CALN — Coatesville High School was faced with a challenge, down seven at halftime against West Chester Rustin in a game they trailed since the opening tip-off.
“Well, I thought our effort was low on the defensive end,’ said Coatesville coach Chuck Moore. “I think we came out here a little lackadaisical to start and it showed whenever we don’t give the effort most teams will come in here and beat us.’
Coatesville used a big third quarter and hung on for a come-from-behind 58-46 nonleague boys basketball win over Rustin on Saturday afternoon at Coatesville. The Red Raiders outscored the Golden Knights 14-4 in the third and 33-14 in the second half.
Rustin (2-4 overall) set the tone early in the game going on two separate 6-0 runs. The first came late in the first quarter, while the other was midway through the second to help them build a 32-25 advantage at the break.
“Our kids played hard, we are fighters,’ said Rustin coach Keith Cochran. “We know Coatesville is a tough team and that it would be a fight to the end. They won the battle unfortunately.’
Both runs credited to great rebounding and aggressive drives from both Ryan Loucks and Brennan Halverson.
“Ryan Loucks and Brennan Halverson have been playing hard for us all year,’ said Cochran. “I think they have been getting more comfortable on the floor and I expected that from them sooner or later. I think they are going to have a big season.’
Loucks, who finished with eight points, ended the second 6-0 run with an epic one-handed dunk.
Halverson also finished the game with eight points and was greatly missed in the paint when he fouled out late in the third quarter.
What helped keep Coatesville (5-2) competitive in the first half was the play of Justus Martinez in the paint and the team’s prowess at the free-throw line in the first half.
“I did ok,’ Martinez said humbly. “The only thing I have to work on more is finishing and making more foul shots, before the second half my coach told me to play more physical and I
tried to get more physical down low in the post.’
Martinez’s ‘ okay’ day consisted of 12 points and going 2-2 from the foul line — both to complete three-point plays.
“We actually made free throws in the first (Coates was 12-for-15)?’ Moore said jokingly. “It’s something we preach on a daily basis. There have been games this year where go to the line and missed in key moments, to either come back or extend the lead. I’m glad those guys stepped up and knocked them down to keep us in the game.’
The Red Raiders’ half time deficit did not faze Moore, knowing he had seniors on his team who could step up in key situations.
“At half time I preached about the point that we try to make in the beginning of the game (better defense, but to be honest I let my seniors take over,’ said Moore. “I thought Jon Rodriguez
played excellent defense, followed by Keenan Coleman. Those guys set the tempo defensively and gave us the energy to create turnovers, and get in transition to get some easy baskets. The
momentum shifts when those things are applied. I thought the effort from my senior leaders was fantastic and they pushed us for the win today.’
Rodriguez not only set the tempo defensively, but offensively with 11 of his 17 points coming in the second half.
Coatesville came out from half time and stunned Rustin by going on a 8-0 run which, gave Coatesville the lead — 33-32 – – with four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
“In the locker room we preached we had to play better defense and it all starts with that,’ said Rodriguez. “As a senior leader I told myself that I am not going to let my team lose. I have to do
whatever it is to make my team win and we ended up on a roll.’
Only up by three points going into the fourth, Coatesville did their best Rustin imitation and went on a 6-0 run of its own. This run put them up 51-42 and sealed the comeback win.
Despite a slow start Coatesville was able to come from behind with defensive determination and athleticism.
“They got us in foul trouble and the athleticism wore them (Rustin) down,’ said Cochran. “Coatesville is a good, well-coached, team and they are hard to beat.’