Coatesville hands Downingtown East its first loss of season

UWCHLAN >> Down by one with the ball in their hands and 1:59 on the clock Tuesday night, the Downingtown East Cougars seemed ready to finally scale the mountain that is Coatesville — and keep their perfect record untarnished.


Four turnovers and seven Red Raider points later, Coatesville maintained its stranglehold on the Ches-Mont League landscape — at least until the teams meet again Feb. 2.

The defending Ches-Mont League champs held off a stiff Cougar challenge Tuesday night at Bob Boyer Gymnasium, finishing with a 45-36 win that was much closer than that final score indicates.

Coatesville (5-0 Ches-Mont National, 9-3 overall) takes over first place in the National, with the Cougars (3-1, 10-1) dropping to in second.

“Those last two minutes we played Coatesville basketball,” said Red Raiders head coach Chuck Moore. “We take a lot of pride in making teams play ugly basketball and make them very uncomfortable on offense. and tonight we did just that. I thought we had chances during the game to separate ourselves but we missed a layup and turned the ball over. But, those last two minutes was definitely Coatesville basketball and we got the win.”

The two teams fought tooth and nail for 32 minutes, with Coatesville taking a slim 19-16 halftime advantage after outscoring East 12-5 in the second quarter. Coatesville ended the half on an 8-0 run with baskets by Dapree Bryant, Jhamir Brickus, Kamau Brickus and two free throws by Bryant.

But, the Cougars came alive in the third period with point guard Malik Slay dishing out four assists. When Andrew King buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer, it was Downingtown East that took a 29-28 lead into the fourth quarter.

King had nine points on the night to go along with six rebounds, while the Cougars were led by Ryan Cahill’s 12-point effort. Cahill more than held his own with Coatesville’s big men Tyrel Bladen and Joe Boulware.

“We always stress defense,” Bryant said. “Coach always talks about our defense and we came out with a lot of energy after the timeout with two minutes to play. I just come off the bench and play as hard as I can.”

Coatesville outscored Downingtown East 17-7 in the final period, but the final score is deceiving, as the teams battled through a close game until the Cougars got turnover-happy. On the night, East turned the ball over 15 times, with four of those coming in the last two minutes.

With East holding a 34-32 lead, Jhamir Brickus drove the baseline for a layup to tie the game at 34.

Cahill then took a beautiful feed from Slay to score inside and put East up, 36-34. A Boulware jumper evened things up with 2:11 to play in the fourth, and Bryant sank one free throw after being fouled in the lane to give Coatesville the one-point lead.

That’s when the Cougars came undone.

Steals by Bryant, Avery Young and Jhamir Brickus led to eight straight Coatesville points, with Bryant and Jhamir Brickus, who led Coatesville with 13 points, scoring baskets and the Red Raiders sinking their three free throws.

“We really played Coatesville basketball the last two minutes,” Jhamir Brickus said. “I was somewhat surprised they hung with us so long because we have a lot of talent on this team and we have a deep bench.”

While disappointed in the outcome, Downingtown East coach John Goodman took the blame for the loss.

“I will take the blame for the turnovers,” Goodman said. “That is why we have won 10 games in a row. because we have been taking care of the basketball. Tonight, we did not do that in the last two minutes and I should have called a timeout. I wanted to get the ball into the front court but we never made it. It was my fault.”

Coatesville 45, Downingtown East 36
COATESVILLE: K.Brickus 4 3-5 11, J.Brickus 4 5-5 13, Holmes 2 0-0 4, Bladen 1 0-0 2, Boulware 2 0-0 4, Bryant 2 1-4 5, A.Young 1 0-0 2, H.Young 2 0-0 4.
DOWNINGTOWN EAST: Slay  3 2-2 9, King 4 0-0 9, Cahill 5 2-2 12, Desrocher 2 1-2 6, Mujica 0 0-0 0, Hernandez 0 0-0 0, Montgomery 0 0-0 0.
Coatesville    7    1    2    11    17 – 45
Downingtown East    11    5    13    7 – 36
3-point goals: Slay, King, Desrocher.

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