Aungst leads dominant third quarter as Downingtown East pulls away from Henderson

UWCHLAN — With Paige Warfel struggling to score points in the first half, Aryah Aungst took it upon herself to become the go-to option for Downingtown East.

Aungst is the one of the secondary scoring options on the Cougars most nights, but not on Tuesday.

A reason the Cougars are in the upper echelon of the Ches-Mont League each year are the contributions they receive from secondary scorers like Aungst in division games.

“Someone has to step up and score for us,’ Aungst said. “With Paige struggling a little bit, I wanted to do that. I couldn’t have done anything without my teammates. They passed the ball to me when I was open.’

Aungst stepped up with a career-high 19 points, 12 of which came in a second half the Cougars controlled in a 56-36 win over West Chester Henderson in a Ches-Mont National Division game.

Leading by seven at halftime, Aungst scored eight points in the third quarter as the Cougars went on a 14-2 run to take control of the game. The win puts Downingtown East (3-1 National, 6-3 overall) within a game behind Bishop Shanahan (idle in league play) for first place in the National Division.

The Warriors (2-3 National, 6-6 overall) slip to fifth in the National with the loss and are back to .500 on the season.

With East failing to cash in on numerous opportunities in the first half, it allowed Henderson to hang around with the defending division champions.

Maddie DePrisco scored four straight points to bring the Warriors to within three, 23-20, early in the third quarter. From that point, East made its run.

“We weren’t turning the ball over and playing really good defense,’ said East head coach Bob Schnure. “I just told the girls to keep after it. We’re going to make some shots. They got a nice run together after that.’

With Henderson getting into early foul trouble, East was able to make its run. Warfel hit two free throws followed by an Aungst layup on an inbounds pass to make it 27-20.

Kaelyn Johns hit a 3-pointer from the corner to put the Cougars up 30-20 and cap a 7-0 run.

Aungst later followed with a layup on a cross-court pass from Warfel to make it 33-22. Laura Ochsner followed with a putback layup then Aungst hit a jumper from the foul line to cap the 14-2 run.

In a matter of minutes, East was up 37-22 and put the Warriors in a deficit they could not overcome.

“Our kids just need to recognize that we need to have quality possessions,’ said Henderson head coach Greta Neff. “We need to make better shots for ourselves and just didn’t do that. They just need to believe in their potential. That’s the stuff we can do if they keep their intensity up. We’re still trying to learn how to succeed.’

DePrisco and Julie Gawrylowicz each led the Warriors with seven points. Emma Bertrando, who led Henderson with 10.9 points a game coming into the contest, was held to just four on the night.

Kent finished with 10 points and Johns had eight for East.

On a night where Warfel, who averaged 18.0 points coming into the contest, was struggling to get buckets, she still managed to earn 13 points along with five blocks and four steals.

Fortunately, she wasn’t needed to be relied upon to get the Cougars past the Warriors. Aungst and Kent were able to get the job done.

Those contribututions are going to benefit East during the heart of the Ches-Mont schedule.

“We knew this was a big game for us,’ Kent said. “All of us had to pull through, since Henderson has kept games with other good teams in this league so close. We had to pick up the slack if one of us was struggling.’

All that was left was Aungst’s career night on the court, which she used to describe in one word…awesome.

“It was like an adrenaline rush the whole time,’ Aungst said. “I didn’t even realize I was scoring that much. I never was able to do that before.’

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