West Goshen >> When Coatesville took the court against West Chester Rustin Monday evening in the Ches-Mont tournament semifinal, the National Division regular season champions had not played for six days.
But the Red Raiders showed no rust against Rustin – instead, fast-paced Coatesville raced to a 26-2 lead, held a 48-22 halftime advantage, and rolled to an 85-41 win at West Chester East High School.
Coatesville advances to the Ches-Mont championship final Wednesday, and will face Bishop Shanahan. The Eagles, second-place finishers in the National Division, defeated American Division champ Oxford, 47-29, in the earlier semifinal Monday.
“After not playing for six days, we were all just anxious to get out there,” said Coatesville sophomore guard Sarah Huston, who scored 19 points, dished out seven assists and made seven steals. “Our plan was to keep pushing, keep moving the ball, to not let up. We wanted to leave it all out on the court.”
Coatesville senior guard Dee Dee Irwin, who scored a career-high 30 points, said, “Six days is a long time not to be playing, it’s something we’re not used to, and we wanted to get out there tonight and play as hard as we could.”
In the first five minutes of play, Coatesville raced to a 17-0 lead. Almost immediately, Irwin broke the ice with a three-point field goal from the left side (she finished with six treys). Huston made a couple of nice passes underneath that led to Coatesville baskets, then the Coatesville sophomore guard intercepted a Rustin pass and fed Irwin, who scored on a layup to make it 9-0.
Huston fed freshman Amaya Douglas underneath for a basket, then following a Rustin turnover Huston drove inside for a layup to make it 15-0, and when Coatesville senior forward Brianna White came up with a loose ball underneath and scored, the Red Raiders had a 17-0 lead.
Irwin, whose three-point field goal began the Red Raiders’ opening 26-2 run, finished it with a trey from the right side late in the first quarter.
“Since our girls’ last game was Tuesday, our coaching staff tried different things for our players to keep their focus,” said Coatesville head coach Tem Mack. “But until they came out the way they did in the first quarter tonight, I didn’t realize just how badly they wanted to get out there and play.”
During the opening 26-2 run, Coatesville often was limiting Rustin to one shot and grabbing the defensive rebound each time the ball bounced off the rim. Red Raider freshman Amaya Douglas finished the game with eight rebounds, and Irwin snared six boards.
“Defensively, whatever set we ran tonight, we were going to be aggressive and protect the paint,” said Mack.
Huston said, “We wanted to close out on their shooters, only let them get one shot, and box out.”
In the second quarter, Rustin began to find its touch, as junior forward Maggie O’Hare hit a trio of treys (she finished with 11 points) and junior forward Erin Gallagher began to hit from mid-range. Gallagher penetrated inside for eight points in the third quarter, finishing with 18 points.
In the meantime, Coatesville’s Irwin and Huston kept up their scoring pace, with help from Douglas (15 points) and seniors Megan Stanton and Brianna White, who combined for 17 points. White also had four steals.
Despite its aggressive mind-set, Coatesville stayed clear of foul trouble, as Rustin only had six free throws for the game (the Red Raiders had 29).
Rustin head coach Jim Powers said, “We didn’t get off to a good start, I don’t know if it was nerves, but we made some bad decisions with the basketball that gave [Coatesville] momentum. We weren’t fundamentally sound with the basketball, and we fell back into some [early-season] bad habits that we had cleaned up later in the season. This is a difficult time of year to be doing that.”
Coatesville 85, West Chester Rustin 41
WEST CHESTER RUSTIN – Gallagher 9 0-0 18, Daniels 0 0-2 0, O’Hare 4 0-0 11, Kelleghan 1 1-1 3, Zavitsky 3 1-2 9, Polidore 0 0-1 0. Totals 17 2-6 41.
COATESVILLE – Huston 5 8-10 19, Douglas 3 9-16 15, White 4 0-1 8, Torres 2 0-0 4, Stanton 4 0-0 9, Irwin 11 2-2 30. Totals 29 19-29 85.
West Chester Rustin 7 15 16 3 – 41
Coatesville 28 20 18 19 – 85
Three-pointers: WCR – O’Hare 3, Zavitsky 2; CO – Irwin 6, Stanton, Huston.