UWCHLAN >> There is no bigger stage, at least in the regular season, than the crosstown rivalry between Downingtown East and Downingtown West.
Tuesday night at Bob Boyer Gymnasium, senior Andrew King brought his talents to the big stage.
All King did was score a game-high 30 points and grab 11 boards, all while drawing the assignment of guarding the Whippets’ best player in Will Howard. Throw in a devastating 17-0 run by the Cougars to start the second quarter and it all added up to a thrilling 60-55 win for the Cougars in a Ches-Mont League National Division clash.
“The run was great but Andrew gave us our energy,” Downingtown East coach John Goodman said. “In these rivalry games you worry about having too much energy on offense and guys throwing it through the backboard. But to have Andrew score 30 points, play great defense against Will Howard and just be there when we needed it was really something special to see.”
The Cougars (3-2 Ches-Mont National, 7-6 overall) led 19-16 after one quarter, thanks to 14 points from King in the opening frame, including going three-for-three from 3-point land. But the Whippets (3-3, 5-7) went ice cold in the second quarter.
Downingtown West missed its first 13 shots of the quarter from the field and finished the second period shooting just two-for-16 and trailing at halftime, 36-22. Downingtown West did not score a point for the first 5:12 of the second quarter.
One oddity for Downingtown East was that King and Jayden Rowe were the only two Cougars to score points in the first half, with the pair combining for all 36 East points, along with eight 3-pointers in the first half.
Rowe finished the game with 15 points and Rowe and King were unstoppable in the first half. King talked about coming out so hot to start the game.
“It was a little bit of both it being a rivalry game and we are starting to make our playoff push,” King said. “The energy was way up from the beginning the game and it was great to get out to such a fast start.”
After the Cougars outscored the Whippets, 17-6, in the second quarter to take the 14-point halftime lead, the Whippets had their work cut out for themselves. But, the Whippets did not roll over, thanks to 19 points from Howard and 12 from freshman Dylan Blair, crawling within nine points at 46-37 after three quarters.
“We told the kids at halftime that Downingtown West was a prideful program and that they would make a run at us,” Goodman said. “And we have had trouble closing out games this year and tonight we got a little lucky to still be up by nine after the three quarters. We made some bad decisions with the basketball but we came together in the fourth to hang on for the win.”
When Howard made a turnaround jumper to make it a 52-42 game with 3:52 to play, it still looked like the Cougars were home free. But, five fourth-quarter turnovers hurt the Cougars, and after another Howard bucket in the low post, it was a 53-46 East lead with 2:11 to play.
But, the night belonged to the Cougars as Dave Owsik drained four of five free throws in the final two minutes, with King adding another two from the charity stripe.
Downingtown west was done in by a 17 for 53 shooting night from the field.
“I know we have had trouble closing out game this year,” King said. “But, we have been practicing hard at it and tonight we played just like we practiced and we held on and came away wit the win. Great feeling right now.”
NOTE >> This was the last high school game for Downingtown west senior Will Howard as the senior is headed to Kansas State University this week.
Downingtown East 60, Downingtown West 55
DOWNINGTOWN WEST (55): D.Blair 3 4-6 12, H.Blair 2 0-0 5, Dever 4 4-4 15, Howard 7 4-5 19, Shelton 1 0-0 2, Miree 0 1-2 1, Walter 0 0-0 0, Primanti 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 14-18 55.
DOWNINGTOWN EAST (60): King 11 4-7 30, Rowe 5 1-4 15, Basilii 1 0-0 2, Owsik 1 6-8 9, Umberger 1 2-2 4, Jacobson 0 0-0 0, Bousum 0 0-0 0, Belgian 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 13-21 60.
Downingtown West 16 6 15 18 – 55
Downingtown East 19 17 10 14 – 60
3-point goals: D.Blair 2, H. Blair, Dever 3, Howard, Rowe 4, Owsik, King 4.
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