Gal’s 3-pointers help Great Valley upset CB West in District 1-AAAA 1st round

DOYLESTOWN — A year ago, it was Great Valley feeling the sting of a first-round upset in the District 1-AAAA tournament.

Friday night, the Patriots were the side delivering disappointment as they knocked the Central Bucks West boys basketball team out of the field.

Andrew Gal had 12 points on four three-pointers, including back-to-back triples that swung momentum in the third quarter and visiting No. 25 Great Valley held off the eighth-seeded Bucks for a 56-49 victory.

“It’s pretty tough. I’ve been in this program for four years, put a lot of time into it,’ CB West senior Owen Cooney said. “I love playing with these guys.’

The Patriots advance to face No. 9 Ridley on the road in the second round Tuesday. Ridley bested No. 24 West Chester Rustin 68-55. Winner clinches one of District 1’s 10 berths in the PIAA tournament.

Beating Ridley sends Great Valley to its second district quarterfinals in three seasons. The Patriots made it to the semis in 2013, but last year as the third seed they were bounced in the opening round by Wissahickon.

“It feels good. Coming off an upset like that, everybody expected us before the year to be like an average team,’ Gal said. “And throughout the year, we’ve been trying to prove all the doubters wrong. And that was our mind set going into the game.’

West earned a state bid in 2014 as the 22nd seed pulling off a pair of upsets in the first two rounds, but in being unable to avoid elimination Friday the Bucks’ season ended at 17-7.

“Honestly, this is one of the tightest groups that we’ve had. Probably one of the more committed groups,’ CB West coach Adam Sherman said. “They’re literally gym rats. Constantly got to pull the balls out of their hands and kick them out of the gym. They love putting the time in.

“This is a fun group to coach. I’m disappointed. They deserved a longer ride. It’s been a rough week for us, but it is what it is.’

Cal Reichwein — who picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter — led CB West with 14 points. Cooney chipped in 12 points, while Luke Irons and Erich Hohenleitner each had eight points.

Mark Miller paced Great Valley with 14 points. Will Buzan had 11 points while Ryan Buchholz added 10 points and defensively made a couple blocks while making things difficult for West inside the lane.

“He’s so big and so athletic, he clogs that middle so well for them,’ said Sherman of Buchholz, a Penn State football commit. “He can blocks shots and he’s 265 pounds, we launched guys into him and they just kind of bounced off him several times. I thought defensively he was a huge factor for them.’

Down 25-20 at halftime, the Bucks scored the first seven points of the third to grab a 27-25 lead on Cooney’s triple from the wing.

Two Cooney free throws at 2:38 in the quarter gave West back the advantage 29-27, but Gal drilled a triple for a one-point Patriot lead, then hit again from beyond the arc for a 33-29 advantage.

“We knew that kid could come off the bench and he is a three-point specialist for them,’ said Sherman of Gal. “We knew that, we just didn’t communicate properly and before we fixed it, it was already two threes.’

Gal provided another dagger in the fourth after five straight Reichwein points pull West to within 38-36. Miller’s basket on a drive down the lane had Great Valley up four, with Gal drained his fourth three off a Miller assist to make it 43-38.

“I’ve been in a slump recently with my shot and finally I was feeling good going into the game,’ Gal said.

The Patriots pushed the lead up to eight twice before the Bucks cut the deficit to four in the final minute when Luke Irons hit two free throws. A Buchholz foul shot with 21.9 left put Great Valley up five and when Nico Munari’s jumper didn’t go down, the visitors sealed the win by going 4-for-4 from the line.

Great Valley held an 11-6 lead in the first quarter before Munari’s three beat the buzzer. Back-to-back baskets from Reichwein and Munari had West up 13-11. A Buzan three edged the Patriots ahead a point, but Irons’ putback made it 15-14 West.

Buchholz’s three from the top of the arc began Great Valley’s 8-0 run, which gave the visitors a 22-15 lead. A Reichwein’s trey had the margin at four, but a Miller free throw with 1:15 left made it 25-18. Hohenleitner’s corner jumper had West within five at the break.

With 1:08 left in the third, Irons’ two free throws made it 33-31, but at 34.5 seconds Miller was fouled and his shot rolled in. The senior converted the and-one and Great Valley went to the fourth up 36-31.

Buzan’s turnaround jumper made it a seven-point Patriot advantage, but Reichwein’s 5-0 run sliced the West deficit to 38-36 at 4:35.

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