But after the strong start, during which the Lady Trojans trailed by just two at halftime, they began to revert back to some of their standard mistakes. Chambersburg took a 30-27 lead just minutes into the second half. Then the Little Lions made some adjustments, went on a 12-1 run and rolled to a 49-35 victory.
"We started to get sloppy," Chambersburg coach Jenny Schmutzler said. "Their big girl (Kyla Irwin) started to kind of dominate on the other end, and we got rushed and felt like we had to match and go at that speed. We weren't running our offense quite as smooth as what we planned."
State College (5-1, 3-1 MPC) took a 13-5 lead midway through the first quarter, and it looked as if the Trojans were in for another long game. But Chambersburg (3-3, 1-3 MPC) chipped away at it and brought it down to two before the first eight minutes were up.
In the second quarter, the Trojans took advantage of some charity from the Little Lions. Chambersburg took six free throws and made all of them. That accounted for more than half of the Trojans' scoring in the second quarter and kept the game close.
At the beginning of the second half, Chambersburg tied it at 27 on a jumper from sophomore Kaitlyn Rush. The Trojans then forced a turnover, and Darra Walker took advantage. She hit an impressive three from about a foot behind the arc to give her team its first lead since the opening minute of the game.
But that's when Irwin started to take over. Over the course of the next four minutes, Irwin knocked down 10 points. The entire Chambersburg team scored one in that time.
"We didn't start out well with her," State College coach Bethany Irwin said. "She had to come out for a little bit (because of foul trouble), but at halftime, we adjusted and we tried to do a high-low action.
In fact, State College made a series of adjustments at halftime that really sealed the victory. After Irwin took the lead to six, the Little Lions never looked back. Their defense picked up its game, switched to a 1-3-1 set and held Chambersburg to just four field goals through the entire second half.
Schmutzler said, "We need to learn when we're taking good shots and when it's rushed. I feel like we did that well the first half, then in the second half, when they changed it up, we weren't running our offense like we should've been. We were just throwing up ill-advised shots."
Chambersburg senior Marshay Ryan was the only Trojan to score in the final stanza. The Little Lions did a nice job of shutting down Ryan, holding her to just nine points. With teams homing in on Ryan, Schmutzler said she's looking for another standout.
"The other teams are really focusing on Marshay; as soon as she starts to penetrate, they collapse on her," Schmutzler. "It's going to have to be somebody else. It might not be the same person every night, but somebody else has to step up and pick up a load of points for us if we're going to be able to hang."
Ryan finished the game as the Trojans' rebounding leader with eight, and she had three steals. Walker and Rush each had nine points, but the next-highest scorer for Chambersburg had just three.
Lizi Arbogast can be reached at 262-4788 or email@example.com.
State College 49
Anna Stevenson 2 2-2 6, Morgan Kaluza 0 0-0 0, Franki Treglia 1 0-1 2, Bridget King 5 3-6 13, Taylor Allison 1 1-2 4, Kyla Irwin 8 3-5 19, Carrie Mahon 0 5-7 5, Meghan Karstetter 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 14-23 49.
Darra Walker 2 4-4 9, Tayana Harrison 0 0-0 0, Crystal Thomas 0 1-2 1, Marshay Ryan 4 1-3 9, Mandy Bell 1 0-0 2, Kaitlyn Rush 3 2-2 9, Angeline Hang 1 0-0 3, Shannon Edwards 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 8-11 35.
State College 15 10 14 11 - 49
Chambersburg 13 10 8 4 - 35
3-point shots - SC 1 (Allison); Chbg 3 (Walker, Rush, Hang). Shooting - SC 17-47 (36.2%); Chbg 12-43 (27.9%). Rebounds - SC 24 (Irwin 12); Chbg 23 (Ryan 8). Assists - Chbg 6 (Walker, Harrison 2). Steals - SC 10 (Irwin 4); Chbg 6 (Ryan 3). Turnovers - SC 13, Chbg 14. Blocked shots - Chbg 1 (Rush).
JV: State College 38, Chambersburg 13.
Next game: Friday, at Central Dauphin, 7:30.