Coatesville rebounds to cruise past Downingtown East

CALN >> Some basketball teams let a tough setback linger, and it bleeds over into the next contest. But the Coatesville boys were determined to put aside last week’s heartbreaking loss in the Ches-Mont Championship Game, and the unfortunate victim was divisional foe Downingtown East.

The Red Raiders got off to a terrific start in each half and went on to cruise past the visiting Cougars, 63-44, in the second round of the District 1 6A Tournament on Tuesday. It was, by far, the most lopsided of three meetings between these two rivals. The first clash at East went to overtime.

“It feels good that we bounced back after that loss,” said super sophomore guard Jhamir Brickus. “We were focused in practice and we made our way back.

“I really wasn’t worried because we always bounce back.”

Fifth-seeded Coatesville (20-5 overall) advances to the quarterfinals on Friday for a road game at No. 4 Central Bucks West.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Red Raiders head coach Chuck Moore. “I think we will be ready.”

Downingtown East falls to 16-8, but the 12th-seeded Cougars’ season is still alive. They will host Central Bucks East on Saturday in a consolation matchup. A win there would lead to another game against the Bensalem–Downingtown West winner.

East got a couple key players back on Tuesday including Corey Hernandez (flu) and Tariq Kalim (back), but 6-foot-6 center Andrew King missed his second straight game with an ankle injury.

“We were limping a little bit,” said Cougars’ head coach John Goodman. “Against an elite offensive rebounding opponent like Coatesville, to not have our best rebounder kind of made it tough on us.”

A week earlier, Coatesville was thwarted in its quest to win three Ches-Mont titles in a row after dropping two-point decision to Bishop Shanahan in the title game. But the Raiders showed no ill effects, lead wire-to-wire and were never really threatened by East, who was coming off the first district victory in program history.

“I thought we had a great four days of preparation, and the model was team camaraderie,” Moore explained. “In that game against (Bishop) Shanahan we really didn’t show the kind of togetherness we’ve been preaching about all season.

“But our kids responded. That’s been the beauty of our team. We’ve learned so much from our losses this season. In the loss to Shanahan, we learned a lot about ourselves.”

Coatesville had scored seven points and forced six turnovers before East scoring its first point. And after one quarter, the turnover tally was up to eight and the Raiders were ahead by nine.

“I take responsibility for the slow start – for not having the guys ready to play,” Goodman said.

“Being down 12-3 and chasing Coatesville after one quarter is not really a position we need to be in.”

In quarter two, the Raiders went on a 12-0 run, but Cougars’ standout Malik Slay scored nine points in a row and East only trailed 28-17 at the half.

“That was a great way to start a game,” Moore said. “And if you look back on most of our games, we get off to a good start. At some point, however, we tend to let our foot off the gas, and that’s what happened in the 2nd quarter.”

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Tariq Kalim kept the Cougars within hailing distance, but Coatesville finished the third quarter on a 15-5 tear to increase the margin to 22.

“We just couldn’t stops, but credit goes to Coatesville,” Goodman said.

“We focused and regrouped at halftime and kind of owned that third quarter,” Moore added.

Brickus scored 10 of his team-high 15 in the second half, and he led the procession to the free throw line. The Raiders made more from the stripe (17) than East attempted (15).

“Jhamir can be a force without scoring, but I don’t like that,” Moore said. “I tell him that I want his faucet to always be running, and overflowing at any chance he gets. I guess I have to be mindful that he’s just a young kid, but he approaches the game in a different manor than he did as a sophomore.”

Tyrel Bladen scored seven of his nine points in the third quarter, while Dapree Bryant and Tione Holmes each chipped in eight points for Coatesville.

“We just kind of refocused on playing good defense in this one,” Brickus said.

Slay was terrific, pouring in a game-high 22 points, but none of his teammates managed more than a couple field goals.

“(Slay’s) been great against us,” Moore said. “He has the unique ability to handle the ball, get to the basket and shoot the ball. He’s a triple-threat.

“It’s unfortunate (Andrew) King didn’t play – you hate to see guys get injured – but it put more scoring pressure on Slay.”

The triumph also secured a berth into the PIAA Tournament for the Raiders, no matter what transpires the rest of the way in district action.

“We understood the importance of this win – now we play at least until March 10th, no matter what – and that’s always been one of our goals,” Moore said.

“They feed off your mistakes,” Goodman added. “Before this game, we played (Coatesville) eight quarters and an overtime quarter, and except for one bad one, we played them even. I was confident in our guys, no matter who was in there, but to give them life through our own mistakes, it’s tough to beat them that way.”


Coatesville 63, Downingtown East 44

DOWNINGTOWN EAST – Mujica 2 1-3 5; Hernandez 1 0-0 2; Slay 9 1-2 22; Stata 0 1-2 1; Umberger 1 1-2 3; Riley 0 2-2 2; Kalim 2 2-4 8. Totals 15 8-15 44.

COATESVILLE – Summers 1 0-2 4; Brickus 3 7-8 15; Bryant 3 1-4 8; Aa. Young 1 0-0 3; Av. Young 3 1-1 9; Holmes 3 2-2 8; Proctor 1 0-0 2; Smith 0 3-6 3; Crews 1 2-3 4. Totals21 17-23 63.

Downingtown East                        3 14 11 15 — 44

Coatesville                            12 16 22 13 — 63

Three-point goals: Slay 3, Kalim 2, Brickus 2, Aa. Young.


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