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Brickus’ point count overshadows Chester’s farewell

PETE BANNAN – MEDIANEWS GROUP Coatesville's Jhmir Brickus, right, goes up for a shot in the third quarter as Chester's Zhmir Carroll defends in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal game Saturday at Spring-Ford High School Saturday.

ROYERSFORD — It was only a matter of time before Coatesville wrapped up its runaway 96-82 victory over Chester in the quarterfinal round of the PIAA Class 6A tournament Saturday at Spring-Ford.

Yet there still was enough suspense to stick around for the last minute.

Red Raiders guard Jhamir Brickus was scoring at a record pace. The countdown to the single-game Coatesville school mark began with four minutes remaining when he reached 40 points. Spectators updated the number together with each additional basket.

Inside of 30 seconds, Red Raiders guard Dapree Bryan threw the ball far out in front of Brickus to lay in for 50 points.

Seconds later Brickus added a deuce for a school-record 52. Coatesville alum Rip Hamilton never did that.

Chester’s Michael Smith looks for an opening as Coatesville’s Dapree Bryant defends in the first half of a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal playoff game Saturday at Spring-Ford. Coatesville won, 96-82, to advance to the semifinals Monday evening.

“I knew how many he had,” Bryan said. “I was just like, give him the ball so he could break the record. He’s fast, he can get to the basket and he can score on anybody. He showed it again today.”

Brickus was so fast he jetted through reporters and disappeared into a sea of fans heading toward the exits.

It was standing-room only inside the gym. Fans began lining up for the 1 p.m. contest at 11:15 a.m. In spite of the score, it was worth the wait.

Even the Clippers (21-7) were impressed with the skills of Brickus, who made 16 of 28 shots from the field, including five three-pointers, and was 15 of 19 at the line. They knew it was going to be a long day after Brickus used the backboard on a three-pointer to break a 7-7 tie. The Clippers scored seven of the game’s first nine points.

“It was a big challenge playing against him because he’s fast, he can shoot, he can drive and he can finish around the rim,” said Rahmaad DeJarnette, who in his last game for the Clippers contributed 14 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals, “We threw multiple people at him. It’s hard. But we never gave up. We all came to practice, to games ready to play. We didn’t want this to be our last game. We just couldn’t stop them.”

Coatesville’s Dapree Bryant, left, tries to intercept a pass intended for Chester’s Javan Graham in the first half.

Brickus’ 52 points and the 96 given up overall were the most against the Clippers in a playoff game. Would it have made a difference if the Clips had the services of that guy who didn’t follow the team rules? On this day it would have taken Jameer Nelson the elder to shut down Brickus, who outscored the Clippers, 43-26, in the first half.

Even when the Clippers scored 12 of the first 14 points of the second half to cut the deficit to seven, devoting considerable attention to Brickus, there just wasn’t enough quickness left to keep Bryan away from the basket. The point guard and star wide receiver in football tallied 22 points, grabbed a game-high 10 boards and dished eight assists.

Clippers coach Keith Taylor pointed to the board with the scouting report highlighting the activity of Bryan.

“He controlled the whole game,” Taylor said. “He sets the shooters up. He did everything the scouting report said he would do.

“Penetration killed us all night long. We didn’t step out, take a charge. We missed layups, missed foul shots. You can’t win games like that. They were just the better team today. We didn’t have it today.”

The Clippers were 15 of 25 from the free throw line and got 76 shots from the field, 13 more than Coatesville. Both teams made 32 field goal attempts, the Raiders going 6 of 15 from three-point range, the Clippers 3 of 9.

“We came back,” said senior Michael Smith, who led the Clippers with 25 points. “Our start in the second half gave us some momentum. But they got back in their running game and they just took off on us.”

Smith and his teammates did a solid job defending Brickus in the third quarter, as they held him without any points until the final minute of the frame. The stage just belonged to Brickus.

Akeem Taylor scored 15 points and grabbed eight boards for the Clippers. Zahmir Carroll added nine points and 11 rebounds.

“The guys played hard,” Taylor said. “Nobody expected them to be in this position all year. If folks know what these guys had to go through, they’d be thanking these kids. These guys came a long way. And I told them that. The stuff they’ve been through, just with the team alone has been difficult. I’m proud of them.”

The Red Raiders take on Kennedy Catholic in the semifinals Tuesday at a site to be determined. The winner takes on the survivor of the Pennridge-LaSalle College semifinal.

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