EAST WHITELAND >> It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the fight in the dog. Thursday night in the Great Valley Holiday Tournament the smaller team, West Chester Henderson, staged a furious second half rally to overcome host Great Valley and come away with a convincing 60-54 triumph.
West Chester Henderson will now play in tonight’s championship game against Upper Dublin, a 70-59, winner over Pottstown, at 7 p.m. Great Valley will take on Pottstown in the consolation game.
The one big man Henderson has, 6-foot-5 sophomore Jordan Laudato, was saddled with foul trouble and sat out the entire second period and the beginning of the fourth period. But it was the start of the third period where the Warriors (3-4) took control, as Laudato scored seven of his 12 points and Sage Harkins, who led all scorers with 20 points, took over.
“It is really frustrating sitting on the bench with foul trouble especially when the calls could have gone either way,” Laudato said. “But, once we got on a roll in the third period, we got going and that was pretty much it. We went to playing man-to-man and I think that bothered them.”
Great Valley (4-4) had a slim 30-29 halftime lead, but the Patriots had been up 19-12 after one period on the play of Will Fredrick, who led the Patriots with 19 points, 12 in the first period.
But Henderson outscored Great Valley 46-35 over the last three frames and the Warriors tripled their win total of last year in the third week of the season, and it may have been due to something the kids told Warrior coach Rob Frattura at halftime.
“The kids know a lot and sometimes you have to listen to them,” Frattura said. “They hate playing zone and they said let’s go to a nan-to-man and it worked for us. And getting Jordan back in the game was big for us. The kids we sub for him play great defense, but Jordan is just a monster inside and he has a great touch around the basket. These kids do not know the meaning of quit. They are tough and they keep battling. I love coaching these kids.”
Henderson assumed control the game in the third period and ended the period when Luke Weirman drove down the lane for a layup and a 46-40 Warrior lead after three periods. Laudato had seven of his 12 points in the period. Jake Prevost tried to keep Great Valley in the game by scoring all his six points in the third period.
Great Valley seemed content to take three-point shots against the smaller Warriors and it did not go well for the usually good shooting Patriots. Great Valley shot 19-for-52 from the field for the game, 11-for-32 in the second half and that was OK with the Warriors.
“We were pretty happy with them shooting outside shots,” Harkins said. “I think they thought we were so small compared to them it did not matter. But, once we went man-to-man in the second half our energy picked up and we took control the game.”
Steve Armstrong hit a jumper to make it a 48-40 West Chester Henderson lead and when Harkins drained a long three-ball to make it a 51-42 Warrior lead, Great Valley was finished for the night.
Gavin Frankenheimer scored in tight to draw Great Valley to within 51-46 with 2:58 to play, but the Patriots did not shoot well enough to cut into the lead and Henderson came away with its third victory of the season.
“We really should be 4-3,” Frattura said. “But we lost a late lead to Downingtown East in our last game and it was good to come back and beat a good team on their home floor.”
West Chester Henderson 60, Great Valley 54
W.C. HENDERSON (60) Weirman 4 1-11 10, Laudato 5 2-3 12, Harkins 5 8-10 20, Dinacci 1 0-0 3, Gray 0 4-4 4, Brooks 2 0-0 4, Armstrong 2 0-0 4, Fay 0 0-1 0, Bertrando 0 0-0 0, Briglia 1 0-0 3. Totals 20 15-31 60.
GREAT VALLEY (54) Fredrick 5 7-8 19, Collins 0 0-0 0, Wellener 0 0-0 0, Stehle 2 1-21 6, Taiaroil 1 0-0 2, Burgess 0 0-0 0, Frankenheimwer 4 6-9 14, Prevost 3 0-2 6, Thomas 1 3-4 5, O’Donnell 1 0-0 2. Totals 1917-27 54.
W.C. Henderson 12 17 15 14-60
Great Valley 19 11 10 14-54
3-point goals: Weirman, Harkins 2, Dinacci, Briglia, Stehle, Fredrick 2.
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