COLONIAL PARK - How a team plays in the third quarter is always important.
But in a close contest, the opening few minutes of the second half becomes even that much more important.
Chambersburg learned that the hard way Friday night in a District 3 Class AAAA boys basketball play-in game, which Central Dauphin East won, 61-48.
"They switched up their defensive pressure to what we call a 41-press, which was a zone press," Trojan coach Shawn Shreffler said. "I think they got a steal and a quick bucket, and that seemed to change the momentum a little bit. They got more involved and started to pick up the pace a little bit more. At that moment, they turned it up and we didn't quite match that intensity."
Leading by just a point at halftime, the Panthers (14-9) started the second half on a four-point run before a John Shupp jumper broke the silence for Chambersburg (11-11). CD East then proceeded to turn it over before Panthers guard Jordan Gillis earned the key steal and fastbreak layup.
The Trojans answered, though, with a 3-pointer by Cole Christian before watching the Panthers score eight straight. By the time six minutes had ticked off in the third quarter, CD East led, 36-26.
Panther coach Don Ross said, "On the way back to the locker room at halftime, (assistant coaches) Demone Maxwell and Tramayne Hawthorne said to forget everything else and just talk about the first four minutes of the third quarter. We have a young team, and (the third quarter) has given us some trouble. That had to be the emphasis."
Whatever his assistants said to the Panthers must've worked, because they made the Trojans play catch-up for almost the entire second half, and it led to a dismal 21.9 shooting percentage in the second half.
"Our shots weren't falling," Chambersburg guard ByShawn Mincie said. "We were getting some really good looks, and we even got some wide open 3's and just couldn't knock them down. When there are long shots, there are long rebounds, so they got to get out in some fastbreaks, and they hit their shots when we didn't."
Six-foot-nine forward Brennen Jackson was serious trouble for the Trojans inside. He finished with a staggering 24 points and 16 rebounds, and what was more incredible - he was a perfect 9-for-9 from the field. His only blemish was a missed free throw late in the fourth quarter.
"This was most definitely my best game that I've played this season," Jackson said. "The first time (we played them), I was frustrated because they got me off the boards. Tonight, I got in my comfort zone, and I played with my mind focused. I used every last bit of my height to my advantage, and no one could stop me."
Mincie said, "We tried to battle and make him work. Our main goal was to make him sit on the bench, so we could negate that size. But he did a really good job of walling up and not trying to jump up and block too many shots. It kept him and the floor, and he really hurt us."
Despite the loss, Chambersburg made obvious strides. The Trojans entered the game as the 20th seed, to CD East's 13th seed, but they gave the Panthers a dogfight to start the game. The first half featured six lead changes and a pair of ties, and the teams were tied with 16 rebounds after the first half.
"Honestly, I don't think that our kids quite understood what Shawn's teams bring to the table early on," Ross said. "They play so hard, and they really took it to us (last time the teams met). I think our kids were better prepared for that type of intensity and were more ready to compete at a high level like Shawn's teams do."
Shreffler said, "I've been happy with our effort all year long. Our guys really displayed a lot of resiliency this year, and we played with a lot of grit. Tonight was no different, but lots of things just didn't go well for us from the skill perspective. We hung in there, though."
Notes: Despite Jackson's 16 boards, the Panthers out-rebounded Chambersburg just 36-32 .. Cade Whitfield, Mincie, John Shupp and Cade Brindle all grabbed at least four off the glass for the Trojans ... Christian led Chambersburg's scoring with 14 points, and Mincie scored 13 ... For CD East, Gillis finished with 15 points, and Justin Henry had 11 points and four assists.
CD East 61, Chambersburg 48
Cole Christian 5 0-0 14, Carlin Christian 1 2-2 4, Cade Whitfield 1 4-8 6, John Shupp 2 0-0 4, ByShawn Mincie 3 6-8 13, Tyler Collier 0 0-0 0, Cade Brindle 0 0-0 0, Evan Shreffler 0 2-2 2, Reggie Adams 0 0-0 0, Joel Torres 1 1-2 3, Ezechiel Cadet 0 0-0 0, Tyron Williams 1 0-0 2. Totals — 14 15-22 48.
CD East (61)
Tahj Robinson 1 1-2 3, DJ Cooper 0 0-0 0, Justin Henry 3 3-4 11, Jahad Neibauer 0 0-4 0, Jordan Gillis 4 4-6 15, Evan Chandler 1 3-5 6, Brennen Jackson 9 6-7 24, Naseen Thomas 0 0-2 0, Jaylen Hawthorne 0 0-2 0, Tyshaun Pollard 0 0-0 0, Darrion Livingston 0 0-0 0, Travis Biney 0 0-0 0, Eddie Rivers 0 0-0 0. Totals — 19 17-32 61.
Chambersburg _ 11 _ 10 _ 11 _ 16 _ — _ 48
CD East _ 13 _ 9 _ 18 _ 21 _ — _ 61
3-point goals — Chbg 5 (Co.Christian 4, Mincie), CDE 6 (Gillis 3, Henry 2, Chandler).