meyers had 15 points to lead the Devils and added five steals and three assists. Denton Cordell put in 13 and Denver Cordell added 12 points and topped the team in rebounds with seven.

The G-A student section was into every aspect of the game.