By Matt Kellam
Mechanicsburg—The Shippensburg Greyhounds came back from a deficit twice against the Central Dauphin Rams, but ran out of gas on the third comeback try and eventually fell 71-61 in the Mid-Penn conference semi-finals Tuesday night.
With the score tied at nine, the Rams went on an 8-0 run on two Andrew Renaldi foul shots, a three from the wing by RanceRusso, and another by Darren Berrios to take a 17-9 lead early in the 2nd quarter.
Shippensburg mounted their first comeback with a 9-0 run of their own. Jayden Statum would score on back to back trips down the floor and Jeremy Thomas scored twice and added a foul shot to make it 20-18 Greyhounds. It would be their only lead of the night.
Back to back turnovers and two baskets by Ryan Smith, who led all scorers with 25, pushed the Rams back on top. Smith would score 11 in the quarter and the Rams carried a 37-29 lead into halftime.
The Greyhounds made their next run in the third quarter. With the Rams still leading by eight, Statum, Collin Taylor, and Thomas scored on consecutive possessions to pull Shippensburg within two.
A Russo basket was followed by a jam from Anthony Thomas and layup from Isaiah Houser to tie the game at 44.
Shippensburg had two opportunities to take the lead, but again turnovers on back-to-back possessions gave the Rams back the momentum. A Thomas shot at the buzzer pulled the Greyhounds to within three, 51-48 heading into the final quarter.
Turnovers would again bite the Greyhounds. Shippensburg had closed to within one, 53-52 and had the basketball, but an errant pass led to a Russo layup. Another turnover resulted in a score by De’von Haggans, and a third turnover ended in a Russo three from the wing and just like that, it was 60-52.
“The stretch where they had the 7-0 run and three turnovers that just really took the game away from us at that point,” commented Greyhound head coach Ray Staver.
The final run at CD started with a technical foul being called on the Rams’ Renaldi. Isaiah Houser made both free throws and the Greyhounds kept the ball. Statum was fouled and made both free throws and again Shippensburg was back to within three, 62-59.
CD turned again to Ryan Smith. His drive resulted in a foul and he made both free throws. Following an Anthony Smith miss, Russo made a driving shot that pushed the lead back to 66-59 and effectively ended the Greyhound’s night.
Shippensburg placed four starters in double figures led by Statum with 16. For CD, Smith, Russo, and Haggans combined for 58 of the Rams 71 points.
Notes: The Shippensburg Lady Greyhounds basketball team also lost to CD in the opener, 48-21. They will travel to Spring Grove Tuesday night in the opening round of district playoffs. The boys will be at home Monday night at 7 to face their first-round opponent, Cedar Cliff. The Colts come in with a 13-9 mark. Mid-Penn broadcasting will carry that game but it will be audio only.
Central Dauphin 71, Shippensburg 61
De’Von Haggans 5 3-4 13, Andrew Renaldi 0 2-2 2, Ryan Smith 9 5-5 25, Rance Russo 8 2-3 20, Tyrese Fuller 0 2-4 2, Justice Easter 1 2-3,4 Darren Berrios 1 0-0 3, Donovan Hill 1 0-0 2. Totals: 25 16-21 71.
Jayden Statum 6 4-4 16, Isaiah Houser 4 2-2 11, Collin Taylor 4 5-5 13, Jeremy Thomas 5 1-1 12, Anthony Smith 3 1-3 7, Carter Funk 0 2-2 2. Totals: 22 15-17 61
Central Dauphin 14 23 14 20 71
Shippensburg 9 20 19 13 61
Three point shots—Central Dauphin 5 (Russo, Smith 2, Berrios) Shippensburg 2 (Thomas, Houser)