Waynesboro advances to District 3-6A second round

Waynesboro's Ryan Shaffer (23) passes the ball past Red Lion's Tyler Good. LEE GOODWIN/LOCAL.NEWS

WAYNESBORO – And the band played on.

Minutes before the Waynesboro Indians and Red Lion Lions converged at midcourt for the tipoff of Tuesday night’s District 3-6A first-round playoff game in the Waynesboro Area Senior High School gym, WASHS band director Chris Ritter led the pep band into the upper section of the vast bleachers to add the sound of lively music.

It must have done something, but it took a half for head coach Tom Hoffman’s team to get shots to fall and for the defense to up the pressure on Red Lion’s ball control, slow-paced offense.

Whether or not the band provided the impetus that helped propel the Indians to Friday’s second round against William Penn High School in York is a subject for Tribe Talk. But it sure lent enthusiasm and pep to the crowded gym where Waynesboro won its first district playoff game, 59-41, in Hoffman’s 23-year tenure.

“They just didn’t want to lose; they didn’t want to be done,” Hoffman said of his squad after hard-fought game. “That’s what it was all about. So, we get three more chances now, which is awesome. We’ll take them one at a time.

“(William Penn) is an athletic group that can really shoot. We’re going to have to be at our best defensively. It’s kind of been their identity. We’re going to have to take care of the basketball; they like to press – they’re kind of like us.”

Red Lion, members of the York-Adams League, fell behind 5-0 but controlled the tempo of the game for the first 16 minutes. The Lions roared back to score nine unanswered points. From there, it was a back-and-forth game that saw the Indians’ Ryan Shaffer (24 points) make a three-point field goal that sparked a 13-3 run and an 18-12 lead for the home team.

Trailing 12-10 after the first quarter, Mid-Penn Colonial Division champions Waynesboro scored the first eight points of the second period thanks in large part to three-pointers from Shaffer and Tanyon Shaull (14 points) and a two-pointer by Cooper Hough.

Joe Sedora had the hot shooting hand for Red Lion, and he used his skills to the tune of 12 first-half points, including the final five points of the second stanza that gave the Lions a tenuous lead at the break.

Things changed in a big way in the second half.

“The second half we won threes, but it has to be within trying to get the ball into the pain to collapse the defense and then kicking it out,” said Hoffman. “I thought in the second half we did a much better job. We played faster, we maintained our defensive intensity, and we got the ball inside.”

Waynesboro’s experience, and perhaps three arduous games against 6A competition in the past week (Carlisle, Chambersburg and State College), became a factor in the second half of the game, especially the third period. The Tribe (20-4) outscored Red Lion (11-12), a team with two seniors compared to all five of Waynesboro’s starters, 24-4 in the third quarter to take a commanding 42-27 lead.

“They’re a little bit younger than we are, so we knew that could be a possibility, but we needed to make sure we did it right,” the veteran coach said. “We didn’t want to foul; we stayed out of foul trouble for the most part.

“They run really good stuff, and they were getting open and kind of picking us apart. That was one of our keys, we wanted to dictate the tempo and we wanted to play inside out. I didn’t think we were playing fast enough, and I definitely didn’t think we were playing inside out.”

One huge factor in Waynesboro’s momentum-busting performance in the final 16 minutes was forcing turnovers. Red Lion had six turnovers and missed four shots. Two turnovers in the first two possessions negated a pair of missed shots by the Indians. But Waynesboro made good on six of its next seven offensive chances. Shaffer was red-hot, scoring nine of the team’s 13 points (Shaull scored the other four points) that gave Waynesboro a 31-27 lead.

Both teams traded missed shots. Then, Michael Young – who had been silent the whole game – scored a back-breaking three-pointer. Just under a minute later, Shaffer made another trey and added two points after a Red Lion time out to push the lead to 39-27.

Shaull added a three-point exclamation point to close the scoring in the third quarter.

The winner of Waynesboro-William Penn (18-4) advance to play in the semifinals against the winner of top-seed Reading (21-0) and eighth-seed Chambersburg (14-9).

The loser drops down to the consolation bracket to be played next Tuesday at the site of the higher-seeded team (If Chambersburg loses, the Trojans will play at Waynesboro. If Reading loses, the Tribe plays at Reading).

In the bottom half of the bracket, No. 2 Cumberland Valley hosts No. 7 Wilson. No. 3 Hempfield hosts No. 6 Central York.

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