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Chesco stars shine for great cause in Special Olympics Valor Bowl games

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WEST CHESTER >> “It was a fun night.”

That was the declaration from West Chester Henderson girls basketball coach Greta Neff following Tuesday’s Chester County Valor Bowl All-Star Basketball games at Henderson.

The fourth annual games featured the best boys and girls senior basketball players from Chester County to benefit Special Olympics of Chester County.

“It’s funny, because when you get into this situation, all of the girls see you as the opposing coach,” said Neff. “You get so intense during the season, that you forget it’s all about getting out there and having fun.

“I love it because I get to see the girls in a different light. There’s so many neat kids, it’s great to get to meet them and see them again and have a good time.”

The 2018 Valor Bowl boys teams. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

The girls were first up and treated the crowd to a competitive, back-and-forth contest. The East, led by the Henderson duo of Daily Local News All-Area Co-Player of the Year Abbey Shea (seven points) and Erin Torrance (six points) took a 23-20 lead after the first of two 20-minute halves.

“It was a lot of fun because it’s nice to be next to these girls and be on the same team and cheering everyone on,” said Shea. “Everyone was nice. It was great to play on our court one more time.”

If the constant smiles on the players’ faces didn’t give away how light the atmosphere was, the banter between players and coaches certainly put a fine point on it. After Rustin’s Maggie O’Hare passed up a semi-open 25-footer, Neff, who was joined by Villa Maria’s Kathy McCartney on the bench, gently chided her by saying, “come on Mags, shoot that. You have that range.”

The game came down to the wire as Torrance broke a 46-46 tie by scoring on a layup with 12 seconds left. The East went on to post a 50-46 victory.

Shea topped the East with 13 points, Torrance had 10, O’Hare added nine and Grace Schrof of Unionville chipped in seven.

Erin Phelan topped the West with 16 points. Caroline Hertz of Kennett added 10.

“It took a little time, but not too long,” Phelan said about meshing with her teammates. “We were pretty competitive, but it was all for fun, and a good time for a great cause.”

In between games, the Chester County Special Olympians entertained the crowd as all the players formed a line of honor to greet them during introductions.

In the boys game, the West came out strong, scoring the first nine points. Bishop Shanahan’s Kevin Dodds, the Daily Local News All-Area Player of the Year, scored 12 of his team-high 20 points in the first 20 minutes to stake the West to a 30-28 advantage.

“I had a blast, I love these games,” said Dodds. “It feels great to play with them for once. We were loose, talking to each other the entire time. I feel great that this is for a great cause. I appreciate what they’ve done with this.”

The West ran away in the second half, as Tyrel Bladen of Coatesville and Greg Barton of Downingtown West tallied eight points each as the West pulled away for a 79-67 victory.

Liam Ward of Great Valley paced the East with 22 points.

“It’s a lot of fun to play against good players, and these are the best players in the area,” said Ward. “I’m so happy to play in their (Special Olympians) honor. They played so hard out here. They love the game. They played harder than we did, probably.”

Notes >> The game raised about $1,000 for the Special Olympics. The Valor Bowl football game will be May, 31 at West Chester Univeristy. … Villa Maria’s Shannon Smith and Lizzie Walheim did double duty, playing in their district lacrosse semifinal before driving to Henderson. … Malik Slay of Downingtown East tried two halfcourt shots in the waning stages. The closest of which hit off the front rim.

Girls

East 50, West 46

West: Weir 0 0-0 0; White 2 0-0 4; Powell 0 0-0 0; O. Williams 2 1-2 7; Phelan 7 2-2 16; Tyrell 3 0-0 7; Hurley 1 0-2 2; Hertz 4 1-2 10; M. Williams 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 4-6 46.

East: Shea 6 1-2 13; Torrance 5 0-0 10; De Prisco 0 0-0 0; Covert 1 0-0 2; Schrof 3 1-2 7; Walheim 0 0-0 0; Broadhurst 0 0-0 0; Smith 0 0-0 0; Gallagher 1 0-0 3; O’Hare 2 5-9 11; Yoegel 0 2-2 2; Dakin 1 0-0 2; Wahn 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 10-15 50.

West 20 24 – 46

East 23 27 – 50

Three-point goals: O. Williams 2, Tyrell, Hertz, O’Hare 2, Gallagher.

——-

Boys

West 79, East 67

West: Murphy 3 0-0 8; Dodds 9 1-3 20; Angelo 1 0-0 3; DiBeneditto 2 1-2 5; Bladen 5 0-0 10; Reardon  0 0-0 0; Barton 5 0-0 10; Slay 1 0-0 3; Hernandez 1 2-2 4; London 6 0-0 13; Giles 1 0-0 3. Totals: 34 4-7 79.

East: McFillin 3 0-0 7; Graeff 3 0-0 6; Ward 9 0-0 22; Porreca 1 0-0 3; Barouck 5 0-0 11; Smith 0 1-2 1; Hill 1 0-0 2; Carr 4 0-0 10; Schappell 1 0-0 2; Dean 1 0-0 3. Totals: 28 1-2 67.

West 33 46 – 79

East 28 39 – 67

Three-point goals: Murphy 2, Dodds, Angelo, Slay, London, Giles, McFillin, Ward 4, Porreca, Barouck, Carr 2, Dean.

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