Waynesboro turns away Greencastle-Antrim 52-23

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Waynesboro's Ryan Shaffer (23) tries to come down with the loose ball as Greencastle-Antrim's Andrew Kerns is tied up with Waynesboro's Tanyon Shaull during the first half of a varsity boys' basketball game, Friday in Waynesboro. LEE GOODWIN/LOCAL.NEWS

WAYNESBORO – It’s not often that a Waynesboro basketball team thoroughly dominates Greencastle-Antrim, but it happened for the second time this season.

The Indians, who defeated the Blue Devils 61-28 in the Franklin County Tipoff Tournament consolation game back in December, stormed out to a 19-2 lead in the first half and never looked back, winning 52-23 in a Mid-Penn Colonial Division game on Friday night on the home court.

“The maturity level the players are showing is a good thing. We’re going to keep riding it,” said Waynesboro coach Tom Hoffman after his team won for the eighth time this season with only two losses. “We just keep grinding. It’s hard to guard all five of our guys.”

Point taken.

If it isn’t Reese Cover burning opposing teams with his shifty inside moves or a step back three-pointer, it’s Jaylon Bean with his own moves for high-percentage shots. And there’s Ryan Shaffer, who brought the crowd to its collective feet with a one-hand dunk. Or Michael Young, who doesn’t draw much attention but has a way of deflating morale with his long-range potential.

So far during the 2021-22 season, Waynesboro has found the right combinations that have added up to decisive wins. Perhaps the unsung hero of the winning formula has been a tight full-court press defense following a Tribe offensive possession. It worked quite well Friday night, forcing Greencastle-Antrim out of a harmonious half-court offense and into a gauntlet from which it wasn’t able to extricate itself from.

“D has always been our thing,” Hoffman said. “We became a pressing team out of necessity. Sometimes we were smaller. Now, we’re putting that full-court type of effort with some guys physically who are difference makers.”

The Blue Devils had their chances to put points on the board but were 0-for-8 behind the three-point arc.

“If they had made half of them, we’re not going into halftime with a big lead,” said Hoffman. “One thing we’re not doing is playing to the score. We want to keep the process going and we’re not going to take anything for granted. Things can change in a heartbeat.”

Waynesboro led 22-4 after the first quarter and went into the locker room at halftime with a 37-12 lead.

Cover was 8-for-10 from the field and finished with a team-high 20 points. Shaffer followed with 13 points.

Cover also had a team-best eight rebounds, and the Indians only committed eight turnovers in the game.

Waynesboro will play the next four games on the road, including an afternoon contest Saturday against York County School of Technology. The next home game will be Jan. 21 against West Perry, as the Tribe will play six of its final eight games at home.