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Chambersburg's boys hold off Waynesboro

January 21, 2007|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Saturday night's Mid-Penn nondivision clash between No. 1 Chambersburg and No. 7 Waynesboro pitted two teams with similar philosophies.

Both teams like to get the rock to their big men inside and let them handle the rest.

But while both teams inched to the perimeter early in the game - Waynesboro to sharp-shooting guard Matt Anderson and Chambersburg to the stocky Jamill Whitehead - it was the Trojans' inside presence in the final minutes that proved to be the difference as they pulled ahead late and spoiled the Indians' upset bid, handing them their third straight loss, 58-52.

"Early on, I think we settled a lot," said Chambersburg coach Shawn Shreffler. "If it was going to be a little difficult to get the ball inside, we settled for a 3. We weren't strong enough with the ball to get it inside to the big guys."

That strength showed when it mattered most, with junior forwards Devonte Merritt and Armond Perez exerting the brunt of it. Merritt, who stands 6-foot-5, muscled his way in the paint to get to the free-throw line, where he scored four of his six fourth-quarter points. He scored 13 of his team-high 15 in the second half, while Perez, 6-6, scored nine of his 11 in the last two quarters.

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"We feel our strength is in the post, but certainly theirs is too," said Waynesboro coach Tom Hoffman. "It turned out they're a little longer and a little wider than we are."

Perez made perhaps the biggest play with just over one minute remaining.

With Chambersburg leading 51-50 - only its second lead of the second half - Zach Frelin toed the foul line for a 1-and-1. Frelin's first attempt rimmed out, but Perez leaped across the lane to grab the offensive rebound away from the reaching Waynesboro hands. He put it back on his way down while being fouled and converted the three-point play to give Chambersburg a 54-50 advantage.

"If that's a three-point play in the first quarter, then it's not a big issue, but in the fourth quarter, it's going to be," Hoffman said. "I don't know why three minutes sticks in my head, but that's been where we've had trouble in close games."

With three minutes left Saturday night, Chambersburg (13-2) had scored five straight points to cut its deficit to 47-45. Waynesboro's Devin Sims hit a free throw before the Trojans tied the game at 48-48 on a 3 by Aaron Hill. On Chambersburg's next possession, Nate Strickler nailed one from long range to give Chambersburg a 51-48 advantage - its first lead since midway through the third quarter.

The Trojans outscored Waynesboro 18-5 in the last five minutes.

"We knew that Waynesboro was a good basketball team coming in," Shreffler said. "And we knew they lost their last two games and they were going to be hungry."

"We didn't offensive rebound well in the first half and we gave them too many open looks. It wasn't a lack of effort, more of a lack of energy," Shreffler said.

Waynesboro (11-6) opened the game with baskets by forwards Terrell Rickard and Kline for a 4-0 lead. Chambersburg responded with a 10-0 run, fueled by two Whitehead 3s to push ahead. The Trojans led 12-9 before Kline had an offensive putback at the buzzer to cut the gap to one.

The Indians had another strong start to the second quarter on a 3 by Rickard and a steal and layup by Anderson - who also drained five 3s and scored a game-high 19 points - for a 16-12 lead. Waynesboro went into halftime with a 25-19 advantage after Anderson drained a 3 with four seconds left.

The Indians kept a lead despite Kline being on the bench with three fouls.

"Probably the frustrating part was we had a guy at the table ready to sub in right before he got his third foul," Hoffman said. "Any time you don't have your leading scorer in the game, it's going to change things, but we were able to keep the lead.

"There are peaks and valleys every season," he said. "If we didn't show up tonight with the right mindset, it was going to get ugly. I could tell in the first two minutes that it wasn't going to get ugly."

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