If Chambersburg boys basketball coach Shawn Shreffler sees a team on the Trojans’ schedule that is similar to Hempfield — their opponent Tuesday in a District 3 semifinal — it would be State College.
Of course, Chambersburg lost twice to the Little Lions, ranked No. 2 in the state, but they played them close both times.
Shreffler said, “I would say that’s a fair comparison. They both have good length and great players, and a big kid who is really good.”
So it will be up to the Trojans (18-4) to raise their game when they face the Black Knights (22-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Giant Center.
The winner plays for a District 3 Class 6A championship Saturday at 12:30 back at Giant Center against the winner of Reading (22-4) vs. Manheim Township (19-6), while the loser plays for third place Thursday at Cumberland Valley at 8 p.m.
Hempfield is led by Ryan Moffatt, a 6-foot-5 senior who averages 17.9 points per game. But he gets plenty of support from David Martin-Robinson (6-4, 11.6 ppg), Anthony Alston (6-1, 10.5) and Eli Washington (5-11, 10.1). Alston (38) and Moffatt (31) are the top 3-point shooters.
The fifth starter is “glue guy” Teagan Hazel, but he is likely out after injuring an ankle Friday in a quarterfinal win over Wilson. Donovan Green (6-2, 3.6) will likely take his place.
Black Knight coach Danny Walck, a Greencastle native, said, “We had only one starter coming back (Moffatt) this year, but we had a good nucleus and other guys developed. I’m really happy with how they’ve accepted their roles, and we have great team chemistry.”
Like Chambersburg, Hempfield is strong on defense. The Black Knights score 59 points per game and allow 47, while the Trojans score 54 and allow 43.
“You never know how that will work,” Walck said. “It could be high-scoring, or not. I do know Chambersburg can win either way, either up and down the floor, or deliberate.”
One factor the Trojans could have an edge in is depth. While Walck will use his bench infrequently, especially with Hazel out, Shreffler has more choices.
In addition to starters Cade Brindle (9.2 ppg), Seth Brouse (6.0), Evan Shreffler (1.0), Tyler Collier (6.1) and Joel Torres (13.0), he will go to Noah Beidel (3.0), Terell Williams (6.7) and Tyron Williams (5.8), as well as others.
Shreffler said, “Our depth has been a factor throughout the year, so we hope to make it an advantage.”
What concerns Walck is Chambersburg’s size — Collier is 6-8, Torres is 6-6 and Brindle and both Williams are all at least 6-1 — and Torres and the Williams brothers include plenty of bulk.
“They’ve got that size — what I call space eaters — that makes it hard,” Walck said. “It’s a problem. We have to find ways to attack that on offense and on defense. It’s a tall order, no pun intended.”
Both coaches believe rebounding will be a huge key.
“Second-chance points can be a real back-breaker,” Walck said, “and we know Chambersburg is good at that.”
Shreffler said, “Rebounding will be really important. The other thing is that they do a really good job of utilizing their length to put pressure on you, whether in man, matchup zone or a half-court trap they use, so we can’t turn it over.”
No matter how the game ends, Shreffler said, “It’s really cool for the kids to get to experience Giant Center.”
They’re just hoping it’s the first of two games at that venue.
NOTES: Martin-Robinson is a football recruit for Temple … Moffatt scored his 1,000th point earlier this season … Walck has previously been a head coach at Lancaster Catholic, Reading and Warwick … Hempfield won the Lancaster-Lebanon Section I title, then lost in the L-L playoff semifinals to Lampeter-Strasburg … Shreffler said Collier, who was sick last week and didn’t play much vs. Harrisburg on Friday, should be fine for Tuesday.