Feb. 21--Motivation can be potent. Carlisle boys' coach Andre Anderson is banking on it when his team faces Central York on Saturday morning in Hershey's Giant Center.
The Panthers squeaked by the Thundering Herd in early January on sophomore Jared Wagner's buzzer-beater in Carlisle. The District 3 Class AAAA boys' basketball quarterfinal is one of four matchups this weekend involving YAIAA teams that will be rematches.
As will be the case in all of those games, Central and Carlisle are a long ways off from their Jan. 4 meeting. The Mid-Penn's Herd (17-6) was amid a four-game losing streak when it lost to the Panthers (23-2). This time it will ride an 11-game win streak into Giant Center against Central, which has won 17 straight.
"I know the coach from Central probably feels the same way," Anderson said Wednesday night. "That was probably their worst game and our worst game."
Central'sKevin Schieler confirmed the sentiment Thursday.
"As ugly as that game was, we probably both want to forget about it," he said.
Even Panthers junior guard Sam Saxton pointed out earlier this season the Carlisle game wasn't their best performance. Any rehashing of that January night in Carlisle come Saturday morning will not end a team's season, but it could put one on the brink.
Losing a game Saturday in Class AAAA will put a team in the consolation rounds with hope still alive for a state tournament berth. A win Saturday guarantees a PIAA spot, which William Penn (19-6) and top-seeded Wilson (24-2) will play for following the Central-Carlisle game.
What's the score >> Here's what happened the first time those four district matchups came in the regular season:
Central beat Carlisle, 37-34, on Jan. 4. Bermudian Springs suffered its only regular-season loss that same night at Boiling Springs. It came by one point, 46-45.
On the girls' side, West York also won by just a point, 52-51, beating Susquehannock on Dec. 12, 2013. York Catholic edged Bishop McDevitt, 56-50, on Feb. 1.
What can you take from it? >> In three of this weekend's games, the initial encounters came early in the season. Susquehannock (21-4) was just the second opponent for Jon Shultz's West York (17-8) girls. The Bulldogs coach said he's been studying up on film because "I think we're both different teams from the beginning," he said. For both the district's top-seeded AAA team in Susquehannock and West York, many of the players in Saturday's game (1:30 p.m. at Dallastown) played in last year's district semifinal.
Instead of playing at Giant Center, they will meet this time for the right to return there.
Schieler and Anderson had a different take on their rematch.
"We can take a ton because our kids have a sour taste in their mouths from that game," Anderson said. "With them doing as well as they did, our kids believe they should have won that game."
On the flip side, Schieler said the close win helps him as a coach with his players' focus for this game.
Giant steps >> Schieler, a 2000 York Catholic grad, never played at Giant Center in districts. He instead took the floor at Hersheypark Arena, and Saturday's trip will be his first time as a coach at Giant Center.
Schieler said his team plans on arriving early for the 10 a.m. Cedar Crest-Cumberland Valley quarterfinal. The winner will face Central or Carlisle.
"We're excited about it and hopefully we get there to get out the shock and awe of the arena," he said.
Friday night's slate will include Bermudian Springs' first trip to Giant Center. The Eagles (21-2) were ousted in their district openers each of the last two years. Their 5 p.m. game with Boiling Springs (20-3) will be followed by West York (23-2) and Manheim Central (22-3) at 6:30 p.m. The Bulldogs are playing in the arena for the first time since 2007.
Contact Matt Goul at 771-2045 or @mgoul on Twitter.
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