No question, the 2018-19 season was an uncharacteristic struggle for the Greencastle-Antrim boys basketball team, when the Blue Devils went 5-15 (2-10 in the Mid Penn Colonial Division).
But with two starters and two other experienced players back, and a jolt of young talent, G-A expects more positive results this season.
Greencastle opens the season Friday at 5:30 p.m. vs. Chambersburg at the Franklin County Tip-Off Tournament, which is hosted by James Buchanan this year.
“I think we have the potential to take a big step forward this year,” said coach Rick Lewis, entering his fourth season at the helm.
“We are young (no seniors on the roster), but we have a real nice nucleus of returning players, who all got a lot of varsity experience last year, plus the addition of the newcomers. We have a nice team chemistry and their skills seem to complement each other well.”
The returning starters back are juniors Thomas Lewis (5-10, PG) and Zach Cole (6-3, F). A year ago, Lewis averaged 7.6 points and 2.6 assists per game and knocked down 44 3-pointers, while Cole averaged 4.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
Juniors J.T. English (5-11, G, 2.4 ppg) and Adam Root (6-3, F, 1.3 ppg) did not start, but made their way into the team’s rotation by mid-season.
“I expect all four of them to take it to the next level this year,” Rick Lewis said.
The fifth starter will be junior Riley Gembe (6-3, F), while the top players off the bench include junior Adam Murr (6-0, G) and sophomores Bobby Emberson (5-10, G) and Jackson Wright (6-4, F).
Lewis said, “We’re not tall, but we do have some good length. We’ll have to really compete on the boards every night.”
In scrimmages, the coach was impressed with some things on offense.
“The offense looked improved in both transition and in the half-court,” he said. “We moved the ball really well and have shown the ability to really score the basketball.”
In the Colonial Division, Lewis believes “Shippensburg is head and shoulders above everybody else.”
But he believes his Blue Devils will be right there with the other division teams.
“I keep telling our guys that our A game is good enough to beat anybody, but our B game isn’t good enough to beat anybody. If the energy level and focus is there, we can be good, but if it’s not, it might be tough.”