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Trojans fall in the main attraction

January 10, 2007|by DAN KAUFFMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The gym was packed, the doors locked and fans turned away before No. 1 Chambersburg's Mid-Penn Commonwealth showdown against Harrisburg on Tuesday night.

That is, before the junior varsity game.

"I told our kids to enjoy it," Trojans coach Shawn Shreffler said of the atmosphere. "It was a special situation."

Those who got there early enough for the battle of unbeatens between the Trojans, ranked No. 10 in the Pennsylvania Class AAAA rankings, and the No. 2-ranked Cougars got their money's worth.

For one half, Chambersburg even appeared capable of an upset. But the second half brought those dreams crashing down, as Harrisburg asserted its physical superiority on the inside to muscle to a 67-50 victory and hand the Trojans their first loss.

The Cougars (11-0, 8-0) outrebounded Chambersburg (10-1, 7-1) 34-21 and scored 14 points off offensive rebounds. In all, Harrisburg scored 50 of its 67 points inside the paint.

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"We wanted to get as many easy opportunities as we could," Cougars coach Kirk Smallwood said. "We're not a good 3-point shooting team, so we wanted to get some dribble-drives and some layups."

Harrisburg took leads of 6-2 and 13-6 in the first quarter before Chambersburg closed the period on a 7-2 run to close to 15-13. Armond Perez scored a field goal inside and a 3-pointer from the top of the key in the run.

The Trojans took their only lead of the game at 16-15 just 15 seconds into the second quarter on Perez's second 3 from the same spot. Alphonso Dawson answered 22 seconds later with a three-point play, getting fouled on a baseline jumper and making the free throw for an 18-16 Harrisburg lead.

Chambersburg tied the game at 18-all and later at 26-all before a 6-0 Harrisburg run made it 32-26 with 35 seconds to play in the half. Aaron Hill's drive and layup with five seconds left made it 32-28 at halftime. Perez scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half for the Trojans.

"I think in the first half, we didn't really get a feel for the crowd," Smallwood said. "It was a new environment for us. In the second half, we dug down and did what we needed to do. It was a matter of making some adjustments."

What the Cougars did was outscore the Trojans 17-8 over the first seven minutes of the second half to pull out to a 13-point lead. Chambersburg never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

"I didn't think we came out well in the third quarter," Shreffler said. "We gave ourselves a shot with how we played in the first half. We knew they were going to come at us (in the second half), and we didn't handle it well."

Dawson and Ricardo Brown each had 15 points and Jhordan Royal added 14 for Harrisburg.

Nate Strickler matched Perez with 12 points for Chambersburg.

"We've got to keep our priorities," Shreffler said. "We want to finish first or second in the league, and that goal is still there."

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