By the time the final buzzer sounded Friday night, though, the Trojans were feeling at home in Waynesboro, topping the Rockets, 58-43.
"I thought based on our scrimmages that this was the best we've played," Chambersburg coach Jenny Schmutzler said. "We had like four or five situations with girls on the floor after loose balls - they did slow it down when we needed to slow it down, so I see growth in their basketball IQ and their hustle."
The win sets up Chambersburg to face off against Greencastle-Antrim in tonight's final (7:00), while JB will meet Waynesboro in the consolation (4:00).
In the first quarter it seemed like neither team wanted to score first.
Trojan guard Tayana Harrison finally broke the ice at the 5:11 mark, sinking her first of eight successful free throws on the night. Over the next two minutes, Chambersburg found its groove, opening up a 6-0 advantage before JB finally got on the board on a Cheyenne Carbaugh jumper with 2:55 left.
From there Carbaugh took over, accounting for all six of her team's points as the Rockets closed the gap to 7-6 at the end of the quarter.
James Buchanan tied things up on a Rochelle Timmons layup early in the second period, but that was enough to jolt the Trojans' Marshay Ryan into action.
The Chambersburg captain responded on the next possession, driving to the rim for a three-point play, giving the Trojans the lead once again, 11-8.
That got Harrison and Ryan rolling for a huge second-quarter surge that included a 10-0 Chambersburg run. The two combined for 19 of the Trojans' 23 points in the quarter.
By the half, Chambersburg had sprinted ahead, 30-20.
Darra Walker wasn't about to let the momentum slip away for the Trojans to start the second half. She drained the game's only 3-pointer to keep the pressure on the Rockets. For every shot JB sank, Chambersburg had an answer.
But despite trailing by 13 heading into the final eight minutes of the game, the Rockets were not discouraged.
"I was proud of the effort," James Buchanan coach Rick Cristofano said. "To be down 10 points at halftime, and down 13 at the end of the third quarter - we were right in the game until the end."
That very effort was clear with JB knocking down the final two baskets in the game.
Though happy with the win, Schmutzler was slightly concerned with the slow start and messy finish to the game by her girls.
"Our turnover-to-steal ratio was pretty good tonight, but I did tell them the beginning and the end of the game is very important, and four of our turnovers came in the last probably three or four minutes of the game," Schmutzler said. "That's kind of crunch time when you need to have that relax and just kind of take it slow mentality."
Ryan finished as the game's high scorer with 20 points, and rebounder with 14.
"I know I could still improve on a few things," Ryan said. "It's just the first game and with what I put into the game, I'm pretty proud of myself."
Harrison's strong start continued through the fourth quarter as she helped the Trojans with 16 points. Crystal Thomas did her part for Chambersburg at the defensive end, accounting for four of the team's 12 steals.
The Rockets spread their 43 points among 10 players - a stat the will help explain Cristofano's positive outlook, despite the loss.
"Well, obviously I would've liked to have won," Cristofano said. "But we're way ahead of where we were at this time last year, so we're happy with that."
Jeff Kolb can be reached at 262-4819 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Buchanan 43
Darra Walker 2 1-4 11, Tayana Harrison 4 8-12 16, Marshay Ryan 7 6-12 20, Shannon Edwards 2 1-3 5, Mandy Bell 0 0-0 0, Crystal Thomas 1 0-0 2, Kaitlyn Rush 2 0-0 4, Claire Jacobs 0 0-0 0, Angeline Hang 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 19-31 58.
Rochelle Timmons 2 3-6 7, Kylea Mongold 1 0-0 2, Bailey Wagner 0 1-2 1, Cheyenne Carbaugh 3 3-6 9, Jess Moquin 2 0-1 4, Jennae Piper 4 0-0 8, Taylor Gorman 1 0-0 2, Bailey Wagner 0 2-2 2, Jenna Carbaugh 0 2-2 2, Tristen Amsley 3 0-0 6, Charity Miller 0 0-0 0, Candice Plessinger 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 11-19 43.
Chambersburg 7 23 12 16 - 58
James Buchanan 6 14 9 14 - 43
3-point shots - Chbg 1 (Walker). Rebounds - Chbg 29 (Ryan 14); JB 33 (Moquin 10). Assists - Chbg 11 (Harrison, Ryan 3); JB 6. Steals - Chbg 12 (Thomas 4); JB 4. Turnovers - Chbg 15, JB 16. Blocked shots - Chbg 2 (Ryan, Jacobs); JB 2.