CHAMBERSBURG — Chambersburg had the unbeaten, No. 3-ranked team in the state hanging on for dear life Tuesday night at CASHS Field House.
But State College, now 15-0, created a key turnover in the final 40 seconds and knocked down four straight free throws to escape with a 51-46 Mid Penn Commonwealth boys basketball victory.
The Little Lions, who are 11-0 in the division and have clinched at least a tie for the crown, led 42-29 early in the fourth quarter. But Chambersburg (13-4, 7-3 MPC) made it interesting, twice having the ball down by a point in the final two minutes.
“I was proud of our guys, because that’s a really good basketball team we played,” Trojan coach Shawn Shreffler said. “I was extremely pleased with how we played in the second half, with more poise and toughness, and we executed better at both ends of the floor.”
Chambersburg got Joel Torres involved in the final quarter (9 of his 17 points), and Cade Brindle and Noah Beidel dropped in 3-pointers. Torres’ final bucket — after a nice entry pass from Brindle — ended a 9-0 run by the Trojans and made it a 45-44 game.
Brindle then made a steal at the other end and fed Evan Shreffler for a fast break layup. Unfortunately, the shot rolled off the rim and State College’s Ryan McNulty scored on a fast break at the other end.
Terell Williams (10 points) muscled inside for a high-degree-of-difficulty layup and it was back to a one-point game again. After a missed SC shot, Chambersburg had a second chance to take the lead, but a turnover with 40 seconds left enabled the Little Lions to stretch their lead at the foul line.
“I hope we can gain some confidence from what we did in the second half,” Shawn Shreffler said. “I also hope we can grow from what happened in the first half.”
Had State College been a little hotter with its first-half shooting, the game could have gotten out of hand early. The reason is because Chambersburg made 15 turnovers in the first half.
The Little Lions are tall and quick and racked up quite a few steals and tipped passes, many of which were turned into fast break points.
Shreffler said, “They have a lot of length and physicality, and that makes it difficult. Early on, we didn’t handle that. We needed to be tougher at the start.”
To the Trojans’ credit, they made only five turnovers in the second half, and their defense caused SC to make nine.
“Our half-court defense was good all game,” Shreffler said. “But our offense hurt us more than anything. When they got a rebound, we got back on transition defense, but when we turned it over, they were getting easy baskets.”
The Trojans play at Central Dauphin on Friday night.
State College 51, Chambersburg 46
Keaton Ellis 4 5-5 13, Ryan McNulty 2 0-0 5, Tommy Friberg 6 2-3 16, Cam Villarouel 1 0-0 2, Drew Friberg 3 4-4 12, Brandon Clark 1 0-2 3. Totals 17 11-14 51.
Noah Beidel 1 0-0 3, Seth Brouse 1 0-0 2, Cota Heckman 0 0-0 0, Cade Brindle 3 0-0 8, Tyler Collier 1 1-1 3, Evan Shreffler 0 0-0 0, Terrell Williams 4 2-4 10, Tyron Williams 1 0-0 3, Joel Torres 7 3-5 17, Yianni Hronis 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 6-10 46.
State College 15 10 15 11 — 51
Chambersburg 8 8 13 17 — 46
3-point shots — SC 6 (D.Friberg 2, T.Friberg 2, McNulty, Clark); Chbg 4 (Brindle 2, Beidel, Ty.Williams).