The punches kept getting thrown in West Chester Henderson’s direction.
The Warriors took every hit Downingtown East swung at them, but refused to fall. A 25-point, 24-rebound performance by Paige Warfel couldn’t provide the knockout, nor could an evaporated nine-point lead with 4:21 remaining.
Once Downingtown East took a 55-54 lead with 32.1 seconds to play, Henderson responded with a bucket of its own and retook the lead four seconds later. The Warriors did not relinquish it, holding on to a 57-55 win which sent shockwaves throughout the Ches-Mont League.
Henderson defeated Downingtown East for the first time in school history. The Warriors have arrived among the best teams in the Ches-Mont, a road that only took head coach Greta Neff 18 months to complete.
“The way teams walk in here now, I think we’re being considered that,” Neff said. “People are scouting us left and right and calling us for game film, but we got work to do. We just are trying to put wins under our belt and play good, solid basketball.”
After 10 seasons as an assistant under Dave Johnson at Downingtown West, Neff took over a program that had not produced a winning season since 2008-2009, when assistant coach Katie Armstrong was a senior. Thanks to a young core led by Emma Bertrando (20 points, eight rebounds against East), Henderson remains a young team on the rise, but now has a signature win to belong with the Ches-Mont’s best.
And they accomplished the feat without starter Julie Gawroloyicz, who missed the game with an eye injury, and 2014-15 leading scorer Maddie DePrisco, who was lost for the season with an ACL injury suffered back in July.
“We had a little chip on our shoulder,” Bertrando said after the win Tuesday. “The win against East was well-deserved for us. It’s a really good feeling, but I’ll enjoy it now and get ready for the next game once the next practice starts.”
Sitting in second-place of the Ches-Mont National with a 9-5 record and in striking distance of its first district playoff appearance since 2009 isn’t enough to satisfy Henderson. The Warriors enjoy the feeling of being one of the best teams in the Ches-Mont and intend to stay there.
“Everyone tended to underestimate us,” said Erin Thompson, who scored the go-ahead layup with under 30 seconds to play in Tuesday’s win over East. “They better watch out now. We’re coming.”
Emily Shallow scored a career-high 11 points in Oxford’s 40-39 upset victory over Kennett last Thursday night… Great Valley freshman Annelise Porreca had a career-high eight points as the Patriots defeated Sun Valley 50-36 last Thursday… Syd Eller scored a career-high 13 points in West Chester Rustin’s 51-43 victory over Kennett Saturday. Eller broke her previous career-highs in her last two games prior to the 13-point performance (seven against Sun Valley, eight against Octorara)… Prior to Tuesday’s loss to Unionville, West Chester Rustin had won 49 of its last 51 games against Ches-Mont opponents dating back to 2012 with the lone defeats coming to Downingtown East in the 2015 Ches-Mont playoffs and District 1 Class AAAA tournament. Unionville’s win over W.C. Rustin was the Golden Knights’ first loss against an American Division opponent since Sun Valley in 2012, ending a 40-game win streak against division opponents… Bishop Shanahan’s Ciara Forde scored a career-high 24 points in the Eagles’ 46-37 loss to Episcopal Academy in the Play-By-Play Classic Sunday. Forde is averaging 21.5 points per game in the two showcase games Shanahan has played in this season… Bishop Shanahan had its 11-game winning streak snapped Sunday, the Ches-Mont’s longest since West Chester Rustin’s 13-game winning streak that lasted between 2014 and 2015… The 11-0 start was the best for Shanahan this century… Paige Warfel scored a season-high 25 points and pulled down a career-high 24 rebounds in Downingtown East’s 57-55 loss to West Chester Henderson Tuesday night. The Cougars are 8-3 in games Warfel has started… Henderson’s 57-55 win over Downingtown East was the first time the Warriors defeated the Cougars in school history. Emma Bertrando scored 20 points for the second time in her career and had eight rebounds in the victory… Maria Koblish netted a career-high 18 points in Conestoga’s 48-30 win over Marple Newtown Tuesday. The Pioneers are tied for first in the Central League with Garnet Valley… Heather Camden scored 17 points in Downingtown West’s 49-32 win over Avon Grove Tuesday.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Player of the Week honors for Week 6 are awarded to West Chester Henderson’s Emma Bertrando, who led the Warriors in a 57-55 upset over Downingtown East Tuesday. Bertrando finished with 20 points and eight rebounds in the game for Henderson, which defeated Downingtown East for the first time in school history. She averaged 12.7 points per game for the week as the Warriors defeated West Chester East, Penncrest and Downingtown East. Henderson is on a four-game win streak.
Honorable Mention >> Paige Warfel (Downingtown East), Ciara Forde (Bishop Shanahan), Miranda Porretta (Oxford), Jenna Maratea (West Chester Henderson).
Previous Winners >> Miranda Hill, Kennett (Week 1); Ellie Mack, Conestoga (Week 2); Ciara Forde, Bishop Shanahan (Week 3); Jess Hussey, Kennett (Week 4); Paige Warfel, Downingtown East (Week 5).
KEY GAMES THIS WEEK
Merion Mercy at Villa Maria, (tonight, 5:15 p.m.); Great Valley at Unionville, (tonight, 7:15 p.m.); West Chester East at Avon Grove, (tonight, 7:15 p.m.); West Chester Rustin at West Chester Henderson, (Friday, 7:15 p.m.); Strath Haven at Conestoga, (Saturday, 2:30 p.m.); Oxford at Avon Grove, (Saturday, 6 p.m.); Bishop Shanahan vs. Paul VI in Blue Star Invitational, (Sunday, 5 p.m., at Cabrini College); Great Valley at West Chester Rustin, (Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.); Oxford at Unionville, (Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.); Coatesville at West Chester Henderson, (Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.).
Daily Local News
Top-10 Rankings (Week 6)
1. Bishop Shanahan (11-1): Eagles lose first game of season to Episcopal Academy in Play-By-Play Classic at Philadelphia University Sunday, snapping 11-game win streak to start season. Ciara Forde had season-high 24 points in the loss.
2. Conestoga (10-2): Maria Koblish scored career-high 18 points in win over Marple Newtown Tuesday. Pioneers have won nine of last 11 games and are tied for first place in Central League with Garnet Valley.
3. West Chester Henderson (9-5): Defeated Downingtown East Tuesday to earn one of biggest wins in school history and arguably greatest win in Greta Neff’s short tenure. Currently second place in Ches-Mont National Division; one game behind Shanahan.
4. Downingtown East (8-5): Despite loss to Henderson, Cougars defeated Great Valley and Unionville by average of 20.5 points in past week. Paige Warfel averaged 16.3 points in the three games, including 25 point, 24 rebound performance against Henderson.
5. Great Valley (10-3): Patriots responded from 16-point loss to Downingtown East with blowout win over Octorara. Currently tied for first in Ches-Mont American Division and host third-place Unionville (one game behind them) tonight.
6. Oxford (9-5): Season-high five game win streak for the Hornets, including a 40-39 upset victory over Kennett last Thursday. In thick of competing for district playoff spot with 12 wins as the threshold to qualify.
7. Unionville (7-6): Maddie Shanahan and Sam Pancoast each had 15 points in a victory over West Chester Rustin Tuesday to put Indians over .500 mark. Also upset Cheltenham on the road Saturday and one game behind Rustin and Great Valley for first in Ches-Mont American.
8. West Chester Rustin (6-7): Fell to Unionville Tuesday to suffer first league loss of the season, but remain tied for first in the division. Syd Eller scored career-high 13 points in win over Kennett Saturday.
9. Kennett (9-5): After a 9-1 start, Blue Demons have dropped four games in a row to fall three games behind Rustin and Great Valley in the American Division standings. Jess Hussey and Miranda Hill are first and second in Ches-Mont in scoring.
10. Coatesville (7-8): Dee Dee Irwin scored 20 points to lead Red Raiders in 34-point victory over West Chester East. Irwin averaging 12.7 points a game with 24 3-pointers. Travel to Downingtown East tonight.
GIRLS HOOPS NOTEBOOK: Henderson now among Ches-Mont’s best
The punches kept getting thrown in West Chester Henderson’s direction.
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