HAMBERSBURG – The Waynesboro Area Senior High School boys’ basketball team is off and running in the 2022-23 season.
The Indians opened the campaign with a 66-46 win at New Oxford on Tuesday, and they were taking aim at a 2-0 start against Lancaster-Lebanon League’s Warwick, a team played top-seeded Class 6A Reading in the District 3 championship game a season ago.
Waynesboro picked up where it left off a few days ago. – for a little over three quarters.
The Warriors gave the Indians their first test with a furious comeback that fell just short in a 60-56 Waynesboro victory at the Franklin County vs. Everyone Tip-Off Tournament hosted by Chambersburg High School.
“They are 5A this year but last year they were 6A and they played in the district final versus Reading, and two of their starters are on this team,” said Waynesboro coach Tom Hoffman, whose team plays York-Adams League opponent Northeastern Saturday at 5 p.m. “And so a 16 point lead in this environment didn’t mean anything to them. They started making shots and getting the 50-50 balls.
“I know this is good for us; the result ended up being good for us. We need to be in these kinds of games.”
The Indians were in cruise control until Warwick started hitting shot after shot. Fortunately, Waynesboro somehow made the plays when it needed them most to keep its lead intact.
Ryan Shaffer maneuvered for a basket with the Indians clinging to a three-point lead. He added a layup, and then Jaylon Bean put up another layup to make it 49-42.
Warwick missed two free throws, and Waynesboro had a chance to get the lead to nine or even 10 with a three-pointer. But a turnover gave the Warriors new hope, and they answered the bell with a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to 49-47.
But again, the Tribe got a reprieve when Shaffer fed Tanyon Shaull inside for a layup. Moments later, Waynesboro got the ball back and another inside bucket for a 55-49 advantage.
The trend continued as Warwick scored the next two baskets to make it 55-53. And, just like they had for the entire fourth quarter, the Indians got the points when they needed them. This time a pair of free throws by Bean. Shaffer missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Shaull grabbed a rebound at the other end and made one of two to make it 58-53 with 28.7 seconds left in the game.
“We just needed to start making stops. We didn’t really change anything. Sometimes we get too dribble happy and forget our bread and butter getting the ball inside,” Hoffman said.
We win but this game had a different feel. This was like a district feel to it. We have to get those kinds of wins. The moment wasn’t too big for us, I didn’t think it was with the seniors. The start of the game gave us confidence. And when we hit adversity in the fourth quarter, we handled it.”
It was a two-possession game, and the Warriors continued to stay hot from the outside with a three-pointer and it was 58-56 with 18.6 ticks remaining.
Warwick fouled Michael Young, who came through in the clutch by making both free throws to make it a two-possession game with 17.6 seconds left.
The Warriors missed from the outside, and Shaull grabbed the rebound and Waynesboro ran out the clock.
The Tribe (2-0) benefited from a smothering man-to-man defense, crips, accurate passes in its half-court offense, and, of course, plenty of aggressive moves to the basket. Much of Waynesboro’s point production in the first 24 minutes came from close range.
The Indians kept Warwick at a safe distance by sprinkling in some three-point baskets, including a three from Ryan Shaffer that began a 14-3 run midway through the first quarter. Michael Young put up a trey to start the second stanza that gave the Indians a 19-8 lead.
Shaull started off the game with a trifecta. Jaylon Bean, who along with Shaffer and Shaull battered the Warriors in the paint, grinded his way for two first-quarter buckets and made a rebound that resulted in second-chance points when he dished to Shaffer for a layup and a 5-0 lead.
The Indians did cool down some in the second period, being reduced to one shot on several possessions. But Warwick couldn’t make up the deficit and had to go to the drawing board at halftime to find a way to make adjustments to contain the Big Three and solve the Tribe’s defense.
Even with a 5-0 run to end the first half, the Warriors trailed by double digits, 31-20, at halftime.
Bean, Shaffer and Shaull accounted for the majority of the scoring for Waynesboro. Shaull and Bean finished with 19 and 18 points, respectively. Shaffer added 15 points. Shaull pulled down 13 rebounds; Shaffer had eight boards, and Bean had six rebounds.