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Perez comes forward as Trojans fall further back

January 17, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Would the real Armond Perez please stand up?

According to Chambersburg boys basketball coach Shawn Shreffler, the real Perez is the one who scored 19 points in the second half Wednesday night against Steel-High. The real Perez is the one who led the Trojans from a 24-point third-quarter deficit to threaten the red-hot Rollers.

Shreffler also admitted that the real Perez is the one who is not always there.

Perez scored 27 points and hauled in 11 rebounds in a resilient effort by Chambersburg, but it wasn't enough to erase an otherwise inconsistent game as the No. 5 Trojans fell 69-60 to Steel-High in Mid-Penn Commonwealth action - their fifth straight loss.

"I don't think Armond played the way he's capable of playing," Shreffler said. "It's hard to look at a kid with 27 points and 11 rebounds and say it was disappointing, but we've come to expect a lot of him. Early in the game, for whatever reason, he didn't assert himself."

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That's not the real Perez. The 6-foot-6 senior forward scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in the first half, but was absent at times as the Trojans fell behind 36-20 at halftime. And without fellow big man DeVonte Merritt because of academic ineligibility, Chambersburg (7-9, 5-7) can ill afford having Perez at anything but his best.

"Where we're at right now without DeVonte, the burden falls a bit more on (Perez)," Shreffler said. "In the second half, he didn't disappoint."

That, Shreffler said, is the real Perez. He hit each of his five 3-pointers in the second half, clicking with Ethan Jednat who assisted three of his four fourth-quarter baskets. The Trojans trailed 46-22 with 5:23 left in the third quarter, but chopped the deficit to 59-49 with 3:53 left in the game after a 10-0 run.

Perez scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and hit his final points on a trey with 54 seconds left to cut the gap to 64-57. Chambersburg got the ball back with a chance to cut the gap to five, but the Trojans turned the ball over on their next three possessions and Steel-High upped its lead to 69-57. Trojans freshman Garrett Sanders, who finished with 17 points, hit a meaningless 3 at the buzzer to make it a single-digit loss.

Chambersburg hit 10 of 14 shots - 7 of 9 from beyond the arc - in the unsuccessful fourth-quarter rally.

"Once we got to 63, I didn't think we needed to score another point to win," said Steel-High coach Mike Pilsitz. "We just had to take care of the ball and not make any dumb mistakes."

Steel-High (11-2, 8-1) has won nine straight games, including a 70-55 win over the Trojans last week. Jordan Smith led the Rollers with 17 points and six steals, while Josh Proctor scored 13 and reserve Lloyd Hill added 10. Jeff Davis had eight points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Chambersburg has seven games left and must get its record to .500 to qualify for the postseason. Shreffler expects to have Merritt back on the court by next week but Darryl Peoples, also a season-long starter who is ineligible, will not return to the team.

"We're missing a few pieces and we haven't been playing to the pieces that we have," Shreffler said. "The goal right now is to make the District 3 playoffs. I think it's realistic, but we need to get ourselves back to full strength."

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