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Trojans arrive in time to turn back Bulldogs

February 07, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg girls basketball team spent the first half as if on a bricklaying job, but when the Trojans decided to return to the high school gym, they turned Martinsburg's great first half into a nightmare and ended up with a 64-47 victory over the Bulldogs on Monday night.

"We decided to show up around 8 or so," mused Trojans coach Brad Rideout, munching on a piece of postgame cake celebrating a birthday victory.

Out of the PIAA playoffs and hopeful of finishing at .500, Chambersburg (11-12) was awful in the first half, hitting 6 of 35 from the floor (17 percent), while Martinsburg (6-12) dominated end-to-end, including a whopping 32-19 margin on the boards.

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"No doubt, it was the best first half all year for us," said Martinsburg coach Beth Sedlar. "We moved well on defense, hit the offensive boards and held (Chambersburg) to one and out. But all good teams adjust."

LaToya Buckner led the Bulldogs with eight first-half points and Iesha Robinson led the board-bashing with seven as Martinsburg rolled to a 27-19 halftime lead.

While Martinsburg was rolling, the Trojans were laying bricks from everywhere. Logan Lentz went 1-for-12 and only Allee Rife's 10-point, nine-rebound first half kept the Trojans in the game.

"That first half was as bad as we've played all year," said Rideout. "I wondered if they were ready to play at all."

Lentz, one of Chambersburg's most consistent players all season, couldn't find any touch.

"I was off and the team was off," said Lentz. "Maybe we didn't have any focus. We just didn't have it early, but we knew we couldn't give them a chance. They're not as strong as Mid-Penn teams."

Out of the locker room, Martinsburg opened the second half with a vengeance as Buckner knocked down five straight points for a 32-19 lead with six minutes remaining.

Suddenly, Chambersburg's full-court press began to make a statement and Courtney Salmon and Ashley Benedict were finding the shooting touch. The press was instrumental in forcing Martinsburg to turn the ball over 13 times in the period. Ten of those turnovers directly contributed to 15 Chambersburg points.

Benedict hit a pair of deuces and a 3-pointer as the Trojans went on a 13-0 run, capped by a three-point play by Rife, who put back a miss by Salmon and converted the free throw to knot the score 32-32 - all in 90 seconds.

Chambersburg took its first lead of the contest at 38-37 when Salmon drilled a left-wing 3-pointer with 1:47 remaining. The Trojans finished the period with a 42-37 lead.

"I told (the players) at halftime they know they are better than what they showed," said Rideout. "They stepped it up and Courtney and Ashley ... I'm tickled pink how they stepped up."

Rife hit all four of her shots, Lentz found the range with a pair of 3s and a deuce and the Trojans were up 56-43 with 5:15 left, beginning to salt away the contest.

"Our inexperience showed some and (Chambersburg) hit their shots and worked the press and our passing game wasn't there to beat their defense," Sedlar said.

Rife, a junior, led Chambersburg with 21 points, including 7 of 7 from the free throw line, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Lentz, also a junior, finished with 13 points, while Salmon and Benedict each had 11.

Buckner and Rachel Hull each had 15 points for Martinsburg. Robinson had 15 rebounds and Buckner finished with 11 as the Bulldogs commanded the boards, 56-35.

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