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Strong freshman class making noise in Ches-Mont

The Ches-Mont League have plenty of upperclassmen that dominate the basketball scene with Noelle Powell, Paige Warfel, Ciara Forde and Maddie Dew leading the way.

The past two seasons have been different than most due to the influx of young talent that have been contributing to a varsity roster on nightly basis.

Last season, Warfel and Forde led a talented sophomore class and have elevated their games this season as their teams are at the top of the league standings.

This year, the Ches-Mont has a freshman class that are logging minutes and earning their way on the scoreboard every night. Here are some freshmen that have made an impact on their teams in the early portion of the season…

Devon Adams (Bishop Shanahan): Adams has highlighted this class since being inserted into the Eagles’ starting lineup on opening night, scoring 11 points in her debut. She has become one of the top centers in the Ches-Mont, averaging 10.0 points a game while playing supurb defense. Listed at 6-3, Adams is one of the top scorers in the Ches-Mont and is a matchup nightmare in the post for most teams.

Maddie DePrisco (West Chester Henderson): Another player who has started since opening night for West Chester Henderson and hasn’t disappointed. DePrisco has averaged 8.8 points a game and has already established herself as one of the top 3-point shooters in the Ches-Mont. She is quick enough to create her own shot and a solid defender on the perimeter. One of the reasons the Warriors are one of the most improved teams in the league.

Sadie Buzan (Great Valley): Buzan is a spark plug off the bench for the Patriots, averaging 6.0 points a game. She has played an important role for a team that has sustained injuries to Steph Aker and Megan Buettner early in the season. Once those two return, expect Buzan to continue in the regular rotation for Great Valley. She’s strong off the ball and an excellent passer.

Caroline Hertz (Kennett): With Jess Hussey battling injuries, Hertz has earned the opportunity to showcase her skills for the Blue Demons. In 13 games, Hertz has averaged 7.4 points a game and created open shot opportunities for Miranda Hill. Hertz is quick to the ball on defense and tough to beat on the perimeter. Her game will improve as the season goes on.

As these players continue to develop their games, so will their teams. With this talented freshman class, the Ches-Mont should be a force in District 1 the next few years.

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Despite an 0-3 start, West Chester Rustin has found its stride. The Golden Knights have gone 7-1 in their last eight games including wins over Mount St. Joseph and Garnet Valley, knocking both teams from the ranks of the unbeaten.

The Jaguars were 8-0 heading into the contest, but Rustin scored 38 points in the first half en route to a 61-35 win on the road.

Noelle Powell had 22 points in the game while Emily Walls added 13.

Rustin is 7-4, but plays one of the hardest nonleague schedules in District 1. The wins over Mount St. Joseph’s and Garnet Valley are the only losses for both teams.

The Golden Knights have two nonleague games remaining, tonight at Council Rock North and February 4 at Villa Maria. With the team improving under head coach Colette Dugan, the sky will be the limit for one of the top teams in District 1 come February.

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It’s not too often we get to witness a “streetball’ move in a girls’ basketball game, but Holly Hager was able to do that Saturday against Great Valley.

In the second quarter, Hager received the ball at the top of the key with Kodi Campetti guarding her. Hager took three dribbles to her right with Campetti playing tight defense.

On Hager’s next move, she crossed-up Campetti causing her to slip and put up a shot from 18-feet out once her left hand got a hold of the ball.

Hager swished the shot for her 10th point of the game. She finished with 20 points and six steals in a 53-34 loss to Great Valley.

The move wasn’t easy to pull off considering Campetti is one of the fastest players and top defenders in the Ches-Mont. Hager’s crossover rivals Downingtown East guard Paige Warfel’s 30-foot buzzer beater to end the third quarter against Downingtown West as an early candidate for play of the year.

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FREE THROWS — Ashlyn Smith has been on a scoring tear for Great Valley over the past three games, averaging 20.0 points. The Patriots are 3-0 during that stretch as Smith’s scoring average is up to 13.5 points a game… Aryah Aungst had a career-high 19 points for Downingtown East in its win over West Chester Henderson. She’s third on the Cougars in scoring with 8.6 points a game while teammate Lindsay Kent is averging 9.3 points. The trio of Paige Warfel, Aungst, and Kent average 35.3 points a game… Nafisa Saunders has scored 60 points over her last three games for Coatesville, averging 20.0 points. Her scoring average has jumped to 16.3 points a game, tied for third in the Ches-Mont… A win tonight will give Coatesville 10 for the season. The Red Raiders were just 10-11 last year, missing the District 1 playoffs by percentage points… Sun Valley is currently in second place in the American Division with a 4-1 record. The Vanguards are 9-1 overall and establishing themselves as one of the favorites to win the District 1 Class AAA title along with Villa Maria, Pope John Paul II and Marple Newtown.

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KEY GAMES THIS WEEK — Unionville at Great Valley (tonight, 7:15 p.m.), Downingtown East at Coatesville (tonight, 7:15 p.m.), Bishop Shanahan at Downingtown West (tonight, 7:15 p.m.), Bishop Shanahan vs. Wilson-West Lawn at Philadelphia University (Saturday, TBA), Coatesville at Sun Valley (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.), Downingtown East at Great Valley (Saturday, 7:15 p.m.), West Chester Henderson at Coatesville (Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.), West Chester Rustin at Great Valley (Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.).

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Jeff Kerr’s Top-10 Rankings (Week 5)

1. Bishop Shanahan (9-1): Bounced back from first loss of year on Dec. 27 with win over Kennett. Travel to Downingtown West tonight, where Eagles fell in double overtime thriller last year.

2. West Chester Rustin (7-4): Huge win over previously undefeated Garnet Valley Saturday. Golden Knights hitting their stride, winning seven of last eight.

3. Downingtown East (6-3): Aungst netted career-high 19 in dominant second-half win over Henderson Tuesday. Huge game at Coatesville tonight for second in Ches-Mont National.

4. Coatesville (9-2): Red Raiders one win away from matching 10-win total from last year. Biggest game of year to date hosting Downingtown East tonight and another big test at Sun Valley Saturday.

5. Downingtown West (6-4): Defeated Avon Grove to stay a game behind Downingtown East and Coatesville for second in Ches-Mont National. Hosting Shanahan tonight in biggest game of season to date.

6. Unionville (6-4): Hung tough with Rustin before Golden Knights pulled away late. Huge road test against Great Valley tonight.

7. Villa Maria (5-6): Lost to Gwynedd Mercy after strong showing in West Chester University tournament. Host Villa Joseph Marie today and head to Philadelphia University to play Penn Charter Saturday.

8. Great Valley (6-5): Patriots are getting healthy and have won six of their last eight since 0-3 start. Big test hosting Unionville tonight. Cap week with Downingtown East Saturday and Rustin Tuesday.

9. West Chester Henderson (6-6): Tough loss to Downingtown East Tuesday to slip back to .500. Have a chance to get back over the mark against Penncrest Saturday.

10. Conestoga (4-4): Hard stretch against Ridley and Marple Newtown over next five days. Staying afloat in Central despite not having Ellie Mack all season.

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