MERCERSBURG - Giving up was not in the playbook for James Buchanan's boys basketball team Friday night.
Although the Rockets trailed Chambersburg for the entirety of three quarters, they simply would not go away. Every time the Trojans made a run, the Rockets found a way to answer.
But it simply wasn't enough to overcome Chambersburg in a 58-53 loss in the opening round of the Franklin County Tip-Off Tournament.
In Saturday's games at JB, the Rockets will play Waynesboro at 5:30 p.m., and the Trojans face Greencastle-Antrim at 8:30 for the title.
"Nobody gave us a chance in heck to win today," Rocket coach Larry Strawoet said. "I think our kids proved that they can compete, and that's part of being a program that is trying to turn in the right direction. If we can clean some things up, hopefully that competing aspect of it will change into having some success."
Right out of the gate, James Buchanan (0-1) made a statement in the form of Toby Sowers -- he scored eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the first quarter.
"I was a little surprised when (Sowers) came out and hit the shots that he was hitting early in the game," Trojan coach Shawn Shreffler said. "It seemed like any time that we separated a little bit, somebody made a big shot or big play and let them hang around."
Chambersburg (1-0) slowly but surely chipped its way into a double-digit lead. Midway through the third quarter, the Trojans led by 12 points.
But then James Buchanan reeled off the next six points to pull the deficit to 45-39 heading into the final frame.
"When we were up by 12 in the third quarter, we didn't execute as well with the lead as we should have in that situation," Shreffler said. "I thought that was an opportunity to step on their throats, so to speak, but we didn't execute."
Chambersburg's Cade Whitfield said, "They really wanted it. They proved that through summer league. When we played them, we took the first one but they came right back at us and won the second game. They don't go away, and they're a solid basketball team."
The Rockets had multiple chances down the stretch, but turnovers that had haunted them early came back to bite them again. JB finished with 28 turnovers, including eight in the final period.
"It's something we have to work on and cut them in half," Strawoet said. "It was one of those things where we got very impatient at times on the offensive end. We have to trust one another. We had seven empty possessions when we were within four. We have to take care of the basketball, and we have been, to be honest. This is uncharacteristic of us."
Chambersburg's defense was partly to blame for JB's turnovers, as well. The Trojans finished with seven steals, including two by Cole Christian.
Christian was the game's leading scorer with 18 points, while Whitfield (11) and ByShawn Mincie (10) were both big contributors offensively.
For the Rockets, Hege had the game's only double-double with 11 points and 17 rebounds. Sowers and Cody Tacker each had 14 points to pace the offense, and Gage Piper also finished with 11.
Chambersburg 58, James Buchanan 53
Cole Christian 6 3-4 18, Jacob Brouse 3 0-2 6, Cade Whitfield 5 1-7 11, John Shupp 3 1-2 8, ByShawn Mincie 3 4-5 10, Cade Brindle 1 0-1 2, Brady Hunt 0 0-0 0, Tyler Collier 0 0-0 0, Evan Shreffler 1 0-0 3. Totals — 22 9-21 58.
James Buchanan (53)
Gage Piper 3 2-2 11, Zach Vosburg 0 2-4 2, Toby Sowers 5 1-2 14, Cody Tacker 5 1-2 14, Ryan Hege 5 1-2 11, Hunter Sowers 0 0- 0, Jared Pine 0 1-2 1, Kyle Buchanan 0 0-0 0, Justin Helman 0 0-0 0. Totals — 18 8-14 53.
Chambersburg _ 12 _ 17 _ 16 _ 13 _ — _ 58
James Buchanan _ 9 _ 14 _ 16 _ 14 _ — _ 53
3-point goals — Chbg 5 (Christian 3, Whitfield, Shupp), JB 9 (Piper 3, T.Sowers 3, Tacker 3).