EAST NOTTINGHAM >> Unionville has had plenty of leading men in big games this season, usually Bo Furey-Bastian or Wyatt Hockenberry.
Thursday night, it was Drew Lenkaitis’ turn to lead the Indians to victory.
The Unionville senior scored 21 points on the night — including 17 in the first half — as the Indians rolled over Radnor, 60-46, in the first round of the District 1 Class 5A playoffs.
The third-seeded Indians will host a familiar foe in No. 6 Sun Valley in Saturday’s quarterfinals, after the Vanguards beat Phoenixville. A win on Saturday would secure a state tournament berth.
“We played really hard, it’s just a byproduct of how hard we’ve worked,” Lenkaitis said. “We just got to play hard and keep things going. Our coach (Chris Cowles) told the seniors today could be our last game. If there’s anything you need to do, it’s ‘no regret’ effort and just leave it all out on the court. The game was all about trusting my teammates and trusting what our coaches taught us to do.”
The Indians opened the scoring with a smooth elbow jumper from Lenkaitis, who scored the team’s first four points, but did not score again until the second half. He did assist on the next play with a beautiful pass to Logan Shanahan for an easy layup. With that play, Unionville stole the early lead from Radnor, and would never give it back. The Indians went on an 8-0 run to take a 14-7 lead after the opening quarter.
Radnor fought back in the second, trailing by as many as 10 before cutting the deficit to four. Radnor stole the ball on back-to-back possessions, leading to a breakaway dunk by Jack D’Entremont that silenced the crowd and flipped the momentum to the Raiders. D’Entremont would score nine of his 25 points in the quarter and cut the Indian lead to four at halftime.
The Raiders opened the second half with a bucket to get the game to within two before Bo Furey-Bastian hit his second three of the game to make the score 30-25. The Indians blew things open from there, with an 11-0 run in the third, highlighted by a three-point play from Furey-Bastian that gave him his ninth point of the quarter with 3.5 seconds remaining. The Indians took a commanding 16-point lead going into the fourth quarter with the score 45-29.
Lenkaitis put the game on ice in the final frame, after an early fourth-quarter surge from Radnor. The senior scored nine points in the quarter and propelled Unionville into yet another showdown with Sun Valley.
Radnor finishes its season with an 11-12 record and will go into next year with higher expectations.
“I told them I was really, really proud of them,” Radnor coach Jamie Chadwin said. “Something we had been aiming for was to make districts since we haven’t been here for a few years. I was proud of them for trying to play our game as best we could against a really good team. I think we forced Unionville to adjust and execute, but we just gave up too many in the paint that went uncontested.
“They have size and length on us so I think they were able to execute things we weren’t able to jump in on. Jack D’Entremont played well and set the tone for us. He’s primed to have a good senior season. It’s a wonderful group of kids and one the highest character groups I have ever been around, and this season definitely raises the bar for next year.”
Unionville improves to 17-8 and knows it will have its hands full Saturday against the Vanguards. The teams split the regular-season series.
“It was good to get a win and get a lot of guys to contribute so it was a good game overall,” Unionville coach Chris Cowles said. “I thought we offensively executed in the second half and defensively executed better as well. It was a collective effort, but I think Lenkaitis played well along with Bo and Jon Passarello.
“It will be the third time we’ve played Sun Valley. Both of our teams know each other very well so I’m sure it’ll be a hard-fought game.”
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