UWCHLAN >> Whenever you poke the giant, you better be ready the next time you see him, because most giants have long memories.
Earlier this season, Downingtown East beat mighty Coatesville by three points in overtime. Thursday night at Bob Boyer Gymnasium, the talented Red Raiders returned the favor and likely punched their ticket to the Ches-Mont Final Four by taking apart the host Cougars 76-63, in a key Ches-Mont National Division tilt.
The win gives Coatesville (9-2 Ches-Mont, 16-4 overall), a one and a half game lead on the Cougars for second place behind Bishop Shanahan in the National race. All the Red Raiders have to do is defeat winless West Chester Henderson next Tuesday to clinch a spot in the league playoff and a chance to defend their crown.
“We know there are a lot of good teams in our league and Downingtown came to our place and beat us and we take that personally,” Coatesville coach Chuck Moore said. “We knew East has a good team and we respect them but we have been the front-runners in our division the last couple of years and we like to establish that we are still there.”
With the Cougars (7-3, 13-6) holding a 14-10 lead late in the first period, Coatesville went on one of its patented runs, putting together a sizzling 14-0 stretch to take a 24-10 lead and control of the game. The Red Raiders were beating the Cougars down the floor and also shot a very hot five for 11 in the second period.
Jhamir Brickus, who led Coatesville with 24 points to go along with Donte Crews’ 15 and Dapree Bryant’s 15, led the way for the Red Raiders. During the run, Downingtown East did not score for the last 2:30 of the first period and the opening 3:42 of the second period. Crews came charging off the Coatesville bench to drain two long 3-pointers during the run. The Cougars came back late in the second period on two buckets by Malik Slay and an inside bucket by Andrew King to only trail the Red Raiders by four points.
“It is not hard to come off the bench, I just go in and keep shooting,” Crews said. “I felt good tonight before the game because we worked on the shooting machine before we came down here and I felt very good and after the first one went in my confidence went way up. We wanted to get them back. It is Coatesville against everybody else.”
Coatesville outscored the Cougars 20-10 in the third quarter after holding a 36-32 halftime advantage. The Red Raiders shot a torrid six for nine in the third period and the Cougars could never recover as the Red Raiders put four players in double figures. The Cougars shot just three for 14 in the period with only Slay making an offensive impact for the Cougars. Slay led all scorers with 26 points and he was the sole offensive threat much of the night for East.
Another Coatesville player to contribute big time off the bench was senior Avery Young, who scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds and played lock-down defense. Young hit a big 3-pointer, one of the Red Raiders’ nine treys on the game, in the third quarter to give Coatesville a 54-38 lead late in the period.
“I come in and join the team because they are already playing at a high level so it is not hard to come off the bench,’ Young said. “And we really don’t like to lose to other Ches-Mont teams and we wanted to show them we are the Coatesville team that won the title last year.”
Coatesville 76, Downingtown East 63
COATESVILLE (76): Summers 3 0-0 6, Brickus 7 8-10 24, Bryant 5 3-6 15, Young 3 4-6 11, Bladen 3 0-1 6, Crews 5 0-0 14, Smith 0 0-0 0. H.Young 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 15-23 76.
DOWNINGTOWN EAST (63): Slay 7 10-11 26, King 3 1-4 8, Mujica 3 0-0 7, Kailm 2 0-0 4, Hernandez 4 2-2 10, Robertson 2 0-0 5, Caggiano 0 0-0 0, Riley 0 0-0 0. totals 21 13-17-63.
Coatesville 18 18 20 20 – 76
Downingtown East 16 16 10 21 – 63
3-point goals; Crews 4, Brickus 2, Bryant 2, A.Young, Slay 2, Hernandez 2, Robertson, Mujica, King.
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