WESTTOWN >> The boys from West Chester Rustin have steamrolled through the Ches-Mont League’s American Division in this shortened season. And on Tuesday night, the Golden Knights moved within a few inches of the league title.
A well-rounded Rustin squad took care of Great Valley, 62-55, to go two games up in the loss column with two games left. The Golden Knights (8-0 league, 8-2 overall) put three players in double figures, led by 16 points each from Pete Reinheimer and Jacob Barksdale. Griffin Barrouk added 13 points for Rustin.
Reinheimer was very active on the defensive end for Rustin as the Golden Knights’ 3-2 and 2-2-1 zone defenses bothered the Patriots’ (4-2, 5-2) outside shooters. Great Valley shot just 21 for 58 from the field overall, and only seven for 25 in the first half.
“Going into the game the coaches told us to identify their shooters and get out and get a hand up,” Reinheimer said. “And that really worked for us in the first half, especially. We made some mistakes late in the game but we will get back to practice tomorrow and clean those things up. We had to hit free throws down the stretch and we did that, although I missed a couple, but we will work to get better in practice.”
With a 34-18 edge at halftime, the Golden Knights looked like they were going to coast to victory. But Great Valley, behind a 12-point third quarter from Bryce Broxton, closed the Golden Knights’ lead to just 47-36 after three quarters. The outside shots were suddenly falling for the Patriots as they shot a sizzling seven for 11 from the field in the third.
But, the Golden Knights opened things up again in the fourth quarter, as the Knights went down low to Barksdale for two straight baskets and after Barrouk scored in tight it was a 55-43 Rustin lead with 2:22 to play. Great Valley went cold from the field again in the fourth quarter as the Patriots could not get a big shot to fall when they needed it, missing four 3-point attempts in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter.
“Jacob Barksdale is one of those guys that is growing into his game,” said West Chester Rustin coach Keith Cochran. “I am waiting for him to realize he can be the big man on campus and throw in a 20-point, 20-rebound game.”
Great Valley would no go away easily, however. Will Fredrick, who led Great Valley with 16 points, hit a jumper and it was a 55-45 game with 1:49 to play in the fourth. The Rustin lead was trimmed to nine at 57-48 after Julian Steinbrenner drained a three from the top of the key. Three straight Rustin turnovers benefited the Patriots, who closed to 60-55, with 28 seconds left after a Quentin Wrabley basket.
But, Rustin finally figured out how to get the ball up the floor and Sam Sproul and Reinheimer hit big free throws to put the game out of reach.
“We are still growing as a team,” Cochran said. “And tonight, Pete Reinheimer showed he is a Knight. His energy is infectious and he was all over the floor tonight for us. We need to get back to work in practice tomorrow and get ready for a tough battle with Coatesville on Thursday. I thought our defense did a great job in the first half and then they made some adjustments in the second half, but we played their shooters very tough tonight.”
West Chester Rustin 62, Great Valley 55
GREAT VALLEY (55): Broxton 5 0-0 12, Steinbrenner 4 3-3 14, Fredrick 6 2-3 16, McKay 1 0-0 2, Junior 1 0-0 2, Dimedio 0 1-2 1, Wrabley 4 0-0 8. Totals 21 6-8 55.
WC RUSTIN (62): Barrouk 5 2-3 13, Barksdale 7 2-4 16, Miller 1 0-0 3, Shivers 0 0-0 0, Reinheimer 4 8-11 16, Freney 1 1-2 4, Chobani 1 0-0 2, Sproul 2 4-6 8. totals 21 17-26 62.
Great Valley 8 10 18 19 – 55
WC Rustin 13 21 13 15 – 62
3-point goals: Barrouk, Miller, Freney, Broxton 2, Steinbrenner 3, Fredrick 2.