CHAMBERSBURG — Went to a high school basketball game Tuesday night and a WWE Battle Royale broke out.
That might be one way — perhaps just slightly exaggerated, because there were no chairs thrown — to describe the District 3 Class 6A boys basketball game at CASHS Field House between Reading and Chambersburg.
In a game in which every basket was precious, the Red Knights used a 9-0 run to end the third quarter, fueled by seven points from mercurial point guard Wesley Butler, to take the lead for good in a 36-29 victory over the Trojans.
The win advances Reading (20-6) to the championship game Friday against rival Harrisburg (18-6), which took out No. 1 seed Wilson, 63-61. The Trojans (21-5) will play at Wilson (21-5) on Thursday at 7 p.m. for third place.
To say that Tuesday’s game was physical would be like saying, “We got a little bit of rain last year.”
Basically, pushing, shoving and hand-checking were not getting called and anything under the basket short of decapitation was allowed.
“That was the most physical game I’ve ever played in,” Trojan forward Ty Holsopple said. “I felt I was getting pushed every time down the floor.”
“I realized that if I pushed them, it wasn’t going to get called, so that’s what I did,” he said.
Forward Tyler Collier agreed it was the most physical game he’s played in.
“I think we know how they play,” he said, “but we didn’t expect it to be that physical.”
Reading’s tight man-to-man defense was able to collapse inside to deny entry passes to Collier and Holsopple and Chambersburg managed only 31 shots in the game.
The very start of the game was a harbinger of things to come — the Trojans had possession of the ball for over 1:45 before the Knights got the ball, but couldn’t score in that time.
Chambersburg coach Shawn Shreffler said, “They fought tooth-and-nail on every possession, every pass, every screen, every cut, every shot.”
The game was tied 7-7 after one period and Reading led at the half, 18-14, because Butler got hot and scored seven points.
But the Trojans opened the third period with back-to-back threes by Ethan Shreffler and Collier to take a 20-18 lead.
It didn’t last long. The Red Knights ran off nine straight points, including seven from Butler, to lead 27-20 after three quarters.
A 6-1 run, with all of the points coming from Holsopple, brought Chambersburg to within 28-26 early in the fourth. But Butler hit a sweet runner in the lane and Denim Adams had a baseline jumper hit the front of the rim, bounce high and drop in, and Reading was able to close it out.
Shreffler said, “That jumper by (Adams) was a big one. It came out of nowhere and really stemmed the tide for them.”
Over the last five or so minutes, Chambersburg managed very few shots. Five turnovers in that time didn’t help, but the Red Knights’ defense remained strong.
“The wear and tear of that game, the constantly getting beaten on, took its toll down the stretch,” Shreffler said.
Trojan assistant coach Denny Chamberlin said, “They just choked everything we tried. I’ve seen physical games before, but never like that.”
Collier said, “A couple of times we got loose with the ball, and they were able to keep us out of our offense.”
Chambersburg also played a fine defensive game, giving up only 28 shots, and the Trojans held a 20-17 edge on the boards.
“I thought we were prepared and ready to play defense,” Shreffler said, “and I thought we gave them fits and problems for their offense. But on the flip side, they took away things we normally are able to do. They were outstanding.”
The difference was Butler, who scored 19 points, on a variety of drives and step-back jumpers, plus a pair of 3-pointers.
“I thought (Seth) Brouse did a great job on him,” Shreffler said, “and he made him earn every one of those 19 points. It comes down to who can make those tough baskets down the stretch and Butler did that.”
Chambersburg assistant Randy Taylor said, “The common thread between this game and the Trinity game was that both of those teams had that one guy who could create their own shots and we don’t.”
NOTES: Collier led Chambersburg with 9 points and 7 rebounds … Holsopple and Terell Williams each had 6 … The lowest point total for the Trojans before this game was 38 vs. Trinity … It was the 10th time this season Chambersburg held an opponent under 40 points.
Reading 36, Chambersburg 29
Wesley Butler 7 3-4 19, Jose Brea 0 0-2 0, Daniel Colter 4 0-0 9, Juan Matos-Segura 1 2-2 4, Moro Osmanu 1 0-0 2, Denim Adams 1 0-0 2, Joseph Chapman 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 5-8 36.
Ethan Shreffler 2 0-0 5, Seth Brouse 0 0-0 0, Aaron Maynard 0 0-0 0, Tyler Collier 3 2-6 9, Kyere Morton 0 0-0 0, Max Doctor 1 0-0 3, Ty Holsopple 2 2-2 6, Terell Williams 3 0-1 6. Totals 11 4-9 29.
Reading 7 11 9 9 — 36
Chambersburg 7 7 6 9 — 29
3-point shots — Read 3 (Butler 2, Colter); Chbg 3 (Doctor, Shreffler, Collier). Shooting — Read 14-28 (50%); Chbg 11-31 (35%). Turnovers — Read 10; Chbg 16. Rebounds — Read 17 (3 off, 14 def); Chbg 20 (9 off, 11 def). Steals — Read 6; Chbg 3. Deflections — Read 11; Chbg 12.