EXTON >> It was a big opening night at Church Farm School, which unveiled its renovated alumni gymnasium.
But in addition to the new gym, the Griffins also unveiled a few potential new stars on the Chester County hoops scene.
Church Farm (1-0) received a stellar 23-point game from sophomore Reggie Phifer, as well as 10 points and nine rebounds from 6-foot-8, freshman big man Demetrius Lilley, as Church Farm ran away from a spirited West Chester Henderson squad for a 69-55 win Friday night.
Church Farm put four players in double figures for the contest.
Church Farm, despite turning the ball over 18 times, shot 26 for 56 from the field and went on a very important 8-0 run to start the second half to put the Warriors (0-1) back on their heels, as the Griffins were never seriously threatened after that. Church Farm shot 26 for 55 from the field for the game and played its usual man-to-man pressure defense that seemed to bother the Warriors, who turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter.
“For the first night I thought we were pretty good,” Church Farm coach Marc Turner said. “We turned then ball over too much and we were without one of our starters, Jamal Britton, but the kids played hard and Reggie, who is really our sixth man, shot the ball really well. And the big guy for his first game was impressive. He loves to be coached and that is half the battle, and he has a chance to be really good, so I am pretty happy with the win tonight.”
The Griffins jumped out to a 37-26 lead at halftime as Henderson could only connect on 11 of 26 first half field goal attempts. Luke Weirman led the Warriors with 21 points and big man Jordan Laudato was impressive with his 13 points and seven boards. But, it was Church Farm that dictated the game’s fast pace, blowing the game open at the start of the third quarter.
While Henderson was missing its first seven field goals in the third period, the Griffins were off and running. Phifer drained a bucket from the corner to make it a 39-26 game. After a Laudato miss inside, the Griffins sped down the floor and Max Scott hit a runner to make it 41-26. Another Warrior miss led to a Cole Copper layup for a 43-26 lead and then a Warrior turnover, one of 14 for Henderson, led to a run out and a bucket by Scott. Weirman broke the 8-0 run by scoring on a runner but the Griffins had seized complete control of the game.
“I was really comfortable out there tonight,” Phifer said. “We like to share the basketball and tonight I was getting good open looks and the shots were going down. Tonight was a good night to get the win with the big crowd here to see the new gym. I played hard the whole time I was in the game.”
Henderson did not quit, however. First-year Warrior coach Rob Frattura had the Warriors battle for 32 minutes, and when John Briglio hit a layup, the Warriors were within 60-46 with 5:15 to play in the fourth. But, Phifer drilled a 3-pointer from the corner and Henderson, which shot 21 for 59 from the field, couldn’t hit enough shots to cut the margin any further, and Church Farm delighted the home crowd with an impressive opening night win.
“My game is to get good position and rebound the basketball,” Lilley said. “It was my first varsity game and the crowd was big but I was not nervous. I just want to help this team win games.”
Church Farm 69, West Chester Henderson 55
West Chester Henderson 12 14 15 14 – 55
Church Farm 22 15 20 12 – 69
W.C. HENDERSON (55): Brooks 1 0-0 2, Harkins 2 2-4 6, Laudato 5 3-6 13, Weirman 9 3-6 21, Dinacci 0 1-2 1, Briglio 3 2-2 8, Fay 0 1-2 1, Bertrando 1 0-0 3. Totals 21 12-16 55.
CHURCH FARM (69): Mahamd 4 4-4 12, Phifer 8 2-3 23, Scott 6 1-5 16, McEvoy 1 1-2 4, Lilley 5 0-1 10, Cooper 1 0-0 2, Brooks 1 0-0 2, Johnson 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 6-15-69.
3-point goals: Fay, Phifer 4, Scott 3, McEvoy.
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