Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils clinch state basketball playoff berth

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Devil Zach Faulkner maneuvers around a Berks Catholic arm check.

The Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils made the most of their last chance at grabbing a boys’ basketball state playoff berth Monday, outlasting Bishop McDevitt 74-71 in a District 3-AAA consolation game played at South Western High School in Hanover. The victory allowed the Devils (23-4) to take the next step during a solid season of basketball, while the year ends for the Crusaders.

The Devils had been dropped into the must-win game after being stunned by Berks Catholic, 64-28, in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Berks, which came into the tournament as the fourth seed, has since knocked off top-seeded Lampeter-Strasburg in the semifinals and will play for the district title Thursday.

G-A will now play for seeding into the state tournament. The fifth/sixth place game is set for Thursday, March 1 at 6 p.m. at East Pennsboro High School against Northeastern.

The Blue Devils shook off a 17-17 tie after a quarter of play Monday and slowly, but surely gained on McDevitt. G-A led by five at the half and a surge out of the locker room pushed the lead to as much as 13-points.

The Crusaders were able to do some chipping away and at times narrowed the deficit to three, but in the end had to send G-A to the foul line too many times where the Devils preserved a three-point victory. Zach Faulkner sealed it with a putback off a free throw miss with 20 seconds left on the clock.

All five G-A starters, Denver and Denton Cordell, Corey Meyers, Faulkner and Joel Zola recorded double-digit scoring led by Meyers’ 20. Denver Cordell fueled the perimeter with five three-pointers en route to his 16 points. Faulkner delivered 16 and Zola put in a dozen. Denton Cordell capped the effort with 10 points. Denver Cordell and Faulkner each had seven rebounds. Denton Cordell had four assists and three steals.

Berks Catholic ended up a mismatch for the Devils in the quarterfinal round. The Devils never got into any rhythm offensively, mainly because of a tall and long Saints’ defense that limited G-A to just 11 first-half points. It produced plenty of opportunity for Berks which dominated with a 25-7 second quarter. While the Devils never turned from the challenge, not much changed with the tempo of the game in the second half and the Saints left with a 36-point victory.

Denver Cordell scored 10 points to lead the Devils. Faulkner and Denver Cordell had three rebounds each and Denton Cordell dished out three assists.

This is the fourth state tournament berth for the Blue Devil program that enjoyed a three-year run from 2006 to 2008 that included a state title game and runner-up title in 2007.

The state playoffs begin Friday, March 9.

G-A’s Corey Meyers takes the ball to the basket during district play.