The 6-foot-8 and 6-6 heights of Beau Gantz's Trojans are advantages only on paper. That size wasn't imposed for 32 minutes of game time against Reading, though. With Chambersburg ahead 23-18 in second quarter, Tyree Gibson fouled Trojan big man Mitch Stahl hard to deny what looked like a dunk attempt.
The contact sent a message that the smaller Red Knight team wasn't going to be pushed around. Reading's toughness proved crucial in a late-game comeback to beat Chambersburg 53-47.
"We have to be physical and with a guy like (Stahl) with his district championship experience, (Gibson) understands what needs to be done," Reading coach Rick Perez said. "He throws down that dunk, it might be a whole different game - they get a whole new sense of confidence. It's district time, there's no dunks allowed."
Stahl wasn't the same after the hit, either, scoring just two points in the second half.
"You've got to expect physicality at this level," Stahl admitted. "I should have been more mentally prepared. I knew it was coming and I think I should have done a little better job of pushing back, being more physical and not letting the nicks get to me."
BIG POSITIVE: Ryan Martin, who started earlier in the season, was inserted back into the starting lineup for the Trojans.
Not only did the 6-5 junior come out with Kellen Williams, Mitch Stahl, Tay Charles and Kyle Myers for the pregame starting five announcements, he actually logged some serious minutes during the game.
"I didn't expect to get this many minutes," Martin said. "I did know I was going to start and all. I just went in there and did my best and coach liked what I was doing."
Although he didn't score, Martin did lead the team with seven rebounds on a night when Chambersburg won the battle of the boards only 25-24. His showing gives Gantz another option on a roster sorely hurting for players to step up and take minutes off the plate of the starting lineup.
STEADY FRESHMAN: The Trojans turned the ball over 15 times. None of those possessions were coughed up by freshman point guard Carlin Christian, however.
While Christian didn't score, his presence stood out to Gantz, who wished in part afterwards he'd have played things differently.
"I thought Carlin Christian played very well," Gantz said. "He took control of the ball, didn't have any turnovers and played good defense, and that's what we need. If I had to do it over again, I probably should have played him more. That's my fault."
Jeff Kolb can be reached at 262-4819 or firstname.lastname@example.org