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Rams don't horse around with Trojans

December 15, 2005|by CHRIS CARTER /Staff Correspondent

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. Central Dauphin guard Jalon Bransford shut down Chambersburg leading scorer Jonathan Motichka and made a key basket in the final minute to help the Rams outlast the Trojans 61-59 in Mid-Penn Commonwealth action Wednesday night.

Bransford held the versatile Motichka to four points, a fraction of his 21.6 point average coming into the game.

"I just stayed in front of (Motichka)," Bransford said. "You have to be aware of everything he can do with the ball and just try to stay with him."

Motichka later fouled out.

"When your leading scorer doesn't score half of what he averages then you can't count on a win," said Trojans coach Shawn Shreffler.

Still, with its leading scorer shut down and in foul trouble, Chambersburg (2-2, 0-2) managed to hang with the Rams (4-1, 3-0). The Trojans trailed 53-52 inside the fi nal minute when Bransford came up big on the offensive end. After a Central Dauphin timeout, forward Casey McMasters inbounded the ball underneath the basket to a wide-open Bransford, who laid in the easy basket to up the lead to 55-52 with just 46 seconds remaining.

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"That was key," said Rams coach Marty Hasenfuss. "The funny part is we weren't trying to get it to (Bransford), but he got open and made the play."

"My man wasn't looking at me and he just lost me. I was wide-open," said Bransford, who finished with 12 points.

McMasters made four free throws down the stretch and Mark Mackey shook off five missed foul shots earlier in the fourth quarter, making a pair with 18 seconds left to help seal the win.

"I had confidence that (Mackey) would make foul shots because he's got the experience" said Hasenfuss. "He's started for three years and is the kind of player that can regroup after a bad shot."

Chambersburg never got closer than three until Aaron Hill heaved a meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer. Hill led the Trojans with 14 points.

"Anytime we can come in here and get a win it's nice because their a well-coached team," said Hasenfuss.

The two teams battled back and forth throughout the game and it was the team that could pull away first that was going to hold the advantage. That team turned out to be the Rams, but not until the waning minutes.

Chambersburg held leads of six points three times in the first half, but sent the Rams to the charity stripe 13 times to help keep the game close. Central Dauphin didn't match the biggest lead of six until late in the third quarter, when Marcus Sewell took command with nine of his game-high 20 points and the Rams took advantage of 10 trips to the foul line.

"The game became a half-court kind of game and I think that magnified the foul shots," Shreffler said.

The Rams finished the game with 37 at tempts from the foul line, cashing in 27 times. The Trojans were also efficient, but on a much smaller scale, making 11 of 13.

Mackey finished with 14 points and Masters added nine for the Rams.

Tyler Riley had 10 points and nine assists for the Trojans.

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