EAST NOTTINGHAM – In the final tune-up before divisional play begins, Tuesday’s Ches-Mont girls’ basketball crossover battle between Coatesville and Oxford was a clash of styles. And in the end, the numbers were a good indication of who won that battle.
The two teams combined to score just over 100, which is indicative of a plodding, patient pace. And the host Hornets turned it over just 11 times against the Red Raiders’ pressure defense, which went a long way toward a 54-52 Oxford victory.
“It seemed like we were trying the whole game to get our edge,” said Hornets’ head coach Brian Urig, who was preaching patience throughout.
“Brian is a very good, disciplined coach,” added Coatesville head coach Tem Mack. “He runs some old-school stuff, so you have to expect that with them they are not going to turn it over much.”
With a road trip to Great Valley up next on Thursday, Oxford is 2-1 overall. Coatesville (0-2) will host Avon Grove.
“We are fortunate we have some guards on our team that have played a lot of varsity basketball,” Urig said. “Limiting the turnovers was big for us against a team that is very aggressive like that. You need to stay patient and look to turn their aggressiveness into easy opportunities.”
The Raiders kept Hornets’ leading scorers Miranda Porretta and Madeline Williams relatively in check – each connected on three field goals – but that opened the way for senior forward Hannah D’Aquann, who poured in a career high 19 points, including 11 in a difference making second quarter.
“Hannah did a nice job recognizing that when defenses cheat to (Miranda) Porretta and (Madeline) Williams, we have others that can score,” Urig said. “I thought her shot selection was good, she didn’t force anything, and that’s what she’s got to do.”
After missing all but one shot from the floor in the first quarter, the Hornets started heating up from the perimeter. D’Aquanno and freshman guard Christina Fernandez each buried a pair from beyond the arc and spark a 15-1 rally, and that led to a 27-22 lead at halftime.
“Sometimes we start slow, but we always seem to regroup,” D’Aquann said. “This team is good at driving and kicking. And when we get double-teamed, we do a good job of finding the open man.”
Coatesville scored the first six points in the second half to regain the lead, but Oxford finished on a 10-2 run to open a 43-36 edge heading into the final quarter. The Hornets then held on the rest of the way, getting to the free throw line 11 times and knocking down seven.
“We were able to make some free throws and get a couple rebounds down the stretch when we needed them,” Urig said.
“When you play an aggressive team, you have to be aggressive right back at them. You can’t be passive.”
In all, Oxford scored more from the line (14) than the Raiders attempted (12). The Hornets also forced more turnovers than they surrendered, and hit on three times as many from 3-point range (6-2).
“We are so young, I don’t think our kids realize that if you don’t close out on defense, in this league, your opponent is going to knock down shots,” said Mack, who is starting four juniors and a freshman.
“I have one returning starter (Sarah Huston) and she is a junior. The others didn’t play much because we were senior-laden last season. Now they are getting experience and they’ve got to learn quick.”
Williams scored 10 of her 16 points from the free throw line in the second half for Oxford, and Porretta chipped in nine points.
“I wasn’t too worried about the slow start, and the girls did a nice job making the adjustments,” Urig said.
Huston paced Coatesville with 16 points and 5-foot-11 freshman forward Neveyah Chester added 13.
“We are so inexperienced, stuff is going to happen to us,” Mack said. “When we get to the point where we know that the game is not just one quarter, and we put together four quarters, we’ll be OK.
“We had a better effort than we did on Friday (a 72-52 loss to West Chester Rustin). We have to pick little things and try to build off of them.”
Oxford 54, Coatesville 52
COATESVILLE – Ellzy 1 2-2 4; Chester 6 1-2 13; Worthington 2 2-2 6; Boggs 4 1-2 9; Bermudez 1 0-0 2; Peoples 1 0-0 2; Huston 6 2-4 16. Totals 21 8-12 52.
OXFORD – Williams 3 10-14 16; D’Aquann 7 2-6 19; Fernandez 3 0-0 8; Porretta 3 2-4 9; London 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 14-24 54.
Coatesville 9 13 14 16 — 52
Oxford 3 24 16 11 — 54
3-point goals: Huston 2, D’Aquann 3, Fernandez 2, Porretta.