Veteran West Chester East cruises past young Bishop Shanahan

WEST GOSHEN >> With three losses, West Chester East may already be out of the chase for the girls Ches-Mont National basketball title. But the veteran Vikings will almost certainly have a hand in determining who wins it.

A case in point came on Tuesday as East trounced Bishop Shanahan 49-33 to hand the visiting Eagles their third division setback, likely knocking them from the race. Downingtown East and Downingtown West each have a single loss.

“I have respect for our league and our division especially,” said East head coach Erin Listriani. “We know it is going to be a battle every night.”

The Vikings improve to 4-3 (5-4 overall), but may be in better position in the standings than Shanahan (6-3, 7-4) because they’ve played two fewer games and will have two more chances to move up.

“We are not out of it at all,” insisted East star Lauren Klieber. “We think we are still in it and we are going to play every game that way.

“This was a message for the rest of the league: we are coming out ready to play and they better be ready for us.”

A senior swing player, Klieber was a dominant force, pouring in a game-high 22 points, which was 14 points more than any other player in the contest. She also added six rebounds and three steals.

“Lauren is special,” Listriani said. “The points are one thing but she really fills up the stat sheet.

“She made it look easy tonight, but credit to her teammates because they put her in good situations.”

Prior to tipoff Klieber was honored for becoming the sixth West Chester East girl to surpass 1,000 career points earlier this month. And then she went out and scored nine first quarter points as the Vikings raced to an early double-digit lead.

“We had a fantastic start,” Listriani said. “I told the kids after the game that they didn’t really need me here tonight because of our senior leadership. They are hungry and they are focused.”

With four senior starters, East has loads of experience. The Eagles once again went with a starting unit of all underclass players for the second consecutive outing, and the discrepancy showed in the early going. Shanahan topped the Vikings 49-41 back on Jan. 30th.

“(East) is a veteran team and they’ve been through it. And we are still trying to figure things out,” said Eagles’ head coach Jim Powers.

“We went to our veteran players down 10-4 in the first quarter, so that was plenty of time to recover. We just couldn’t put the ball in the basket.”

By halftime, Shanahan had the same number of points as turnovers and had already fallen behind 26-9.

“We just wanted to come out fast and it all started on the defensive end,” Klieber said.

“I thought this was one of our better games. The last time we played (Shanahan) it wasn’t really us.”

The young Eagles regrouped offensively and played better the rest of the way. But Shanahan never did find a way to contain Klieber, who scored nine more points in the third quarter as East opened a 46-21 advantage.

“We scored some buckets but when you are down that much you can’t exchange points,” Powers said.

“Last time we played (West Chester East) we were lucky enough to hold (Klieber) to 10 points, but tonight she got us.”

Senior point guard Mary Grace Kerns was aggressive, got to the foul line and finished with eight points, and teammate Olivia McDonald chipped in seven for the Vikings.

“That’s (Kern’s) role,” Listriani said. “She is a three-year starter and she is our engine.”

Senior forward Shannon Donahue came off the bench to lead the Eagles with six points.

“We couldn’t score, and really didn’t play great defense either. We let a lot of easy stuff go,” Powers said.

“We just seemed to be a step behind. We tried a bunch of different things and our kids had some looks.”

West Chester East 49, Bishop Shanahan 33

BISHOP SHANAHAN – Ambrose 2 0-0 4; Petruno 1 3-4 5; Wankmiller 1 0-2 3; Oswald 1 0-1 2; Brown 2 0-0 4; Sendi 1 0-0 3; Rudolph 0 1-2 1; Donahue 2 2-2 6; S, Blumenthal 2 1-1 5. Totals 12 7-12 33.

WEST CHESTER EAST — K. Douglass 1 2-2 4; Kerns 2 4-6 8; Kushner 1 2-4 4; Klieber 8 4-4 22; McDonald 2 2-4 7; Merten 2 0-0 4. Totals 16 14-20 49.

Bishop Shanahan                                        6 3 12 12 – 33

West Chester East                                      14 12 20 3 – 49

3-pointers: Wankmiller, Sendi, Klieber 3, McDonald.

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