By Matt Kellam
Shippensburg—The Shippensburg Greyhounds played their most complete game of the season Friday night as they dominated the Northern York Polar Bears, 72-60, to claim a share of the Mid-Penn Colonial title.
“We’ve been preaching to our kids you have to play 32 minutes of defense and tonight we did that,” said winning coach Ray Staver. “They, (Northern York), are a great team because they play so hard and I think tonight we crossed that line.”
Collin Taylor scored 10 of his game high 22 points in the first quarter to stake the Greyhounds to a 17-16 lead.
“We couldn’t give them any open looks for threes,” said Taylor. We knew if we played four hard quarters, keeping them from getting open looks they would have a tough night shooting.”
That tough defense was on display in the second quarter as the Polar Bears scored only eight points.
The turning point of the game came mid-way through the second quarter.
With Shippensburg up 22-20, Anthony Smith brought the crowd to its’ feet with a breakaway jam then followed with two foul shots to put the lead at six, 26-20.
Eddie Ensor made a three, then Dalton Foore scored all three of his points on a foul shot and offensive rebound and put back, Smith drove the lane for a bucket, Jacob Cramer made a lay-up, and Jayden Statum made a steal and put back.
Just like that, the lead was 11 at halftime, 35-24.
“That was incredibly big,” added coach Staver.
Northern, (16-3, 11-1MPC), scored the first basket of the third quarter, but Jeremy Thomas was left alone in the corner and nailed a three to push the lead back to 12.
Jordan Heisey scored on back to back plays and Nate McGills’ driving lay-up cut the lead back to eight with three minutes to go in the third.
But Shippensburg, (15-4, 11-1MPC) had an answer for each run that the Polar Bears made.
Thomas made a put back at the buzzer for a ten-point lead heading into the fourth, 48-38.
Shippensburg maintained their ten-point lead until mid-way of the fourth when Taylor scored and was fouled. He missed the foul shot, but Smith rebounded and made the shot, was fouled on the play, and made the free throw.
That effectively ended any comeback possibilities for the Polar Bears.
When asked how the win felt, Anthony Smith said, “It feels amazing. Tying for the division just makes it all worth it.”
Shippensburg finishes their season with three games, starting Monday at Dallastown. The final power rankings of the year will determine whether they or Northern York represent the Colonial division in the Mid Penn championships.
Notes: Polar Bear Junior Nate McGill scored the 1,000th point of his career in the third quarter. Collin Taylor came into the game needing 45 points to get to 1,000. He finished with 22. Shippensburg limited Northern to one made three-point shot during the game. The first time the two teams played, Northern had 11.
Shippensburg 72, Northern York 60
Jordan Heisey 8 0-0 16, Tyler Weary 2 2-2 6, Jacob Hamm 1 0-0 2, Eddie Ensor 2 0-0 5, Nate McGill 7 10-13 24, Alec Welshans 2 3-3 7. Totals: 22 15-18 60
Jayden Statum 5 2-2 12, Isaiah Houser 3 0-0 8, Collin Taylor 9 4-7 22, Jeremy Thomas 3 1-2 9, Anthony Smith 4 8-12 16, Jacob Cramer 1 0-0 2, Dalton Foore 1 1-2 3. Totals: 26 16-25 72
Northern York 16 8 14 22 60
Shippensburg 17 18 13 24 72
Three point shots—Northern York 1 (Ensor), Shippensburg 4 (Houser, Thomas 2)