Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils scorch, cool off in state game

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
A number of hearty Blue Devil fans made the trek to Philadelphia to support the team and had lots to cheer about in the first half.

For two and a half quarters the Greencastle-Antrim High School boys’ basketball team gave the two-time defending PIAA Class AAA champs all they could handle in a first round game of the 2012 state  tournament Friday night, March 9.

After that the Saints from Neumann-Goretti (24-3) in Philadelphia slowly regained some swagger and took total control of the contest to put up a convincing 81-47 win for its first step toward a three-peat. The game was played in the Saints’ backyard at Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia.

For the Blue Devils it meant the end to an excellent season that saw the program to a 20-0 record, division title and back into the state tournament. G-A finishes at 23-6.

Greencastle-Antrim, which came into the tournament as the sixth seed out of the Mid-Penn Conference, controlled the opening tip and put its scrappy style up against the experience of a two-time state champ and the District 12-AAA titlist whose program had put up 70 straight wins well in the opening few minutes to equal a 7-7 stalemate.

Neumann-Goretti was able to shake off the Devil zone defense a bit for a seven point spread, but G-A worked its way back from the perimeter to trail by just three after a quarter of play at 16-13.

The Saints continued to struggle on offense, while the Devils delivered more of the same that kept the game close and even tied it at 20-20 with 3:31 left in the half.

The effort had a loyal bunch of Blue Devil fans on their feet om hopes of an upset and the Saints’ fans shaking their heads. G-A trailed by just four at the half at 26-22.

The Blue Devil spell held on after the break for a few minutes with the local team slicing the deficit down to two twice. Neumann-Goretti had taken note and began a march that would end well ahead of G-A. The surge on both offense and defense just built and built to a 15-point lead going into the fourth. The Devils had netted 14 points for the third quarter, its highest of any stanza on the night, but the Saints put in 25 during the third alone after just 26 in the whole first half.

Neumann-Goretti didn’t stop, instead went for the jugular, reeling off 30 fourth-quarter points to send the Devils packing by a 34-point setback.

Denver Cordell led G-A offensively with 14 points. Zach Faulkner was the only other Devil in double figures with 10. The Saints had four double-digits scorers.

G-A’s Joel Zola works his way through the Saint defense.