DiGiovanni: D-West in line for special season

Finally, the 2015-16 area basketball season is upon us.
One team stands out like a bright light in a formally darkened room for the Ches-Mont League, which would be defending champion Downingtown West. The Whippets are the heavy favorites to take home the league title again. Under head coach Jason Ritter, West has a chance to win a district title and maybe make some noise in the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs.
This Whippet team has been in the making for three seasons with Cornell University bound Josh Warren and Penn Recruit Ryan Betley in the fold. West has a nice mixture of an inside and outside game.
Add in the frenetic play of senior forward Dom Guererra, the toughest player in the Ches-Mont League, and you see why most everyone is picking the Whippets to still be playing basketball in March.
For the first time, Ritter will test his crew in nonleague play with games against Academy Park and Chester. The Whippets already have the two wars with Coatesville.
The team is a fun one to watch and a lot of people have gravitated to the Whippets style of play. Maybe it is their style, maybe it is the underdog thing, with Coatesville being the Ches-Mont League pick almost every season. But whatever it is, West has the most student support in the league and their basketball games have become an event not to be missed at the school on Manor Avenue.
And truth be told, the Ches-Mont League is not one of the better leagues in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Winning the league may be the first goal for Ritter and his crew but they want more. After current West Chester University head coach Damien Blair left Downingtown West, the Whippet program took a step down.
After three years Ritter has people talking about Downingtown West basketball again. He has done that by working the youth programs and the ninth graders with many open gyms and a precise coaching style. He and his team know they are good and they hope for a very special season.
When the name on your jersey does not say Chester, Coatesville or Lower Merion, you do not have the luxury of reloading. The chances for a special season are not that plentiful and this 2015-16 season belongs to the Downingtown West Whippets.
We will see if they make it one truly to remember.

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