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State's #1 tops Trojans

January 22, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Harrisburg boys basketball team proved that speed can be slightly overrated.

The Cougars showed that if you really want to win a race, control the pace.

Harrisburg used three quick scoring bursts to get ahead of Chambersburg on Tuesday, but when it came down to it, the Cougars' ability to become methodical proved to be the Trojans' downfall in a 73-59 Mid Penn victory. Validation came in the form of 30 foul shots - 17 made - to put the game away.

"We're evolving," Harrisburg coach Kirk Smallwood said. "We can play fast but we can spread the floor and create mismatches."

Pennsylvania's top-rated Class AAAA team showed the versatility needed to remain No. 1 by picking its spots to run and then kicking it down a notch or three to reduce Chambersburg's defensive efforts to a game of chase in the game's final 4:41.

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With fouls mounting and an inability to totally shake the Trojans (9-9), Smallwood called timeout with a 56-48 lead.

The Cougars returned to the floor, with a smaller lineup, and immediately tried to ice the game via a delay game.

"We weren't surprised," Chambersburg coach Shawn Shreffler said. "The situation dictated it. We tried to go to a 1-3-1 trap to get some turnovers. We got close to a couple of steals. If we could have come up with them and got scores, it might have been different."

Harrisburg (15-0) opened the slowdown portion of the program by burning 80 seconds off the clock before the Trojans found themselves in the position to foul to stay in the game. A string of 15 fouls in the last 3:21 kept the Cougars marching to the line.

Derek Thompson was the steadiest for Harrisburg, hitting on 9 of 14 chances to finish with 15 points while Clarence Sinkler hit 6 of 8 - and four 3s - to top the Cougars' scorers with 18.

"We had the right guys shooting (the foul shots)," Smallwood said. "(Pace) was the key to the whole game. If we allowed them to, Chambersburg would have taken it over, but we wanted to dictate the tempo."

Chambersburg's fouling ploy lost some of its viability when the Trojans went cold from the floor. The Trojans managed one basket - a drive by Bryan Bender with 2:24 remaining - during 4 1/2-minute span as the deficit grew from eight points to 67-50.

"They forced us to foul and they hit their free throws," Shreffler said. "You can come down and hit 3s and try to trade them two for three (points), but we couldn't get the shots to fall."

Chambersburg never led after falling behind 7-0 in the opening 2 1/2 minutes. The Trojans stayed within striking distance until the Cougars' third scoring burst - a 7-0 run - established a 43-32 lead.

Harrisburg led 53-43 after three quarters until Chambersburg scored the first five points of the final eight minutes, keyed by a 3 and a foul shot by Jonathan Motichka, who finished with 12 points.

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