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Trojans stop horsing around

March 02, 2001

Trojans stop horsing around



Chambersburg finds game just in time for state playoffs

By DAN SPEARS

dans@herald-mail.com

Chambersburg boys coach Shawn Shreffler knows that his Trojans walk a tenuous line. "We're very close to being a very good team," he said. "We're also close to being a mediocre team."

For the last three weeks, the Trojans have been both - at the exact right times. They lost seven of their last eight to end the regular season to show the ugly half of their game, but have turned on the jets with three surprising wins in the Class AAAA District 3 Tournament to solidify a spot in the PIAA State Tournament next week.

So what's been the difference between treading water and treading foes? Nate Holmes and Brian Schoenberg. They weren't in most of the losses, they've been there for the wins.

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"Every person is important to us," Sheffler said. "When you lose some pieces, you lose your depth. ... and with Nate, the athleticism was gone."

Holmes returned for the District 3 Tournament, but he was also joined by a new addition - Danley Shank, a 6-foot-2 junior guard who had played sparingly in the regular season.

"We knew he could play ... but we had him on the JV," Sheffler said. "We didn't think with our depth that we needed to rush him. But losing five in a row, we kinda thought, 'What do we have to lose?'"

They haven't lost at all since then, bombing Gov. Mifflin in the opening round before stunning perennial nemesis Harrisburg in the second round to secure a state tournament berth.

It was the fourth straight season the two have met in districts, and the Trojans busted a three-game losing streak by closing on a 9-0 run for a 55-49 victory.

"That was huge for the kids," Shreffler said. "We had played them well, but just hadn't gotten over the hump. ... When it came down to the end, I think that's the mental toughness we have. They'd been through the adversity and learned from it."

Chambersburg continued to show it had learned its lesson against Hempfield in the semifinals Monday, routing the Black Knights, 47-29. The Trojans held Hempfield scoreless in the second quarter.

Now, it leaves a game against Lancaster, ranked No. 1 in Pennsylvania, for the district title at 2 Saturday at Hersheypark Arena. It's the second time in two seasons the Trojans will face the top team in the state in the postseason; they were eliminated in the first round of states by Coatesville last season.

And even though Chambersburg is getting richer with every win, Shreffler hopes his team is still scraping around for loose change over the weekend.

"We've got a phrase; we call it PHD - Poor, Hungry and Determined," Shreffler said. "That's the mindset we're looking for. But there's no pressure either. If we play our best game - and we're playing our best now - we can do this.

"Now we have the confidence to make good things happen. And if this is tight ... I wouldn't bet against us."

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