Two winning streaks are on the line in tonight's Mid Penn Commonwealth Division boys basketball matchup between the Chambersburg Trojans and the Harrisburg Cougars.
The Trojans (7-3, 3-3 MPC) will play host at 7:30 tonight at CASHS Field House and will attempt to hand the Cougars (10-1, 6-0) their first division loss.
"They'll probably be the one team that provides the most pressure that we're going to face this season," Chambersburg Beau Gantz said. "They'll be playing us end to end."
The Trojans are on a four-game winning streak after dropping two Commonwealth games in a row, while the Cougars have won seven consecutive games. Their only loss this season came at the hands of York - a 67-60 defeat.
Both of these squads hang their hats on defense, but Harrisburg is also an offensively potent team. The Cougars average more than 73 points a game and have not scored fewer than 60 this season. The Trojans, on the other hand, are averaging just over 50, and the most they've scored in a game this year is just 67.
Harrisburg will attempt to hold the Trojans to that trend and continue a strong defensive season.
"We need to play good team defense and rebound at the end of every possession," Harrisburg coach Kirk Smallwood said. "We want to play an up-tempo game and play poised basketball."
Three Cougars are averaging in double figures - Jahaad Proctor (13.6 points per game), Shaquon Sheppard (12.7) and Steven Stoney (10.6). They also hvae a strong point guard in Jerel Patterson, who averages nearly seven points a game and runs a very smooth offense.
"They're a big and broad team," Gantz said. "We'll have to do a bang-up job on the boards because they definitely like to crash the boards."
The Trojans will see the return of 6-foot-8 senior Mitch Stahl, who missed the last game while playing in a club volleyball tournament in California. Stahl has been a great asset to the Trojans, as he is averaging nearly 10 points a game.
"Absolutely, that will help us to have him back," Gantz said. "You just can't teach 6-8. He's filled into his role nicely and figured out how to fit in."
Gantz said he is especially happy with the way the Trojans have been playing the past four games. Although two of the four victories were by just six points, he said he feels like his team has made tremendous strides.
"I think the kids, especially our football players, are finally coming around," Gantz said. "I think they're getting their basketball legs together, and we're starting to gel as a team."
Kellen Williams (16.2 ppg), Stahl and Tay Charles are the only current starters who played consistently at the varsity level last year. Because the team did not play much together last season, Gantz said they just needed some time to work out the kinks.
"We have a lot back, but a lot of them played JV last year," Gantz said. "They really hadn't played together for a long period of time, but now, they're finally comfortable with one another, and things are starting to work."
Lizi Arbogast can be reached at 262-4788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cougars-Trojans at a glance
Game data: Harrisburg Cougars at Chambersburg Tojrans ... Tonight, 7:30, at CASHS Field House ... Mid Penn Commonwealth Division game.
Teams: Chambersburg (7-3, 3-3 MPC) won its last game 60-45 over Mifflin County ... Harrisburg (10-1, 6-0) narrowly defeated State College, 72-69, on Friday.
Media: Follow @liziarbogast for live tweets from the game ... The game will also be livestreamed on www.GameTimePA.com and www.publicopiniononline.com.
P.O. pick: Harrisburg by 4.