WAYNESBORO – The Waynesboro Indians varsity basketball team led the Carlisle Thundering Herd early on Senior Night, but it didn’t last very long.
It might have been that the Tribe forgot they were playing the second-ranked Class 6A team from District 3, or the Herd might have forgotten they were 17-3 and ranked second in the district.
Whatever the case, Carlisle revved the engines and raced to a 66-32 non-league victory to improve to 18-3. The Herd trailed the Indians 12-7 and entered the second quarter with a 15-14 lead.
By the end of the second quarter, Carlisle was comfortably ahead 33-19 and the Herd continued to pad the lead throughout the second half.
Watching Carlisle’s up-tempo style was like watching Waynesboro last season. The Indians simply couldn’t match the Herd’s pace, and mistakes like missed shots and turnovers were magnified by Carlisle’s relentless crashing of the boards and being aggressive in the lane resulting in a lot of easy buckets.
And it wasn’t just one or two players who did the damage. It was pick your poison – Parker Smith, Jaydon Smith, Tyler Royal – just to name a few.
“They’re a really good team,” said Waynesboro head coach Tom Hoffman. “They’re the number two 6A team. They play in the Commonwealth Division which hardens them for whatever team they play against. We knew coming in it would be a challenge, but I think we took a step back.”
Of particular concern to Hoffman was Waynesboro’s transition defense, which couldn’t keep up with Carlisle’s transition offense.
“They were getting back quicker than we were,” Hoffman said. “And we had no rotation offensively. We had been doing some good things; we did some good things in a loss to Greencastle (41-39). The 6A world is based on physicality and skill. Carlisle has it all, and Chambersburg will have it Friday night.”
Senior Grant Thompson led the Indians with 15 points. He also had nine rebounds.
Thompson livened things up a bit when he threw down a dunk on a feed from Farin Parks to give the Tribe an 11-5 win. But the throw-down seemed to motivate Carlisle, which matched the Indians not with dunks but baskets from Jaydon Smith on three of the final four possessions of the first period.
Alex Torbica scored the first four points for Waynesboro (9-12) but was limited to six points in the game.
Meanwhile, the Thundering Herd were scoring at will, switching off from inside to outside shots, thus keeping Waynesboro’s defense on its heels.
The three-point shot, a staple for the Indians during a 19-win regular season a year ago, was nonexistent. Waynesboro was 2 for 11 from behind the three-point arc.
Carlisle wasn’t much better (4 for 13) but the Herd attempted 10 more shots and made 14 more from two-point range.