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Trojans can't stop Harrisburg

December 10, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Harrisburg Cougars shall not lose at home.

Steel-High broke that commandment of Mid-Penn Conference boys basketball, and Chambersburg paid for it.

The three-time defending Commonwealth Division champion Cougars smacked the Trojans 62-28 in front of a packed Chambersburg house in division action Tuesday night - one night after Steel-High beat Harrisburg 70-64 to snap the Cougars' 57-game home winning streak.

"We played with more of a purpose tonight. We were more focused," Harrisburg coach Kirk Smallwood said. "We got smacked in the mouth at home last night and that hasn't happened in a long time."

The way the Trojans (3-2, 2-1) shot Tuesday night - 20 percent (10 of 50) from the field - they would have had trouble beating anyone.

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The Cougars (2-2, 2-1), who shot 44 percent (22 of 50) from the floor, opened the first half with an 8-0 run and ended it even stronger, taking a 32-14 halftime lead.

"We came out and didn't compete right away," Chambersburg coach Shawn Shreffler said. "I hate to use the word 'scared' but it seems we were in a little awe of the whole situation. For a lot of our guys, it was a first - their first Harrisburg game and their first huge crowd.

"Harrisburg came in and was on a mission and played really hard. Even though we didn't match it early we kind of got that bounce to us and made somewhat of a comeback."

After Chambersburg's Colby Nitterhouse connected for a 3-point play to cut the Trojans' deficit to 20-14 with 2:11 remaining in the second period, Harrisburg ripped off 12 unanswered points to take the commanding halftime lead. Jamal Jackson fueled the breakaway with a pair of 3s in the final minute, including a buzzer-beater as the half expired.

"With two minutes left in the second quarter, we were still in the basketball game, and then they hit three 3s in the final minute," Shreffler said. "We didn't match up their shooters and that really, really hurt."

Chambersburg never got within sniffing distance the rest of the way. Harrisburg outscored the Trojans 10-8 in the third quarter and 20-6 in the fourth, holding Chambersburg scoreless the final six minutes.

"We got tons of great looks ... but I guess right now we're not ready to make those shots," Shreffler said. "I'm hoping with a little experience, we'll make those shots and be there at the end of the game.

"It's a disappointing way to lose, certainly, but we have to keep in perspective the big picture. We're 2-1 in the league and we have a big game (at Central Dauphin) Friday."

Nitterhouse and Chas Rahauser led Chambersburg with nine points each.

For Harrisburg, Willliam Royal had 15 points, Joenelle Jackson 13, Jamal Jackson 11 and Bernard Brown 10.

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