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West Chester Henderson gets big win over Coatesville

WEST CHESTER >> The West Chester Henderson boys basketball team needed a win over Coatesville in the worst way Tuesday night at Richert Gymnasium to keep pace in the District 1 6A playoff race.
Mission accomplished.
The host Warriors jumped out to a big first period lead, then withstood a strong fourth period from Coatesville to knock off the Red Raiders, 69-61, in a key Ches-Mont National Division game.
Connor Fleet led the Warriors with a game high 33 points — 15 of them in the first period. Kyle Ralph-Beyer added 19 points and Kmari Smith 11 for the victors. Evan McFadden, the Warriors big man, had a big game, blocking five Red Raiders shots and grabbing six rebounds.
“I told the kids coming into tonight that Coatesville was coming in here to bury us,” West Chester Henderson coach Jason Ritter said.
“We needed this win badly and it was a gut check game for us and the kids responded. We got out to that lead in the first period, which we have done a lot this year.
“Then, for one reason or another, the shots stop falling and we start to turn the ball over. But credit John (Coatesville coach John Allen). His kids are tough and they play hard and they made a run at us, but our kids held things together enough to get out of here with a win.”
The Warriors (6-4 Ches-Mont, 11-9 overall) jumped out to a 19-4 lead after one period. Fleet was superb in the first period. The Red Raiders (7-4, 12-8) defense was not sharp early on and they shot just 1-for-14 from the field in the opening period.
But Coatesville got a big lift from Marquis Peoples, who poured in a team high 22 points, including five three-balls. Peoples three point play at the end of the third period got Coatesville to within 55-46 at the end of three periods, the closest the Red Raiders had been since the first period.
The Coatesville defense started to turn up the pressure on the Warriors in the fourth period. The Red Raiders forced seven fourth period turnovers from the Warriors, who committed 17 turnovers for the game.
The Warriors came down three straight times in the fourth period without getting a shot off and when Peoples drained a corner three-ball it was a 61-57 Warriors lead with just 1:10 to play in the fourth period.
“It was important for us to jump out to an early lead on them tonight,” Ralph-Bayer said. “And then we started to make some mistakes with the ball in the fourth period when they made their run, but we got our composure back and held things together enough to get the win. We dug down late in the fourth period and got things right.”
With the Red Raiders down four points and a little over a minute left in the fourth period, it was Henderson who forced a key turnover that resulted in a Fleet basket with 24 seconds left to make it a 63-57 Warriors lead.
Coatesville came down the floor and got the ball in the lane and Jeremiah Marshall got fouled. Marshall hit both free throws and it was a 63-59 game with 22.2 seconds to play.
The Warriors inbounded the ball to Ralph-Beyer after the made free throws and the Red Raiders fouled him immediately. The Warriors junior calmly hit both free throws for a 65-59 lead with 19.4 seconds to play.
Peoples again tried to save the Red Raiders as he scored in the lane and got fouled. Peoples missed the free throw and the Warriors had a 65-61 lead with 15 seconds to play.
But the Red Raiders comeback bid fell short as the star of the game, Fleet, hit 4-of-4 free throws to seal the Warriors victory, Henderson’s win put them in a lot better shape in the District 1 6A rankings than they were coming into the game.
“The first time we played them, they got out to a lead and we chased and chased them but could never get even,” Fleet said. “We wanted them to chase us tonight and we had a real good start to the game. We almost lost our composure in the fourth period but we are such a close team and we are all friends and I think that pulled us through.”
The loss drops the Red Raiders to third place in the Ches-Mont National Division race behind West Chester East and Downingtown West and puts a big crimp in their plans to play in the Ches-Mont Final Four.
“We go as our defense goes,” Allen said. “We gave up 39 points in the first half and 30 in the second half. The games we have won we have kept teams in the 40s. We as coaches have to do a better job of preparing the kids. that is all there is to it.”
West Chester Henderson shot 23-for-44 from the field for the game.
WC Henderson 69, Coatesville 61
COATESVILLE (61) A.Fowlkes 3 1-2 8, Harris  6 3-5 17, Peoples 8 1-1 22, Brown 1 0-0 2, Marshall 3 3-6 9, Kennedy 1 0-0 3, Lynch 0 0-0 0, W.Fowlkes 0 0-0 0, Van Orden 0 0-0 0, Proctor 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 8-14 61.
WC HENDERSON (69) Fleet 11 8-10 33, Ralph-Beyer 6 4-4 19, K. Smith 3 4-5 11, J.Smith 1 0-0 2, Surowiec 1 0-0 2, Nelson 0 0-0 0, McFadden 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 16-19 69.
Coatesville           4 24 18 15-61
WC Henderson   19 20 16 14-69
3-point goals: Harris 2, Peoples 5, Kennedy, Fleet 3, Ralph-Bayer 3, K.Smith.

Bruce Adams

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