Downingtown West nabs Ches-Mont League National Division crown

DOWNINGTOWN — Tuesday night at Wagner Gymnasium, the Downingtown West boys basketball team accomplished the first of its season goals.

The Whippets won the National Division of the Ches-Mont League and locked up the top seed in the Final Four after holding up a stern challenge from Bishop Shanahan, 59-49.

The Whippets (11-1 National, 18-4 overall) will meet Oxford, the second seed in the American, at Unionville High School on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the semifinals.

West put three players in double-figures. Ryan Betley led with 19 points, Josh Warren added 15 and Dom Guerera chipped in with 12.

“It just shows that hard work pays off,’ said Doug Conrad, who had four points and played a smart floor game. “And we put a lot of time in over the summer and played in numerous leagues and came in on off days and got a lot of work in. To get into the Final Four was definitely our first goal as a team coming into this season.’

Shanahan (5-6, 11-11) played the Whippets very tough and had a 23-14 lead early in the second period, largely due to the superb play of Pat Corcoran. The senior led the Eagles with 16 points and played with energy the entire night until fouling out in the fourth period.

West went on a 12-0 run midway in the second, with Warren and Betley leading the way. Betley drained four 3-pointers on the night and every time the Whippets needed a big bucket, Betely gave it to them.

“I like to be in that position with the pressure on,’ Betley said. “Everybody has a role on this team and to take the shot when we need it is my role, and I have to come through.’

The third period was a seesaw affair with both teams trading baskets. Guerera threw down a slam that brought the crowd to its feet and gave the Whippets a 38-32 lead with 3:53 to play. But, the Eagles battled back to trail, 40-37, going into the fourth.

However, Downingtown West would not be denied. The Whippets outscored Shanahan, 19-12, in the final period. Betley drained a three to make it 44-41 with 4:02 to play. Shanahan turned the ball over and Johnson off a feed from Warren for a 46-41 lead. Shanahan shot just 2-for-11 (18 percent) in the fourth period after shooting 16-for-36 (44 percent) through the first three periods.

Another Shanahan turnover led to a Guerera jumper in the lane for a 48-41 lead. After a Shanahan miss, Warren scored in tight to make it 50-41 to finally put the Eagles away.

“We took this team a million miles to win a title that is about 15 miles away,’ Downingtown West coach Jason Ritter said. “This team worked very hard and tonight, we asked some people to do different thing,s but we came through. I was upset with our foul shooting because we work every day on it, but it almost cost us tonight.’

Notes: T.J. Booth left the game for Shanahan in the fourth period with an appearent ankle injury. The Eagles turned the ball over 17 times.

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