Watch the top play from each of Chambersburg's top four seniors during Tuesday's loss to Central Dauphin East. Video by Lizi Arbogast, GameTimePA.com
Being down by 20 points heading into the final quarter would've meant a death sentence for most boys basketball teams.
But not Chambersburg.
The Trojans gave Central Dauphin East all they had, cutting the deficit to as few as 13 points in the fourth quarter. But it just wasn't enough. For the second year in a row, Chambersburg was ousted from the District 3 Class 6A playoffs by the Panthers, 76-59.
"Coach (Shawn Shreffler) in the locker room wrote 'Believe,' so that was our motto tonight," Trojan senior Jacob Brouse said. "We worked so hard, and we weren't just going to give up. We fought until the end."
And with Shreffler at the helm, that was to be expected.
"You knew that they were going to come at you; that's what Shawn's teams do," CD East coach Don Ross said. "I've been in this league 22 years as a coach, and that's what Chambersburg basketball is about. You knew they were going to make a run at you, and unfortunately for them, I think they dug themselves too deep of a hole."
After a back-and-forth start to the game, the Panthers (15-8) went on a little run to end the second quarter and took a 36-29 lead into the locker room. They picked up right where they left off, starting the second half on a 10-0 run to push the lead to double figures for good.
"I think the end of the second really set the tone for the third quarter," Chambersburg's Cade Whitfield said. "We gave up four points in a matter of like 20 seconds. We turned the ball over, and that was really tough. They're a good basketball team; they're solid all the way around, and they made plays."
The worst part for the Trojans (13-9), according to Shreffler, wasn't the season-ending loss, though. It was losing his key group of seniors, including Whitfield, Brouse, ByShawn Mincie and Cole Christian.
"It's sad not because we lost, but because we're not going to be able to be with those guys anymore," Shreffler said. "Relationships are just so important in this profession, and we're very fortunate to have a great group of seniors who have established a great foundation that groups behind them can now continue to build upon."
When Shreffer re-took his position as Chambersburg's head coach three seasons ago, he inherited what he called a "disaster."
But it's not a disaster anymore.
"I remember going to summer league (three years ago), and we played (St. Maria) Goretti in the first game," Whitfield said. "We walked into Goretti, and they were doing 360 dunks, windmills; it was crazy. We lost like 100-30 or something. This year, we played right with them. We really built the program back up, and (the younger guys) are going to ride that out."
One such example of that re-build was the effort put fourth by Brouse this season. After a season-ending injury last year, Brouse returned and was named a team captain. While he didn't always pop on the stat sheet, he was a key element in Chambersburg's success this season.
"When he starts to gain confidence in what he's capable on doing, he does just amazing things," Shreffler said. "Tonight was a big factor in the game was him being in foul trouble. Justin Henry has hurt us both games, but he did not score against Jacob tonight. I thought Jacob also settled us offensively, and was able to take the ball to the basket and finish."
The Trojan seniors combined for 42 of Chambersburg's 59 points. Whitfield led the way with 16, while Christian added 13. Mincie finished with 8 and Brouse scored 5, despite fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.
For East, Brennen Jackson did most of the damage with 18 points, while Na'seen Thomas came off the bench to contribute 11.