Clutch Coatesville drills FTs down stretch to top Henderson, clinch title

WEST CHESTER >> It’s been a few years since the Coatesville High School girls basketball team had a chance to call itself the Ches-Mont League National Division champion. And for a long stretch Tuesday, it looked like that honor may elude the Red Raiders again.

However, Coatesville made 10 free throws in the fourth quarter and received a huge three-pointer from Shayne Boggs, off the bench, to pull out a thrilling 42-38 victory over West Chester Henderson at a raucous Reichert Gymnasium to clinch the crown with a 10-2 mark.


“It feels really good,” said guard Dee Dee Irwin. “We haven’t done this in a while. I’m very pleased with my team. We all played really well.”

The Warriors dropped to 8-3 in the division with one game to go. They can still book a place in Saturday’s Ches-Mont Final Four with a victory over Avon Grove on Thursday, and a Downingtown East win over Bishop Shanahan.

Coatesville is in the Final Four — to be played Saturday at Downingtown West — where it will face the loser of Thursday’s Oxford-West Chester Rustin game.

Coatesville entered the fourth quarter trailing, 29-25. Two free throws from Siani Brown and one from Sarah Huston cut the lead to 29-28 with 7:09 left. Twenty seconds later, Boggs’ three gave them a 31-29 lead with 6:47 left.

“She’s a sophomore and she’s one of the kids who has patience that when she gets on the court, she can do what we need her to do,” said Coatesville coach Tem Mack on Boggs.

The Red Raiders took the lead for good minutes later when two free throws from Amaya Douglas made the score 36-34 with 3:24 left. Henderson made just one field goal in the final five-plus minutes, and trailed 40-38 after Viki Kneis hit from in close with 60 seconds to play.

Following a missed front end of a one-and-one by Irwin, Henderson failed to convert on two chances from in close. The Warriors had one more chance, but Maddie DePrisco missed a jumper and Irwin made one of two from the line to seal the win and the title.

“Put it like this, I was hoping that we can make them,” Mack said when asked if he was confident they will make their free throws. “They’re high school kids, so you’ll never know. We’ve been through tight games and I think the season helped us get to this point that I knew that eventually, we’ll be okay.”

“We definitely win our games off the free-throw line,” added Irwin. “And our layups.”

Henderson had numerous opportunities from close to the basket that wouldn’t fall, frustrating their coach.

“That’s been our Achillies heel all year,” said Henderson coach Greta Neff. “So, if we make a couple of those baskets, it’s a way different ballgame. I give all the credit in the world to Coatesville. They made nothing easy. They played hard. They earned it tonight.”

While both teams got off to sluggish beginnings, the Warriors closed the final four minutes on a 5-0 run to take an 8-3 lead after one quarter.

They stretched out to a 15-5 advantage midway through the second, before Coatesville got a foothold into the game.

First, Irwin made a three, then baskets from Jordyn Worthington, Irwin and Huston capped the 9-0 spurt and closed the gap to 15-14. Henderson would eventuaslly go into the locker room with a slim 17-16 advantage.

Irwin scored seven of her game-high 17 points in the second quarter to help bring Coatesville back.

Henderson started the second half on a run themselves, outscoring Coatesville, 8-3, en route to holding a 29-25 lead after three. Bertrando led the way with 11 points. Grace Ferguson had seven points and four blocks and abby Shea added six points.

“They’re a heck of a team,” said Mack. We knew they were going to have their runs and we will have ours. We just felt that we would come out on top.

Coatesville now can relax on Thursday as they find out its opponent for Saturday. They will face the Oxford-West Chester Rustin loser.

“We’re going to check some game out a little bit and game plan,” said Irwin.

Coatesville 42, West Chester Henderson 38
Coatesville: Brown 0 2-2 2; Douglas 0 3-4 3; White 3 4-5 10; Irwin 5 3-7 17; Huston 1 3-6 3; Boggs 1 0-0 3; Stanton 0 0-0 0; Worthington 1 0-2 2. Totals: 11 15-26 42.
W.C. Henderson: DePrisco 0 0-0 0; Kneis 2 1-2 5; Cullinan 1 0-0 3; Bertrando 4 2-4 11; Shea 1 4-5 6; Torrance 1 0-0 3; Thompson 1 0-0 3; Ferguson 2 3-6 7. Totals: 9 9-15 38
Coatesville    3    14    8    17 – 42
W.C. Henderson    8    8    13    9 – 38
3-point goals: Irwin 2, Boggs, Bertrando, Torrance, Thompson.

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