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Trojans learn hard lesson at wrong time

February 09, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Having already defeated Harrisburg earlier this season in the Cougars' home gym, the No. 6 Chambersburg boys basketball team hoped to recreate that victory at home on Friday in the PIAA District 3-AAAA play-in round.

Instead, the Trojans were done in by the basics -- rebounding and foul shooting.

Harrisburg won the battle of the boards 38-26, and while Chambersburg took 28 foul shots to the Cougars' six, the Trojans missed 11 of them. It added up to a 58-52 loss and the end of Chambersburg's season.

"For many of these guys, it was unfortunately a learning experience for them," Trojans coach Shawn Shreffler said. "It's a shame we weren't able to play closer to our best basketball."

Chambersburg (12-11) played well in the first quarter to take a 17-15 lead. Although Quincy Roberts scored 13 points in the period for Harrisburg (13-10) -- including a tomahawk slam on a breakaway, one of his three monster jams -- the Trojans countered with DeVonté Merritt, who scored nine of his 12 points in the first quarter and was a major reason Chambersburg outrebounded the Cougars 14-8 in the first eight minutes. Armond Perez and Garrett Sanders each hit a 3-pointer in the quarter.

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"I thought early on we were very focused on the glass," Shreffler said. "We limited them to one and done. It wasn't just our big guys, we did a good job boxing out and our guards got some as well. But as the game wore on, we weren't getting the first clean board. Their physicalness wore on us."

Harrisburg opened the second quarter with a 13-3 run over the first six minutes to take a 28-20 lead, leading to an 30-24 advantage at the break.

Roberts went to the bench with his third foul at the 3:32 mark after scoring just two points in the quarter, but point guard Eric Henry stepped up with six of his 10 points in the period. Meanwhile, Chambersburg made just 1 of 7 shots and turned the ball over nine times.

"I didn't think we were strong with the ball," Shreffler said. "They play so much pressure (defense). What we started to do was take the first shot we got, instead of being patient and strong with the ball and going inside.

"We didn't get the ball to DeVonté. The first period, he shot the ball well, but we stopped going in to him and started shooting outside."

Roberts stayed on the bench for the entire third quarter, but Harrisburg's 6-0 run to start the period made it 36-24. Chambersburg cut the lead down to 42-38 by the end of the quarter, with Perez coming alive for six points in the final four minutes.

Undaunted, Harrisburg scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter for a 52-38 lead with five minutes left.

"We did a great job putting (Roberts) in (foul trouble), but we didn't take advantage," Shreffler said. "Give Harrisburg credit, they got in our face defensively, and we didn't handle it well."

Chambersburg made one last push, cutting the lead to 54-50 with a minute left. In doing so, Perez hit a 3-pointer with four minutes left to give him 1,000 points in his career. He finished with 17 points Friday and 1,002 as a Trojan.

"I didn't realize I got it until everybody stood up," Perez said. "I didn't know what to do. ... My mom told me to give her the ball when I got it. I was hesitant to go up there, but I did."

"I'm certainly proud of him and his accomplishment," Shreffler said. "He's been huge for us all year long."

Henry made two foul shots to give Harrisburg a 56-50 lead with 34.5 seconds left. Chambersburg turned the ball over on its next possession, leading to the last of Roberts' game-high 23 points -- a breakaway, windmill two-handed reverse dunk that iced the game with 14 seconds left.

Harrisburg finished 27 for 60 from the field and 3 for 6 from the foul line. Chambersburg made 15 of 39 shots.

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