HARRISBURG - With the final minute of play running out and Harrisburg holding a 19-point lead, the home crowd came to its feet, belting out the Cougar victory chant - this time for win number 20.
"You don't want to go to war with the Cougars," they sang. "Don't start no stuff, won't be no stuff!"
The Cougars dictated the style of play from start to finish, beating Chambersburg 68-49 to complete a season sweep of the Mid Penn Commonwealth Division rival Trojans in Friday's boys basketball game.
What the Trojans didn't start was the game plan they'd talked over in order to stick with the third-ranked team in the state.
"Two things I reminded them of," Chambersburg coach Beau Gantz said. "If you can rebound the basketball after that wild first shot they take, and then if you can not turn the ball over, you can be in the game with them."
Chambersburg (14-7, 8-6 MPC) only brought in 14 rebounds in the game, though, allowing Harrisburg center Shaquon Sheppard to clean up on the offensive boards when not dumping in baskets off of assists from the Cougar backcourt.
"He's hard to cover in the high school game," said Harrisburg coach Kirk Smallwood of Sheppard, who finished the night with 22 points. "We work on our guards getting it into him at the proper angles, bouncing it in there fundamentally, and just letting the big guy eat."
But the Cougars truly won the game on defense.
The Cougars (20-1, 14-0 MPC) didn't make anything easy for Chambersburg by staying in a full-court press defense throughout the majority of play. When Harrisburg wasn't fast enough to stay in front of the Trojans, it wasn't afraid to make them earn their points at the free throw line.
Harrisburg committed 24 fouls in the game, with each player on the roster finishing with a foul or more, yet miraculously no Cougar fouled out.
"They wear you down. They play 12, 13 kids every night and they're unselfish," Gantz said. "They're good together as a team and they play together and that's what I think helps them."
After heading into halftime down by 10 points, Chambersburg - having cut a 14-point halftime deficit to four points heading into the fourth quarter in the first meeting between the teams - shot onto a 7-4 run that left the Cougars ahead just 37-30.
With 5:11 left in the quarter, Gantz recieved a technical foul for his reaction to a non-call on what appeared to be a foul on a putback attempt by Evason Ogbonna.
Harrisburg took advantage. Austin Cooksey-Easter hit both foul shots, starting a 14-4 run that the Trojans couldn't come back from.
Even though Chambersburg reached the free throw line 29 times - enough to get into the double-bonus at the end of the third quarter - the Trojans hit only 19 freebies.
The Cougar defense had similar success the second time around in causing Chambersburg to turn the ball over 19 times Friday after coughing up 21 turnovers in the first meeting.
"We still turned the ball over and that's something you can't do against them," Gantz said. "If you force them to set up they're not as effective."
Chambersburg did play its entire roster, spreading out the scoring among seven players.
Kellen Williams led the team with 10 points, while Ogbonna accounted for seven of Chambersburg's eight blocks in the game to go along with a nine-point effort.
With the loss setting the Trojans' record for the week to 2-1 before Saturday's home game with Greencastle-Antrim, Chambersburg won't have time to dwell on this outcome for long.
"Sometimes you have to accept your losses," Gantz said. "We have two big games against Mechanicsburg and Greencastle-Antrim and we need to win those."
Jeff Kolb can be reached at 262-4819 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tay Charles 1 5-6 8, Kyle Myers 2 2-4 6, Aaron Sollenberger 0 2-2 2, Evason Ogbonna 4 1-2 9, Kellen Williams 4 2-4 10, Mitch Stahl 2 5-8 9, Ryan Martin 0 0-1 0, Carlin Christian 0 0-0 0, Stanley Flores 1 2-2 5, Sheldon Wenger 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 19-29 49.
Donald Rells 2 0-0 5, Jerel Patterson 2 0-0 4, Jahaad Proctor 3 1-2 8, Shaquon Sheppard 10 2-2 22, Chris Britton 0 4-6 4, Steven Stoney 2 1-2 5, Austin Cooksey-Easter 2 4-4 8, Dominique Carter 2 0-2 4, James Ezell 4 0-0 8. Totals 27 12-18 68.
Chambersburg 13 10 13 13 - 49
Harrisburg 12 21 18 17 - 68
3-point shots - Chbg 2 (Charles, Flores); Harr 2 (Rells, Proctor). Shooting - Chbg 14-30 (46.6%). Rebounds - Chbg 14 (Ogbonna, Myers 4). Assists - Chbg 8 (Stahl 3). Steals - Chbg 4 (Charles 2). Turnovers - Chbg 19. Blocked shots - Chbg 8 (Ogbonna 7).
Next game: Saturday, at home vs. Greencastle-Antrim in Dunks for Drew event, 7:30.