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Brickus explodes for 41 points as Coatesville drops Emmaus to advance

POTTSTOWN >> The truly great athletes, the ones you remember, do more than score touchdowns or drain 3-pointers. 

They leave lasting memories of their heroics in our minds for a very long time. 

One of those moments occurred Saturday afternoon at Pottstown High’s Strom Gymnasium in the opening round of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs. Coatesville junior star Jhamir Brickus put on a show for the ages as he scored 41 points, grabbed four rebounds, dished out five assists and came up with two steals, as Coatesville rolled to an impressive 85-76 win over the stunned Hornets.

Coatesville’s (2) Jhamir Brickus hits a basket in the first quarter in PIAA State playoffs against Emmaus.

Coatesville will now play District 7 runner-up Butler Wednesday at a time and place to be determined.

“I really do not have to hit my first few shots to get started,” Brickus said. “But, today I was hot early and coach always gives me the green light so I went with it. And I saw when I had the ball, they stepped back so I knew I could get to the basket anytime I wanted.”

Coatesville (27-2) led 23-15 after one quarter and the Hornets played the Red Raiders even the rest of the way, but never seriously came within range of the Red Raiders. Coatesville led, 39-31, at halftime and the Hornets (21-8) never got closer than six points, despite big games from Mark Sweedberg (23 points) and big man Zach Sabol (18 points) and hurt the Red Raiders a little inside.

The day belonged to Coatesville, and when Brickus was not strolling down the lane for a basket or draining one of his six 3-pointers, fellow backcourt mate Dapree Bryant, who added 21 points, was dashing to the basket, two steps ahead of any Emmaus defender. Coatesville shot 28 for 54 from the field and had a good day at the free throw line, draining 19 of 23.

“We feel we can get to the basket against any team we play,” Bryant said. “And tonight we knew we were the faster team. We got out on them 9-0 and they knew we were the quicker team right away.”

Emmaus battled hard, and when Sabol put in a follow in the third quarter it was a 48-42 game. But, Brickus took the inbounds pass from Bryant and dashed down the right side. Then, doing his best Steph Curry impression, he hit an NBA range three and you could see the air come out of the Hornet players. It did not help Emmaus that it turned the ball over 14 times and was constantly under pressure from the rabid Coatesville defenders.

Coatesville’s (21) John Proctor goes high defending against Emmaus (13)Ethan Parvel in the second quarter in PIAA State playoffs against Emmaus.

Emmaus came down the floor and was whistled for a charging call, giving the ball back to Coatesville. Bryant then darted into the lane and passed to Dymere Miller in the left corner. Miller hit the trey and Coatesvile was up 53-42 and the Hornets were effectively done right there.

“When Jhamir plays like that we are going to win a lot of games,” Coatesville coach Fred Thompson said. “And it was important to get the early lead to show them we are the faster, more athletic team and that they were going to be for a long night.”

Coatesville continued to make highlight reel plays in the fourth quarter. Brickus hit Bryant in stride for a pretty alley-oop, and then Brickus, on the next Red Raider possession, drove the baseline and threw in a reverse layup. The heavily pro-Coatesville crowd exploded in delight as the Red Raiders rolled into the second round of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs.

“We played well today and Jhamir was absolutely great for us.” Thompson said, in the understatement of the day.

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