Girls’ basketball: Coatesville overcomes big early deficit to win district opener

Caln – Playing its PIAA District One Class 6A opener in front of a home crowd Saturday afternoon, Coatesville was missing shots and committing turnovers early, and was trailing Unionville 28-10 a few minutes before halftime.

“I think we took [the game] for granted a little bit, then we were rushing shots early,” said Coatesville senior forward Brianna White. “We needed to push ourselves.”

The Red Raiders regrouped, put together a 10-0 run to close the half, tied Unionville late in the third quarter and eked out a 59-56 win.

With the victory, 14th seeded Coatesville (19-6) advances to play No. 3 seed Plymouth-Whitemarsh in the second round of Districts Wednesday at 7 p.m.

To view a photo gallery from this game click here

Midway through the second quarter Saturday, Coatesville knew it had a fight on its hands with 19th-seeded Unionville (13-10) just to make it to the second round of the District One tournament.

White, who finished the game with 12 points and seven rebounds, said, “At halftime, Coach [Tem Mack] said, ‘This is about survival.’ And we went out and really boxed out and got rebounds in the second half. When the [final] buzzer sounded, it was such a great feeling, to come back from such a [big] deficit and know we have another game to play.”

Coatesville senior guard Dee Dee Irwin, who scored 12 points, said, “In the first half, we played [Unionville’s] game, in the second half we played our game. When the game was over, I was thankful that we survived….we survived.”

Unionville got off to a 17-3 lead midway through the second quarter, capitalizing on numerous early Coatesville missed shots and turnovers. Most of the Indians’ early offense was provided by senior Maddie Shanahan, junior Grace Schrof and sophomore Sam Ciccarelli, who were penetrating inside to score.

With Coatesville trailing 17-3 and 4:35 to play in the second quarter, Mack called time out.

“I told our players to calm down,” said Mack. “Tournament play is different than the regular season, and in the second half our defense picked up, as well as our rebounding. At the beginning of the game, Unionville kept getting putbacks.”

Trailing 28-10, Coatesville began to score underneath, and when freshman Amaya Douglas hit a three-point field goal from the top of the key just before the halftime buzzer, the Red Raiders had cut the Indians’ lead  to 28-20.

Douglas, who scored 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds, said, “At halftime, Coach [Mack] said, ‘We have to get our heads in the game.’ We didn’t have our heads in the game [early] and at halftime we told each other, ‘This can’t be our last game.'”

Unionville came out after halftime and added to its lead, getting baskets from Schrof (who finished with a game-high 18 points) and junior Sarah Covert to go ahead 32-20.

Coatesville then gradually chipped away at the Indians’ lead, getting scores from six different players (Irwin, White, Douglas, Siani Brown, Zhariah Torres, Shyne Boggs) during a 17-5 run to tie the score at 37-37 with 2:08 to play in the third quarter, at which point Unionville called a time out.

The Indians penetrated inside but missed underneath, then Torres came back with a trey at the top of the key to give Coatesville its first lead of the day, 40-37.

“Torres really stepped to the plate today with that big three, and with [forcing] turnovers,” said Irwin. “In the second half, we knew we had to show our true colors, we knew we had to fight. We had a number of different players step up for us today. Amaya had some big rebounds [in the second half].”

Unionville head coach Fred Ellzy said, “We’ve focused on defense all year, and our plan was to stop Irwin, and we stuck to our game plan early, but then some of the other players for Coatesville stepped up. My hat’s off to Coatesville – they continued to fight when most teams would have thrown in the towel.”

The fourth quarter was a seesaw affair, and when Schrof hit a three point field goal from the right corner with 1:33 left, it tied the score at 54-54. Unionville senior Sophia Detweiler (who finished with 10 points, including 6-for-7 from the free throw line) hit a free throw with 42 seconds left that gave the Indians a 55-54 lead. It was Unionville’s last lead of the game.

Seven seconds later, Irwin drove inside then fed White underneath for a score, and following a travelling violation by Unionville, Brown was fouled and made a free throw to make it 57-55 with 31 seconds left.

After Ciccarelli converted a free throw to make it 57-56, Douglas (who was 6-for-8 from the charity stripe) went 2-for-2 from the free throw line to give the hosts a 59-56 lead with 20 seconds left.

The game ended with Irwin recovering a loose ball. Both Irwin and Boggs finished the game with three steals.

Ellzy, who used to coach Coatesville several years ago, said, “I’m very proud of the effort of our team. No one else expected us to be in this game – except our team.”

Coatesville 59, Unionville 56
Unionville: Shanahan 6 0-0 14, Cresta 0 0-2 0, Covert 2 0-0 4, Detweiler 2 6-7 10, Schrof 7 3-3 18, Ciccarelli 3 4-8 10. Totals 20 13-20 56.
Coatesville: White 6 0-1 12, Brown 1 4-6 6, Douglas 5 6-8 17, Irwin 3 4-8 12, Boggs 2 1-2 5, Torres 1 2-2 5, Stanton 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 17-27 59.
Unionville 9 19 13 15 – 56
Coatesville 3 17 23 16 – 59
3-point goals: UN – Shanahan 2, Schrof; CO – Irwin 2, Torres, Douglas.


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