HERSHEY - The Greenwood boys basketball team should have shown up in suits for Monday's District 3 Class A semifinal, because the Wildcats were all business, out-hustling and out-playing Camp Hill in a 58-33 rout.
With the win, Greenwood appears in the title game for the fourth straight year. The Wildcats take on New Hope Academy, a 66-53 winner over Antietam, at 5 p.m. Friday at Giant Center in Hershey.
From start to finish the Wildcats were all effort as they never trailed and used their stifling defense and ball movement on offense. Coach Kent Houser talked to his team before the game about playing a full 32 minutes and got just that from his group.
Sentinel photo by LARRY YOHN
Greenwood’s Alex Potter, right, hooks a layup under the reach of Camp Hill’s Robert Weigle (34) while Lion Kevin Chrencik looks on Monday in Hershey.
"We really talked before the game about not waiting and coming out and I thought we came out ready to play right off the bat, we were ready to play defense, the energy was great, we got out, we ran the floor well," he said. "Our offensive execution was probably as patient as its been in a while and I thought we got great looks in the first half."
The Lions came out in a condensed zone defense leaving the top of the key open and Greenwood spent most of the first passing the ball around and taking its time looking for a shot.
Grant Lesh was the first to pull the trigger early in the quarter as he hit a three and a deep two after passing up a few open looks to keep looking for a better shot - but once the Wildcats realized they had the top of the key to themselves, they turned the game into a three-point shooting contest.
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* Greenwood takes on New Hope Academy Friday in Hershey
The Wildcats scored seven more points in the quarter and held the Lions to just four on a layup by Marcellus Hayes and a rebound score by Kevin Chrencik.
In the second the Wildcats stretched their lead hitting four of their six first half threes. Alex Potter and Adam Harrison split the pot, taking advantage of the Lions lazy perimeter defense. Houser was proud his team recognized the weakness and took full advantage of it.
"They obviously were slacking off on a lot of things," Houser said. "They came out playing zone and when they went man they were doing a lot of switching and clogging up the inside so you got to hit some outside shots and I thought Alex really came through tonight, he was aggressive and was looking for that shot."
In total, the Wildcats scored 21 in the quarter and shot 6-of-11 from behind the arc in the first half.
The Lions had trouble just getting an open look on offense as Lions' leading scorer DeShawn Williams was smothered everytime he drove into the paint. He was called for two offensive fouls in the first half and fouled out early in the fourth. Potter thought the team came out ready to shut down Williams.
"You just have to come out mentally ready, you know his name's everywhere and he plays good defense and can shoot the ball, but we knew we could tire him out if we could make him work on offense everytime," the junior guard said.
In the third the Lions scored the first three points of the quarter, but Potter quickly stopped any thoughts of a comeback by burying two more threes to give him a team-high 14 points on the night. From there the Wildcats controlled the pace, moving the ball around in the third, passing up open shots to run the clock but still scoring when pressured as they took a 45-25 lead into the fourth.
The Wildcats' ball movement was was on full display in the fourth as they passed up shot after shot and didn't score for the first four minutes of the frame, but held on to their 20-point lead as they held the Lions scoreless until there were three minutes left in the game.
Potter knows the playoffs have led to the team's changed intensity and improved focus.
"We're all working a lot harder now, playing more as a team," Potter said. "We're playing team defense and running the floor getting out, everyone is working a lot harder together, playing great man defense and crashing the boards."