DOWNINGTOWN >> Not often does something that happened 366 days ago have such an impact on current events. But from the moment Coatesville let last year’s Ches-Mont League championship slip away against Bishop Shanahan in a one-point win, the Red Raiders wanted the title back where they feel it rightly belongs.
And after fighting off a valiant effort from a Unionville team seeking its first Ches-Mont title Wednesday night, that banner is back in Coatesville.
The Red Raiders used a game-breaking third quarter, and then held off a furious Unionville rush, to claim the Ches-Mont League title, 68-64, at a packed Downingtown West High School.
Dapree Bryant, who led all scorers with 22 points and was instrumental in Coatesville’s 12-0 run to start the second half, bedeviled the Indians (17-7) all night.
Bryant talked about last year’s heartbreaking loss and how it fueled this years charge by the Red Raiders (23-1).
“It really hurt watching them storm the court after they beat us,” said Bryant of the loss to Shanahan last February. “We used that as motivation to get the championship back. We used the Ches-Mont as our first goal and then it is on to the districts and our goal is to win a championship there. We have the team to make a run this season. This is a great feeling to get the trophy back where it belongs.”
Coatesville opened up a 23-21 lead at intermission, and kicked off a hot third quarter as Jhamir Brickus got into the lane to convert a floater to make it a 25-21 game. After an Unionville turnover, one of 16 on the night for the Indians, Brickus scored in tight for a 27-21 lead. Brickus dropped 21 points for the game and seemingly could get to the basket anytime he wanted.
The crowd was roaring at this point, and Unionville came unglued for a brief two-minute stretch. But against Coatesville, that is all it takes.
Another errant shot resulted in Bryant scoring on the fast break and it was a 29-21 game. Unionville came up the floor and committed an offensive foul and Brickus drained a three, one of Coatesville’s seven 3-pointers on the night, to make it a 32-21 game. Brickus finished off the run with another floater and it was 34-21, as the 11-0 run put the Indians back on their heels.
“The kids do what they have to do and they are very smart basketball players,” Coatesville coach Fred Thompson said. “Jhamir is very smart. He sees the whole court. To win the Ches-Mont League title was our first stated goal. We have other goals we can shoot for now and hopefully we can attain them. But this is a very good start.”
Coatesville outscored the Indians, 21-7, in the decisive third quarter and the Indians shot just two for seven from the field in the third, and Coatesville owned a 44-28 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Red Raiders shot nine for 15 in the third.
Coatesville did not take its foot off the gas and with a little over three minutes left, the Red Raiders had built an 18-point lead and Thompson cleared his bench.
But instead of folding, Unionville got hot, with Wyatt Hockenberry draining two of his four threes in the quarter, and Shawn Rafferty also hit two threes. When Pete Kucharzuk hit a long three from the left side, it was a 66-62 game, and Thompson called timeout and put his starters back in.
The first team allowed Coatesville to restore order for the final 53 seconds, and add another title to the Red Raiders’ vast trophy case.
“Last year I did not play much, but I did not like watching Shanahan run on the court,” Coatesville guard John Proctor said. “And tonight, we broke the game open and got the championship back to the city and that was one of our goals since the Shanahan game last season.”
Coatesville 68, Unionville 64
UNIONVILLE (64): Furey-Bastian 3 2-2 11, Shanahan 3 3-4 12, Hockenberry 5 0-0 14, Kucharzuk 2 0-0 5, Ash 1 0-0 2, Lenkitis 4 3-4 11, Pasarello 1 0-0 2, Rafferty 2 0-0 6. Totals 20 8-10 64.
COATESVILLE (68): D.Brickus 2 0-0 6, J.Brickus 0 1-4 1, Jh. Brickus 6 7-8 21, Bryant 8 5-5 22, Proctor 2 1-2 5, Holmes 0 3-6 3, Aziz-Stewart 0 2-2 2., Young 3 0-0 8. Totals 20 19-23 68.
Unionville 9 12 7 36 – 64
Coatesville 16 7 21 24 – 68
3-point goals: Hockenberry 4, Furey-Bastian 3, Shanahan 3, Rafferty 2, Kucarzuk, Jh.Brickus 2, Bryant, Young 2, D.Brickus 2.
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