Schedule Changes for Saturday, 24 January 2015

Schedule Changes for Saturday, 24 January 2015 (updated 9:00 pm):

    • HS Wrestling vs. Boiling Springs is cancelled.  The match will not be made up.
    • MS Wrestling vs. Boiling Springs is cancelled.  The match will not be made up.
    • Baseball open gym on Saturday is cancelled.
    • Football weight lifting on Saturday is cancelled.

Girls Basketball defeats Palmyra

Article by David Bohr, Pennlive.com/Photos by Harvey Levine, Pennlive.com

For the full article, click here.

Mechanicsburg held Palmyra to under 20 percent shooting from the floor and kept the Cougars from scoring over an 11-minute stretch on the way to a 29-26 road win, tying the Wildcats and Cougars for first place in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division.

The victory may also pay off for Mechanicsburg (13-1, 7-1) in the District 3-AAAA power ratings. In the most recent rankings, the Wildcats were No. 4 and the Cougars (13-1, 7-1) were No. 1.

After a 13-11 first quarter in Mechanicsburg’s favor, points were hard to come by.

“It isn’t always going to be pretty, and that’s okay,” Mechanicsburg head coach Clay McAllister said. “You can compete in a lot of games if you defend.”

Defense and rebounding were key to the Wildcats’ triumph. They held Palmyra to 10-for-51 shooting from the floor, and outrebounded the Cougars 37-29. Although Palmyra did have six offensive boards in the first quarter, second shot opportunities dwindled as the game went on.

“They outrebounded us at our place last time,” McAllister said, referring to Palmyra’s 44-39 win on Dec. 9. “We’ve talked for week that with the team we have we can’t get beat rebounding. After we got ourselves settled the first two or three minutes, we rebounded pretty well.”

Kourtney Landis made a layup to put Mechanicsburg up 28-23 with 2:06 left in the game.

“Later in the game, I thought we attacked the rim like we needed to,” McAllister said. “Landis, [Cecily] Carl, they were both going after it.”

Kristen Smoluk answered with a 3-points basket for Palmyra to make it 28-26 with 1:48 to go.

Katie Dembrowski forced Jordan Hertz to the sideline and out of bounds for Mechanicsburg’s 18th turnovers to give Palmyra the ball back with under a minute to play. The Cougars missed a jumper, but got another opportunity after Mechanicsburg’sKyra Skurcenski missed the front end of a one-and-one.

Palmyra missed two shots, but again had a chance after a jump ball gave possession back to the hosts. After a timeout with 9.7 seconds left, an inbounds pass was deflected by Hertz. Molly Gundermann was able to get the ball again in the backcourt, but her pass was taken away by Skurcenski.

“We called an out of bounds play that gave us a couple of options,” Palmyra head coach Ron Berman said. “When the initial play broke down, we panicked.”

Skurcensky was fouled with 2.7 seconds left and made the first of two free throws for a 29-26 lead. Kristen Smoluk’s attempt from half court went too far as the buzzer sounded.

Suzy Badorf’s layup with 2:39 left in the first quarter put Mechanicsburg ahead 13-8. The Wildcats only scored two points in the next 12 minutes.

Palmyra began to take advantage with Maria Tukis’ 30-foot 3-point shot on the first period buzzer, making it 13-11. Then Dembrowski’s 3-point basket with 1:05 left in the second had the Cougars ahead 18-15 at intermission.

But Palmyra did not score throughout the third quarter. Meanwhile, Hertz’s layup with 4:35 left in the third put Mechanicsburg up for good, 19-18.

“What I’m impressed with is that Mechanicsburg plays good man defense with bigs,” Berman said. “Even when you get a jump shot, they defend with someone with a long reach.”

The Wildcats were up 21-18 at the end of three periods. Palmyra had a chance to take the lead early in the fourth but missed four straight free throws in the first 90 seconds of the quarter.

Carl, who led all players with 11 points, had a layup and free throw with 5:41 left to given Mechanicsburg its largest lead at 24-18. On the next possession, Katy McClellan banked in a 3-point shot to end the Cougars’ scoreless drought.

Landis led all players with 12 rebounds.

Carl blocked three shots, and Hertz blocked one.

Smoluk and McClellan had eight points each for Palmyra. Tukis grabbed seven rebounds.

Boys Basketball drops decision to Palmyra

Article by Andrew Callahan, Lebanon Daily News

For the full article, click here.

MECHANICSBURG>> Call it the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.

Buoyed by a newfound poise, the Palmyra boys basketball team claimed its fifth win since the holidays Tuesday, holding on for a 61-55 win at Mechanicsburg. Isaac Blatt posted a game-high 19 points to captain the Cougars (8-7), who survived a 28-point outburst in the fourth quarter from the Wildcats. Senior Bobby Dorta chipped in with 13 and Braden Vernet added a dozen to help avenge a home loss to Mechanicsburg from early December.

The victory pushed Palmyra above .500 for the first time this season, after the team stood at 2-6 after Christmas.

“Over the past couple games we’ve had really good poise,” Dorta said. “There have been some times where we could’ve caved in, but we stuck together … There was a lot of energy in the gym (tonight). It was a lot of fun.”

Down by 16 in the infancy of the fourth, Mechanicsburg (5-9) rapidly cut its deficit to six at only 3:30 to play. Cougars guard Braden Vernet then took a charge and, following a Blatt layup, knocked down a corner three for a 55-44 lead. While the Wildcats continued to attack with success, Blatt, Dorta and Eric Lynn (seven points) sunk enough free throws to constantly keep the margin at a three-possession difference until seconds remained.

“That’s just Mechanicsburg,” Palmyra coach Pete Conrad said of the late offensive explosion. “But we made enough free throws, we made enough plays, we showed enough toughness. It’s a tough place to win … To come over here and be up double figures and weather it, it shows we’ve continually improved.”

Austin Pittenger dropped 17 points to lead the Wildcats, but it was his classmate, Breon Coke (13 points), who drained a three to close the first quarter and hand Mechanicsburg a one-point edge. Yet Cougar junior Austin Yetter wouldn’t stand trailing for long, quickly nailing a long-ball of his own and then picking off a rocket Wildcat pass two possessions later. Now initiating a fast-break, Yetter fired up-court to Lynn, who drove through contact and scored to reclaim the lead at 15-13.

Then, thanks to a staunch defensive effort, the Cougars held the Wildcats to one field goal through the early stages of the second half. Over most of the night, Lynn was charged with caging Pittenger, while Dorta and Blatt were put on rebound duty.

“We were all over the glass and kind of changed the game that way,” Conrad said. “It’s not like we had some huge height advantage, but those guys played hard on the glass, definitely.”

Despite successfully pinning Mechanicsburg’s offense for a long stretch, Palmyra stayed within reach of the Wildcats until it reeled off a 7-0 run midway through the third quarter. And when the streak was finally snapped, four different Cougars scored for a 40-27 advantage with one period to go.

Palmyra will put its winning record on the line Friday at 7:30 p.m. during its next game, a home test against Red Land.

“It feels great because last year it wasn’t so good,” Dorta said of the team’s 8-7 mark. “We’re playing a lot better this year and playing great as a team.”

Mid-Penn Conference

Keystone Division

Palmyra 61, Mechanicsburg 55

Palmyra (8-7)

Isaac Blatt 7 3-7 19, Bobby Dorta 5 3-4 13, Eric Lynn 2 2-3 7, Braden Vernet 3 5-6 12, Austin Yetter 3 0-0 8, Brian Willis 1 0-0 2.

Totals — 21 13-20 61

Mechanicsburg (5-9)

Shane Homick 1 0-0 2, Austin Pittenger 6 3-6 17, Breon Coke 4 3-3 13, Brad Powell 1 2-4 4, Kyle Scheib 5 1-1 13, Josh Herring 1 2-5 4, Cade Alioth 0 2-4 2.

Totals — 18 13-23 55

Palmyra 9 16 15 21 61
Mech. 10 9 8 28 55

3-point goals — P 6 (Blatt 2, Yetter 2, Vernet, Lynn), M 6 (Austin Pittenger 2, Breon Coke 2, Kyle Scheib 2)

Team fouls — P 18, M 19

Fouled out — Alioth

Cecily Carl joins 1,000 Point Club

Article by Jeff Reinhart, Pennlive.com

For the full article, click here.

WAYNESBORO — Welcome to the club, Cecily Carl.

It wasn’t the most spectacular way of scoring your 1,000th career point — not on a breakaway layup off a sweet give and go or a fade away jumper in someone’s mug or even a half-court buzzer-beater — but Mechanicsburg’s senior forward and American University recruit hit that magical milestone on Saturday night.

Carl canned the first of two free throws with 3:18 to go in the third quarter during the Wildcats’ 55-30 nonleague win at Waynesboro to join the 1,000-point club.

“When we came into the locker room at half, Coach (Clay McCallister) said I needed three points to get 1,000 and I was like, Oh great,” Carl said. “So we were trying to run a play to get me a 3, but I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I was hoping to get a couple of layups. So I made it with a foul shot.”

Carl scored 20 points in all, raising her career total to 1,004; she’s the third player inMechanicsburg history with 1,000 points, joining Taylor Miller (1,250 points) and Meredith Hollis (1,097).

Carl scored 10 points during her freshman season at Trinity before transferring into Mechanicsburg, which improved to 10-1 overall this season after topping Waynesboro on Saturday.

“I really haven’t been keeping track of the points; everyone else was keeping track,” Carl said. “I was nervous today because I found out how many I needed. I tried to look at it as another game. I’m glad I could share it with this team. I don’t create offense for myself and I don’t pass myself the ball, so this is a milestone for everyone. My current and past teammates really helped me achieve this. It’s really cool to experience this.”

McCallister agreed.

“It’s a great thing because she’s such a great kid,” Mechanicsburg’s coach said. “She’s so unselfish and she’s worked so hard for this, no doubt. Her teammates might have been more excited than she was. They were talking at halftime about what to run to get it to her. Her teammates were really excited, which was really nice to see.”

Carl is the fourth Mid-Penn player to hit 1,000 points this season, joining:

West Perry’s Madi Ulrich

State College’s Kyla Irwin

Cumberland Valley’s Kelly Jekot

 

Girls Basketball downs Waynesboro

Article by Jeff Reinhart, Pennlive.com

For the full article, click here.

WAYNESBORO — Before diving headfirst back into its tricky Mid-Penn Keystone slate, Mechanicsburg came out of the holiday break on Saturday with a nonleague game at Waynesboro to kick off some rust and get back into the groove.

And the Wildcats walked away in good shape after toppling the host Maidens 55-30, as Cecily Carl popped in a game-high 20 points — and joined the 1,000-point club in the process — and Mechanicsburg roared to a quick 17-0 lead and never looked back.

Mechanicsburg improved to 10-1 overall and won its eighth game in a row, since a 44-39 setback to Keystone sole leader Palmyra back on Dec. 9.

Waynesboro slipped to 3-6 overall; the Maidens have lost five of their last six after a 2-game winning streak the second week of December.

CARL JOINS THE CLUB: Carl needed 16 points coming in for 1,000 in her career; she scored 10 points as a freshman for Trinity before transferring into Mechanicsburg, and she joined the club with 3:18 to go in the third quarter when she swished a free throw after getting fouled going up in traffic.

MAKE IT HERTZ: Mechanicsburg point guard Jordan Hertz was stupendous. When Carl wasn’t scoring at the glass and enjoying her milestone night, Hertz was picking apart Waynesboro from all angles.

Scoring in transition, on midrange shots in half-court sets and from beyond the arc, Hertz bucketed 18 points — 9 in the first half, when the Wildcats used the game-opening 17-0 spree to grab an 18-3 after the first quarter, and then enjoyed a 28-15 cushion at the break.

Hertz and Carl combined for 22 first-half points, and Mechanicsburg pulled away from there, capping it with an 18-7 fourth-quarter run, sparked by Hertz’s three buckets, including a dagger 3.

Hertz also beat the third-quarter horn with a runner in the lane, giving the Wildcats a comfy 37-23 edge.

CAT’S MEOW: Cat Weber, one of four sophomore starters for Waynesboro, scored a team-high 13 points for the Maidens, including a conventional three-point play to snap Mechanicsburg’s game-opening 17-0 run with 13 seconds left in the first quarter.

Weber hit one of Waynesboro’s three second-quarter treys, as the Maidens outscored the Wildcats 12-10 in the quarter and kept things interesting.

Chelsea Cover, another soph, hit a couple of 3’s and added 8 points for Waynesboro, which is 1-2 in Mid-Penn Colonial play.

STATS AND SUCH: Way too many turnovers for Waynesboro, which had 22 miscues; Mechanicsburg had just seven turnovers — none in the first quarter, when the Wildcats seized control right away. … Waynesboro out-rebounded Mechanicsburg 34-26, as Cover plucked a team-best 7 rebounds for the Maidens. … Carl had 8 boards and she blocked 3 shots for the Wildcats.

QUOTABLE

Mechanicsburg coach Clay McCallister — “We’ve been working really hard on defense. I don’t think we’re as good as we need to be defensively just yet. So we’ve challenged them a lot at practice. The teams in our league are so good and they score points. So we’ll have to be able to guard them the second time through. I’m happy with where we’re at offensively. We’ve been able to get the line a lot. I love our kids’ effort and I love their focus.”

Waynesboro coach Allison Steiger — “Mechanicsburg is big and they just plugged everything up in the middle. They were patient and No. 5 (Hertz) was fantastic driving. We didn’t have an answer for her.”

Girls Basketball defeats Greyhounds

Article by Dave Barth, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

SHIPPENSBURG — Scoring two points in the first quarter and eight in the first half usually does not get you a win in basketball.

The Shippensburg girls’ basketball team found that out the hard way Monday night in a 41-29 home loss to Mechanicsburg (6-1).

The Greyhounds (2-5, 1-3 MPC) held the Wildcats to a reasonable 41 points, but they couldn’t keep up offensively, something they have struggled with all season.

“For the first time all year we started driving the basketball, which we’ve been trying to make happen all year long,” said Shippensburg head coach Andrew Markel. “We seem to just be too satisfied on passing instead of looking for our shots tonight. We just have to make better shot toward the rim.”

The Mechanicsburg defense stifled Shippensburg’s offense from the get-go. After a layup by freshman Mariah Martin that brought the score to 3-2, the Wildcats shut out Shippensburg for the remainder of the first quarter.

With Ship 10-4 to start the second, Martin came right out after the break and sank a layup to close the deficit to six. But Mechanicsburg produced steady scoring while holding off the Greyhound attack.

Shippensburg scored only twice more in the half, on layups from Martin and sophomore Kayleen Sydnor to send the ‘Hounds to the locker room down 16-8.

Martin closed out the half with six points and two defensive rebounds, one of the few positive takeaways from the first half of the matchup.

Both teams came out with more intensity to start the second half. A fast start from Mechanicsburg had the Wildcats up 23-8 before Shippensburg could answer.

Back-to-back scores from freshman Kara Newell and senior Drew Lovett brought the Greyhounds to within 11.

Shippensburg kept pace for the remainder of the third quarter, closing it out down 31-21. Sophomore Natalie Nye sank the team’s only 3-pointer on the night with 9.5 seconds remaining to keep the Greyhounds in it.

Mechanicsburg did not let off the gas heading into the final quarter,building a 39-22 lead before Newell answered for the Greyhounds with a layup.

Nye and Martin closed out the game on a strong note, Martin grabbing a defensive rebound and travelling coast-to-coast to lay it in. But it was not enough, as the Wildcats grabbed their 6th win of the season 41-29.

“I like where we are at defensively, said Markel. “Forty-one points is what they ended up with today; I think that’s what our season average is, so I can live with that defensively. We just need an offensive identity. We are way below where I think we should be this far into the season, and we just need to be more aggressive.”

Shippensburg travels to Middletown for its first game of 2015 on Jan. 3 in a 2:30 matchup. The Blue Raiders hold a 6-2 record on the season, and beat Red Land 58-43 on Saturday.

WILDCATS 41, GREYHOUNDS 29

Mechanicsburg 10 6 15 10 — 41

Shippensburg 2 6 13 8 — 29

MECHANICSBURG (41) — Kyra Skurcenski 1 0-0 3, Jordan Hertz 3 1-2 8, Kourtney Landis 5 4-6 14, Maya Gelnett 0 0-0 0, Suzy Badorf 1 4-7 6, Missy Fullard 0 0-0 0, Rachel Deveney 0 0-0 0, Kacey Campbell 0 2-2 2, Natalie Patterson 0 0-0 0, Cecily Carl 3 2-2 8, Gabriela Huggins 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 13-19 41.

SHIPPENSBURG (29) — Kara Newell 2 0-0 4, Drew Lovett 1 0-0 2, Courtney Coy 1 0-0 2, Morgan Fetter 0 0-0 0, Kayleen Sydnor 1 0-2 2, Nicole Baker 0 0-0 0, Brooke Barrett 0 0-1 0, Natalie Nye 2 1-4 6, Denice Lovett 1 0-2 4, Mariah Martin 4 1-2 9. Totals: 12 2-11 29.

3-point goals — Mechanicsburg 2 (Kyra Skurcenski 1, Jordan Hertz 1), Shippensburg 1 (Natalie Nye 1).

Boys Basketball falters against Shippensburg

Article by Brett Keener, The Sentinel/Photos by Curt Werner, The Sentinel

For the full article and photos of the game, click here.

MECHANICSBURG —Both coaches in Monday’s Mid-Penn crossover matchup between Shippensburg and Mechanicsburg thought the Greyhounds were in danger of experiencing a letdown.

The Shippensburg players, however, made it clear they believed in no such thing.

Three days after scoring a heart-stopping road win over previously unbeaten Boiling Springs, Shippensburg went to Mechanicsburg and claimed a 60-33 victory over the Wildcats, dispelling any notions that the Greyhounds might have been satisfied by their earlier victory.

“Hopefully tonight they gave a little bit of insight into how good they can be,” Ship coach Ray Staver said. “We haven’t played anywhere close to that all year. I thought we really put four quarters together.

“Sometimes when you have a big win like that (against Boiling Springs), you have a letdown. We tried to guard against that. We kept telling them there was a big difference between 5-3 and 6-2 at the Christmas break, and they bought into that.”

Shippensburg again brought the defense that had powered its hot start to the season, and the Wildcats struggled from the very start to generate points against the Greyhounds. Mechanicsburg had a confounding first quarter in which it committed no turnovers or fouls but missed its first 13 shots from the field, and the Greyhounds took advantage of the drought to run to a 10-4 lead after the first.

The Wildcats were able to put up 15 field goal attempts in that opening quarter thanks to strong offensive rebounding, but none of them fell until Breon Coke’s bucket with 1:46 to go in the frame.

“We couldn’t get one to go,” Mechanicsburg coach Bob Strickler said. “At that point somebody has to step up. I was actually happy because we were killing the offensive glass. We were missing layups, we were missing good looks at threes, but I was happy with shot selection.”

Mechanicsburg stabilized in the second and was able to close to within 15-11 after Austin Pittenger’s bucket with five minutes to go in the half. But Ship responded with a game-changing run over those final five minutes, getting points from five different players in a 15-3 closing kick that was punctuated by Zaen Miller’s buzzer-beating three pointer. Miller’s triple made it 30-14 at the break.

The Wildcats appeared poised to turn things around as the second half opened, with Coke stroking a three-pointer on Mechanicsburg’s first shot of the third quarter. But that was answered by another Shippensburg run, this time an 8-0 spurt with scoring contributions from three different players, including a pair of baskets from Wade Mills.

That short run pushed the Greyhound advantage to 38-17 with 5:24 to go in the third quarter, and Mechanicsburg was never able to cut the lead to fewer than 17 points the rest of the way. In the end the Wildcats became the seventh of Ship’s eight opponents this season to be held to fewer than 50 points.

“I thought they were very well prepared,” Strickler said. “I actually kind of felt good about their win against Boiling Springs. They showed their maturity. They didn’t come and lay an egg.”

Ship’s Mills had a game-high 15 points and pulled down six rebounds, while teammate Bryce Hastings netted 13 points. Mechanicsburg was led by Snyder’s nine points and Cade Alioth’s 11 rebounds.

GREYHOUNDS 60, WILDCATS 33

Shippensburg 10 20 18 12 — 60

Mechanicsburg 4 10 9 10 — 33

Shippensburg (60)— Teagan Staver 2 0-0 5, Nick Rockwell-Jacoby 2 1-3 5, Bryce Hastings 6 1-3 13, Wade Mills 6 3-4 15, Zaen Miller 3 1-2 9, Derek Lovett 1 0-0 2, Emmitt Geiger 2 0-0 4, Cody Gustafson 0 2-2 2, Payton Fridinger 1 0-0 3, Brendon Cullen 1`0-0 2, Shuntan Hickman 0 0-0 0, Garret Cavanaugh 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 8-14 60.

Mechanicsburg (33) — Austin Pittenger 2 0-0 4, Breon Coke 2 2-2 7, Kyle Scheib 1 0-0 3, Cade Alioth 0 1-4 1, Eric Herbein 2 0-0 4, Brad Powell 1 0-0 2, Dylan Snyder 4 0-0 9, Jeray Anderson 0 1-2 1, Nathan Vrabel 0 2-2 2, Shane Homick 0 0-0 0, Kaden Knepper 0 0-0 0, David Kovalchik 0 0-0 0, Doug Edgar 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 6-10 33.

Three-point goals: Shippensburg 4 (Miller 2, Staver 1, Fridinger 1); Mechanicsburg 3 (Coke 1, Scheib 1, Snyder

Wrestling opens season with first day at CV Tournament

Article by Perry Mattern, The Sentinel/Photos by Michael Bupp, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

Somewhat surprisingly, Mechanicsburg was able to place three semifinalists. Sophomore Brayden Wills had an easy road in the bottom of the 138-pound bracket, securing a major decision 9-1 win in round one followed by a pin in his quarterfinal match.

Senior Tristen Skelly used a first-round pin and a 7-4 decision over CV’s Jacob Schalles in the quarters to secure his spot in the final four of the 160 spots. Fellow senior Jonathan Vega had to work a bit harder with decision wins of 7-3 and 3-2 make the semifinals.

“Jonathan Vega – he’s laid back,” Mechanicsburg coach Greg Budman said. “We start screaming at him to try and get him to score and be more aggressive. He’s just a laid back kid.

“I think everybody’s wrestled well. We’re doing extremely well for as young of a team as we have.”

Girls Basketball opens season with win over Eastern York

Article by Mike Rubin, Gametimepa.com

For the full article, click here.

The Rockets will face Mechanicsburg in Saturday’s championship game. The Wildcats defeated Eastern York, 47-27.

“It feels great,” head coach Clay McAllister said. “We took care of the ball pretty well and were able to get the win.”

Holding only a two-point lead heading into the half, Mechanicsburg came out and out-scored Eastern York 17-2 in the third quarter to cruise to victory.

The tide turned midway through the third quarter when junior guard Jordan Hertz drilled a 3-pointer to extend the Wildcat lead to five points.

Mechanicsburg’s defense and ball pressure forced Eastern York into 24 turnovers, many of which led to easy baskets.

“We hang our hat on our defense, and that’s what we try to do,” he said. “Early in the first half we weren’t doing a good job of keeping our man in front of us and I think we did a better job in the second half and it showed.”

Senior forwards Kourtney Landis and Cecily Carr led the Wildcats with 11 points a piece. Eastern York was led by Hannah Myers’ eight points.

Contact Mike Rubin at 717-637-3736 ext 143

Mechanicsburg 47, Eastern 27

Eastern YORK (27)

Catherine Tillotson 2 0-0 4, Brook LaCesa 0 0-0 0, Leah Myers 2 1-2 5, Ashley Dietz 0 0-0 0, Kiersten Grove 1 0-0 2, Hannah Myers 3 2-2 8, Bri Pfeiffer 1 0-0 2, Haley Nalls 2 2-4 6.

Totals — 11 5-8 27

Mechanicsburg (47)

Kyra Skurcenski 1 1-2 4, Jordan Hertz 4 0-0 9, Kourtney Landis 4 3-9 11, Maya Gelnett 1 0-2 2, Suzy Badorf 1 3-4 6, Melissa Fullard 1 0-0 3, Rachel Deveney 0 1-2 1, Cecily Carl 4 3-5 11.

Totals — 16 12-28 47.

Eastern York 5 10 4 8 27
Mechanicsburg 9 8 17 13 47

3-point goals — EY 0, M 3 (Skurcenski, Hertz, Fullard)

Boys Basketball drops season opener to Hempfield

Article by Jake Adams, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

Things didn’t go as well for Mechanicsburg in the first game of Friday’s tournament.

The Wildcats, with a roster full of inexperience and new faces, showed they have plenty of room for improvement, falling to Hempfield, 66-51.

“I think it’s definitely, in my 11 years, it’s the most unprepared I’ve felt coming into opening night,” Mechanicsburg coach Rob Strickler said. “Normally we hit the ground running and that’s an advantage for us.”

Boiling Springs transfer Austin Pittenger made his Wildcats debut off the bench, leading the team with 17 points. But he also led them with five turnovers on the night.

Kyle Scheib had a solid night in his first start, finishing with 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting, including a pair of treys. And Breon Coke finished with nine points while Cade Alioth snagged a game-high eight rebounds.

But Mechanicsburg couldn’t overcome offensive struggles, shooting 19-of-50 from the field and just 9-for-21 from the charity stripe.

And the defense was uncharacteristically gashed. Hempfield’s Bryan Karl finished with a game-high 23 points, making more than 80 percent of his shots. The Black Knights finished 28-of-46 on the night, blowing the game open with a 26-point second quarter.

But Strickler won’t panic yet. He knows the team is vastly different than a year ago and the pieces are still falling into place. But the Wildcats must take care of business today.

“Tomorrow night’s a big night for us,” Strickler said. “I’m never disappointed if I walk out of here 1-1. 0-2’s a bad thing, 1-1 is not the end of the world.”

Mechanicsburg plays South Western in the consolation game at 5:30.

Email Jake Adams at jadams@cumberlink.com or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520