The fourth quarter was all she wrote for the Chambersburg Trojans in Tuesday night's Mid Penn Commonwealth Division rematch of last year's District 3 Class AAAA championship.
After being down by as many as 14, then clawing their way back to trail by just four heading into the final quarter, the Chambersburg boys basketball team scored only two points in the fourth to ultimately fall 61-41 to the Harrisburg Cougars.
"We definitely made a lot of mental mistakes, we broke down and we were just rushing everything," Trojan senior Kyle Myers said. "Coach (Beau Gantz) was telling us that they were going to put a lot of pressure on us, and we couldn't figure out how to handle that."
Harrisburg (11-1, 7-0 MPC) went on a roll to open the fourth quarter, and when Jahaad Proctor scored a 3-pointer to bring the lead back to double figures, it seemed like it was too late for Chambersburg.
Mitch Stahl was the only Trojan to score in the final quarter, but Proctor immediately followed with another 3-pointer to set the score at 54-41. Harrisburg began to play keepaway, and Chambersburg (7-4, 3-4 MPC) had to start fouling in order to keep the game moving at all. The Cougars were 6 of 8 from the line in the final quarter to ensure the revenge victory.
"This was a big win because they took us out of the district championship last year with a crazy comeback," Harrisburg's Steve Stoney said. "I've been wanting them since the season started, so this was a real important win for us."
Both teams came out firing in the first quarter, and it looked as if it was going to be an offensive showdown. The lead changed hands four times in the first five minutes before Harrisburg went on a 10-0 run to end the quarter and led 24-15 after one.
Continuing that streak in the second quarter, Harrisburg led 32-18 with 5:08 left in the half. Then Chambersburg went on a run of its own, scoring 11 of the next 13 points.
Myers enjoyed a perfect third quarter, when he hit 3 of 3 from the floor. The 6-foot-2 senior finished with eight points, two assists and three rebounds.
"Kyle's our hustle guy; he's our do-everything guy," Gantz said. "He'll take a charge. He'll get an offensive rebound and put it in the basket. He hits the ball from behind and does all the things that most players don't want to do. That's what makes him so good, and that's what helps us get back in the game."
Chambersburg certainly got back in it and trailed just 43-39 at the end of the third quarter before things began to fall apart.
"The best way to get the ball up the floor (against Harrisburg) is to pass the ball up the floor, but we decided all of a sudden that we wanted to dribble up the floor, and we dribbled right into the trap," Gantz said. "They can't move as fast as you throw the basketball; it's just impossible. But if you dribble into their trap, there it is, and that's what we did."
Although Harrisburg struggled through the middle two quarters, Cougar coach Kirk Smallwood was happy with his team's play.
"There was a drought (in the second) where we had eight trips and didn't score," Smallwood said. "You can attribute some of that to their defense, but we didn't put the ball in the basket. This is high school; there are some peaks and valleys, but you have to be strong at the end of the game, and I thought we were."
Stoney led the scoring effort for the Cougars with 21 points and went 5-for-5 from the free throw line. He came off the bench and scored 11 in the first quarter to give Harrisburg the burst it needed.
"He's one of our best players, but we're trying to work out some situations with him and early fouls," Smallwood said. "We bring him off the bench, which kind of settles him down a little bit and allows him to read the game. That way, he fits in where he can. He really had it going tonight."
For Chambersburg, Evason Ogbonna was the top scorer with 14 points, and fellow senior Kellen Williams followed closely behind with 13 - all of which came in the first half. Williams added a team-leading nine rebounds and four assists.
Now halfway through the season, the Trojans know they are getting every team's best effort, and they have to always be on their A-game if they expect to be victorious.
"We were district champs last year, so a lot of teams have the main goal of knocking us off," Myers said. "We just have to come out in the next couple games, work hard and get our focus back. We're down right now, but we just need to get back in it mentally and I think we can pull through."
Lizi Arbogast can be reached at 262-4788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donald Ralls 3 1-2 8, Jerel Patterson 2 1-2 5, Jahaad Proctor 4 0-0 10, Shaquan Sheppard 2 0-0 4, Chris Britton 0 1-4 1, Steven Stoney 8 5-5 21, Austin Cooksey-Easter 1 0-0 2, Jamaal Carter 1 0-0 2, Dominique Carter 3 2-2 8, James Ezell 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 10-15 61.
Tay Charles 1 0-0 2, Kyle Myers 3 2-2 8, Aaron Sollenberger 0 0-0 0, Evason Ogbonna 5 4-5 14, Kellen Williams 6 1-3 13, Mitch Stahl 2 0-0 4, Carlin Christian 0 0-0 0, Ryan Martin 0 0-0 0, Stanley Flores 0 0-0 0, Sheldon Wenger 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 7-10 41.
Harrisburg 24 10 9 18 - 61
Chambersburg 15 12 12 2 - 41
3-point shots - Har 3 (Proctor 2, Ralls). Shooting - Har 17-40 (42.5%); Chbg 24-53 (45.3%). Rebounds - Har 25 (Ezell 7); Chbg 22 (Williams 9). Assists - Har 16 (Patterson 6); Chbg 9 (Williams 4). Steals - Har 13 (Patterson 4). Turnovers - Har 13; Chbg 21. Blocked shots - Har 2 (Stoney, Ezell); Chbg 4 (Ogbonna, Stahl 2).
Next game: Friday, at home vs. Central Dauphin East, 7:30.