PLYMOUTH MEETING — The Chambersburg boys basketball team pulled off what is likely to be the biggest upset in the first round of the PIAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
Traveling 3 hours to play the District 1 champion, Plymouth-Whitemarsh, on the Colonials’ home court was a daunting task.
But the Trojans scored the first 13 points of the game, never trailed, and knocked off P-W, 68-56.
“It was very similar to being at Lower Merion last year (close defeat in the first round of states),” Chambersburg coach Shawn Shreffler said. “They had an enormous student section and they were yelling all kinds of things to our kids when were out shooting before the game.
“We just told them it would be a hostile environment, and our guys never blinked. They came out swinging.”
Chambersburg (16-11) will now take on District 12’s third-place finisher, Archbishop Wood (17-8) on Wednesday in a second-round game, with site and time to be determined. Wood defeated Central Bucks West 61-37 in the first round.
The Colonials (27-3) had their season ended.
The Trojans put three players in double figures — J.J. Kelly (23 points), Jacob Bassham (18) and Sedrick Vessah (12), and canned 12 of 13 free throws, including 11 of 12 in the fourth period.
Kelly opened the game with a dunk, which got the Trojans rolling.
Shreffler said, “J.J. tapped the ball over a guy’s head and Jake (Bassham) ran it down and then passed it to J.J., who was following the play. It was a heck of a way to start.”
By the end of the first quarter, Plymouth-Whitemarsh had trimmed the lead to 20-18 (Kelly had 8 points, Bassham and Vessah had 6 each). But the Trojans led 35-28 at halftime and extended the lead by outscoring the Colonials 13-9 in the third.
“I felt we attacked on offense and we attacked on defense,” Shreffler said. “We started out playing man, but when they made their run, we switched to a zone that we had practiced because they are so quick and lethal from outside. And we had to extend it, because they can hit from deep.
“But we found it was actually harder to defend them in the zone, so we went back to man and stayed there. The guys did a nice job with it. We stayed aggressive and tried to extend the defense.”
In the fourth quarter, P-W’s Chase Coleman (23 points) hit a long-range 3-pointer to bring his team within four points.
Shreffler said, “I don’t think the gym was any louder than when he hit that shot. But we came down and Carter (Fogal) hit a three, and that was awesome. That was his only basket, but he was so valuable in many ways.”
Kelly and Fogal each went 4-for-4 at the foul line to help preserve the lead.
“I don’t think we’ve played in a game that was more physical than this one,” Shreffler said. “They really tried to maybe intimidate us, and turn us over, but our guys were poised.
“Fogal did well handling the ball and Jake did a phenomenal job against their pressure. Stanley (Lozius) started and played well. And J.J. and Sedrick helped out against the press. One of the big things coming in was we had to be strong with the basketball, and we did well with that.”
Chambersburg led 48-35 after three quarters, then outscored P-W by one in the fourth.
“I think we learned a lot from that Lower Merion game last year,” Shreffler said. “We told the guys they had played against guys at this level and could hang with them. We focused on effort and energy.
“And anytime they would punch, we had an answer and punched back.”
Chambersburg 68, Plymouth-Whitemarsh 56
Jacob Bassham 6 2-2 18, Ari Snyder 0 0-0 0, Carter Fogal 1 4-4 7, Stanley Lozius 1 0-1 2, Colton Cornwell 1 0-0 2, J.J. Kelly 9 5-5 23, Aden Swatsburg 0 0-0 0, Sedrick Vessah 6 0-0 12, Talon Brewer 1 1-1 3. Totals 25 12-13 68.
Jaden Colzie 3 2-4 8, Chase Coleman 8 6-7 23, Q.Bennett 4 2-2 12, Jahseir Sayles 1 2-2 5, Lincoln Sharpe 4 0-0 8. Totals 20 12-15 56.
Chambersburg 20 15 13 20 — 68
Plymouth-Whitemarsh 18 10 9 19 — 56
3-points shots — Chbg 5 (Bassham 4, Fogal); P-W 4 (Bennett 2, Coleman, Sharpe).