Brickus goes to his left as Coatesville beat Rustin in dramatic semifinal win

DOWNINGTOWN >> The special players, the truly special ones who just seem to seize the moment and embrace the pressure, are very rare indeed. Tuesday night at Downingtown West High School, a pair of Coatesville freshmen came of age as two of the special ones.

With just one minute to play in the Ches-Mont League semifinal, Coatesville coach Chuck Moore called a timeout and instructed the Red Raiders to hold for the last shot in a tie game with West Chester Rustin at a frenzied Wagner Gymansium.

Coatesville did just that, whittling down the time to a precious few seconds before Red Raider freshman Jhamir Brickus took control. Brickus drove the lane and went between two defenders for a game-winning left-handed layup with just 2.4 seconds to play, clinching a thrilling 51-49 win.

The victory puts the defending league champions into Thursday night’s final against Bishop Shanahan, a team the Red Raiders split with this season at 1-1.

“Coach Moore told us to hold the ball to about 12 seconds and then go,” Brickus said. “And with about 12 seconds we started to move and the play was for me to go to the basket and the ball went in. Going left handed did not bother me because I can go both ways with the ball.”

Coatesville (19-4) would have been in position to win at the end if not for the sparkling fourth period from fellow freshman Dapree Bryant. Bryant scored six of his eight points in the final frame, and his energy seems to rub off on his Red Raider teammates.

“You always want the ball in the hands of your best playmaker in that situation,” Moore said. “And Jhamir solidified his spot as the most valuable player in our league. He is just special, special, special and he did it with his off hand. And Dapree had a great game for us also. His energy and the free throws and his two fourth period baskets were huge for us. We would not have been in that spot if not for him. He gives us so much energy.”

Coatesville opened the the game looking like it was going to run away from the Golden Knights (15-8), taking a 10-1 lead and leading 17-7 after one quarter. The Red Raiders shot 7 for 11 in the opening frame, big man Tyrel Bladen was dominant in the paint and they looked two steps faster then the Knights. But Rustin went on a 13-0 run in the second period behind the scoring of Jake Nelson, who led Rustin with 18 points to go along with his eight rebounds. At the half, it was just a two-point lead for the Red Raiders and the game was on.

The teams banged and battled throughout the third quarter and Coatesville had a slim 40-35 lead after three.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game with Rustin,” Moore said. “Keith Cochran does an excellent job with those guys and boy oh boy did they fight us tonight.”

Things got even crazier as the crowd erupted after Tim Durant buried two 3-pointers at the beginning of the fourth quarter to give Rustin its first lead of the game at 41-40. From that point on it was like hand-to-hand combat under the glass as the teams fought for every rebound and every loose ball.

Tajir Asparagus went down the lane for a basket and it was 47-44 Rustin with 2:37 to play in the fourth period. But, Jhamir Brickus sank one of two free throws after being fouled in tight and it was a 47-45 Rustin lead. Brickus led all scorers with 20 points on the night. Coatesville shot a hot 20 for 39 from the field for the game.

Rustin then turned the ball over at a bad time, one of 14 turnovers on the night for Rustin. Coatesville came down the floor and Bryant was fouled by Nelson. Bryant hit both freebies and it was a 47-47 game with 1:53 to play.

Coatesville turned up the pressure and Asparagus lost the ball to Bryant in the front court. Jhamir Brickus came down the lane and scored just over Nelson’s hand to give Coatesville a 49-47 lead. Nelson got the ball inside after a Durant pass, scored, got fouled and went to the line with the score 49-49 with 1:07 to play. Nelson missed the free throw, setting up the Coatesville timeout and Brickus’ heroics.

“We cleared the way for Jhamir at the end and he did the job,” Bladen said. “We want to win another title and Shanahan beat us this year in a big upset and we want to pay them back.”

The bitter loss left the Rustin players and coaches stunned.

“The loss is very tough but it came down to a couple of possessions and give Coatesville credit,” Cochran said. “They deserved to win the game.”

Coatesville 51, W.C. Rustin 49
W.C. Rustin: McMahon 3 0-1 7, Asaparagus 4 2-5 10, Nelson 6 6-8 18, Frazier 0 4-5 4, Durant 4 0-0 10, Russell 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Decoursey 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 12-19 49.
Coatesville: Bladen 4 1-3 9, Boulware 2 0-0 4, K.Brickus 1 0-0 2, J.Brickus 7 4-6 20, Bryant 2 4-5 8, Av. Young 3 0-0 6, H.Young 1 0-0 2, Scott 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 9-14 51.
W.C. Rustin    7    17    11    14 – 49
Coatesville    17    9    14    11 – 51
3-point goals: McMahon, Durant 2, Nelson, J. Brickus.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply