DOWNINGTOWN >> It was a night for milestones Friday evening at Downingtown West, both for the Bishop Shanahan boys basketball team and for star senior center Kevin Dodds.
Bishop Shanahan put on a clinic, winning its first PIAA Tournament game since 1985 with a 73-38 rout of Hershey in a game that wasn’t even that close, and Dodds hit a free throw with 4:55 to play in the fourth quarter to score the 1,000th point of his career.
The win puts the Eagles into Tuesday’s Round of 16 against Milton Hershey at a time and place to be determined.
“I really did not know exactly how close I was to 1,000 points,” Dodds said. “And tonight we started strong and got the Penncrest game out of our minds. We did not do anything right against them but we got off to a 6-0 start tonight and things just started going right for us and it felt real good to get the first state win in so many years.”
The Eagles (22-5) came out on fire, taking an early 16-6 lead after the first quarter on seven for 11 shooting from the field. Bishop Shanahan shot a torrid 29 for 53 from the field on the night and the Eagles put three players in double figures with Dodds leading the way with 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Thomas Ford also had a big game, downing 14 points to go along with eight boards, and Joe O’Malley tallied 10 points for the Eagles.
Bishop Shanahan closed the first half on a run to open up a 32-14 lead at intermission. Angelo started the run with a 3-pointer that was followed by a Dodds putback. After a Trojan turnover, Ford took a pass from O’Malley for a score, and then O’Malley ended the roll with a driving layup.
Hershey shot just 13 for 49 from the field and the Trojans (22-6) were also invisible on the glass as Bishop Shanahan held them to just one shot the entire night. The Eagles also shredded the Trojans’ 2-3 zone defense, consistently getting open looks close to the basket, while Hershey could not penetrate the Eagles’ defense and had to settle for outside shots.
“We saw on film that they play a lot of 2-3 zone and we felt if we could drive the baseline and have Kevin in the middle to take a pass near the basket we would be alright. After the Penncrest game, it took two days to get that game out of our minds,” Bishop Shanahan coach Ken Doyle said. “The weather messed up our practice schedule a little but the kids had some good days of practice and that Penncrest game was just one of those days. We really worked on hitting the glass tonight also and the kids did a nice job.”
The Eagles took a commanding 32-14 halftime edge and continued to pour it on in the third. Ford strolled down the lane for a layup and it was a 40-22 Bishop Shanahan lead. Dodds took a nice feed from O’Malley to make it a 42-20 game and after a Trojan miss, Ford took a perfect pass from David Angelo to score in tight and the rout was officially on.
All that was left was for the Eagles to get Dodds the ball so he could hit the 1,000 mark. The Eagles tried two passes to the big man but he missed inside on both attempts. The third time was the charm as Dodds was fouled and hit both free throws. After the second, the game was stopped and the Eagles celebrated the impressive milestone. After the rout, Ford talked about how the Eagles wiped the Penncrest loss out of their minds and took care of business against Hershey.
“It took about two days to clear our heads about the district title game,” Ford said. “But, we saw on film that we could attack their 2-3 zone and we knew they liked to shoot the three, so we boxed out and kept them off the glass. And it is special to win the first state game since 1985. We knew we could get the baseline against them and we got the ball inside a lot tonight and we fed Kevin inside a lot also.”