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Trojans' crusade is halted

February 03, 1999

Bishop McDevitt vs. ChambersburgBy MARK KELLER / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Bishop McDevitt coach Jim Rowe knows how important Adam Underkoffler is to the Chambersburg boys basketball team.

Underkoffler, who missed the Trojans' first seven games with an elbow injury, made his return to the lineup against Bishop McDevitt in late December. The senior guard scored 17 points in that victory to spark a Chambersburg streak of eight wins in 10 games.

[cont. from sports page]

So Rowe made plans for Underkoffler Tuesday night. The Crusaders played a diamond-and-one defense, with Chris Crouthamel shadowing Underkoffler's every move on the offensive end.

Underkoffler managed just five shots from the field, while Bishop McDevitt's Vince Pease scored 31 points to lead the Crusaders to a 72-63 win over the Trojans in a Mid Penn Commonwealth game.

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It was the first conference loss in the second half for the No. 8 Trojans (11-7, 4-1), who also had a seven-game winning streak halted.

"We felt he was the key for them, not only as far as points, but as a floor leader," Rowe said. "We were able to take the ball out of his hands and make the other guys handle the ball."

Mike Buhrman led Chambersburg with 22 points, but Underkoffler was held to half of his scoring average. And nobody made up the difference for the Trojans.

"Somebody always seemed to step up and do the job before," said Trojans coach Shawn Shreffler. "There's no reason why we came out flat. I have no idea why we did. The kids used a good work ethic to get a seven-game winning streak, but they forgot that."

But Underkoffler's relative absence in the scoring column was the least of Chambersburg's problems. The Trojans' defense all but disappeared in the second quarter, allowing the Crusaders to string together a 12-3 run and take a 25-15 lead.

"Defense has been one constant that we've had during the (winning) streak, but we didn't have it tonight," Shreffler said. "We weren't sinking to take away their cuts to the basket. We were standing on the perimeter watching them, and that's disappointing."

The second quarter was when Pease made his presence known, as well. He had 13 points in the period, including three 3-pointers, to push the Crusaders to a 34-25 lead at the half.

But every time the Trojans seemed in danger of losing sight of McDevitt - such as a 7-2 Crusaders run at the start of the third - they crawled back into the game. A 3-pointer from the top of the key by Ryan Statum ignited a 14-6 burst by the Trojans, pulling them back to within six at 47-41.

McDevitt led by 10 at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Trojans again stormed back. They got back to within one, 56-55, with 3 minutes 39 seconds left. But Brian Santo converted a three-point play and the Crusaders hit 10 of 11 free throws down the stretch to ice the win.

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