A tidal wave of young talent was on display in the Shippensburg Greyhounds home opener against the Big Spring Bulldogs Friday.
The Greyhounds (3-1, 2-0 Colonial) went twelve deep, getting contributions from players throughout their lineup to overwhelm the Bulldogs (3-2, 1-1 Colonial) by a 75-47 final score.
Sophomore forward Colin Taylor led the way with 23 points, while freshman point guard Jayden Statum finished with 17. Big Spring freshman guard Matthew Ward poured in 12 points in the loss.
“This is a big game against our biggest rival. When you have a young core and get a win this big at home, to get the ball inside and shoot as well as we did, it’s a great feeling. We can build off that and get better,” Taylor said Friday.
The Greyhounds separated themselves by twice detonating for 10 points in hardly a minute of game time.
Shippensburg's first big run occurred in the early stages of the second quarter, and helped stretch a slim five point margin into a 16-point edge.
The run featured two fastbreak dunks from freshman big man Anthony Smith, the second of which sent the Shippensburg high school gym into a frenzy and forced an Big Spring timeout.
Smith contributed 8 points in total Friday.
“He ran the floor exceptionally well. He’s learning everyday,” Shippensburg head coach Ray Staver said if the freshman forward. “We talked about this being their first opportunity to play in front of our home crowd, let’s make a good first impression. He kept his emotions and played well.”
The next offensive explosion put the Greyhounds up 30 at the end of the third quarter.
Taylor stretched his range to beyond the three-point arch, knocking down a corner three to jumpstart the 11-0 spurt. Statum also played a huge role offensively and defensively during the run.
“Our defense created a lot of that. We got a lot of steals at the end of the third quarter and they couldn’t get the ball across half court. We want to get after people. We’ve got depth. We’ve got quickness and athleticism, and we’ve got two big kids inside with size,” Coach Staver noted.
The two teams traded baskets throughout much of the first quarter. Big Spring junior forward Gavin Pritchard knocked down a runner to give the visitors an short-lived 6-5 edge, and senior John Brown twice cut the Big Spring deficit to just one point later on in the frame.
Fantastic freshman performances weren’t limited to just the Greyhounds. The Bulldogs also got an outstanding effort from freshman guard Matthew Ward, who drained two 3-pointers and showed no fear going up against Shippensburg's pressure defense.
Brown showed his strength with several tough finishes inside on his way to a career high 11 points. Pritchard was hampered by foul trouble for much of the game, finishing with just 6 points, while senior point guard Trevor Moyer was held to 9.
Nine different Greyhounds scored in the victory. Sophomore guard Isaiah Houser finished with 7 points, while senior guard Jake Frey contributed 6 points on two made threes. Freshman Jeremy Thomas had 6 points, while senior guard Adam Houser recorded 4.
“It’s good that we had some other guys chipping in and Adam is going to get started. He’s going to have a 15-point for us sometime soon, he does so many things that go unnoticed. He is a big part of our pressure and it is great to have two guys with experience at point guard on the floor,” said the Ship head coach.
The Greyhounds head back out on the road Tuesday for a tough Colonial Division test at Waynesboro (2-1), before returning home to take on a rebuilding Greencastle (1-3) squad Friday at 7:30 p.m.