CALN >> Even without its top scorer and with an interim head coach, Coatesville is a force to be reckoned with in Ches-Mont boys’ basketball circles. Just ask West Chester East.
On Tuesday the host Red Raiders led from wire-to-wire, and finished impressively to hand the Vikings a 57-48 Ches-Mont National setback.
“This was a good win, and we needed a good win against a quality team that is well coached,” said Coatesville’s interim coach Ryan Dunbar.
Thanks to a 15-2 surge sandwiched around the intermission, the Raiders led by as much as 15 in the second half and then withstood a fourth quarter comeback bid.
“We kept our composure and was able to finish it out,” Dunbar said.
Now 5-3 (8-6 overall), Coatesville is still in the running for the second league playoff berth from the C-M National. East is also still in the mix but falls to 4-3 (10-4 overall). Everyone trails unbeaten Downingtown West in first place.
“Our kids scrapped like they always do,” said Vikings’ head coach Tom Durant. “This is a tough loss. It stings, because now we have to climb mountains to get to our team goals.”
Late in the third period junior Jack Kushner scored nine of his 14 points to spark a 15-3 East rally that sliced the Raiders’ advantage to 37-34 early in the final period. But senior guard Jaden Gallimore came off the bench and knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers, and then scored on a fast-break bucket for Coatesville.
“I just tried to come in with a lot of energy,” Gallimore said. “My opportunity came to shoot the ball and I made the most of it. It just shows what I can do when I get in.”
Senior center Jaylin McNeil then tacked on a pair of inside buckets to cap a 12-3 run to reestablish a double-digit lead.
“You know that the run is coming but I think our guys did a good job of staying together, staying in the moment, and playing for the next possession, which is something we’ve struggled with,” Dunbar said.
“Jaden (Gallimore) can score the ball. For him, it’s can he be strong and tough enough to guard somebody. But he does a real good job of giving us energy.”
The Raiders’ full-court pressure forced eight early turnovers and forged a 15-7 lead through one quarter. The Vikings eventually cut it to two, but a rash of late turnovers, as well as missing the front end of two one-and-ones enabled Coatesville to take a 28-17 lead into the break.
“I tell the kids all the time that you can’t just blame what happened in the fourth quarter. Every possession is a valuable possession,” Durant pointed out.
It was the fifth game in a row for the Raiders without top scorer Jaeden Brickus, who is rehabbing a separated shoulder. And East did not have freshman K.J. Cochran, who is out with an ankle injury. He averages 17 points per game.
“(Brickus) is just trying to get (the shoulder) stronger and, hopefully, he can get back with us at some point this season,” Dunbar said.
“Coatesville played very well,” Durant explained. “They didn’t turn it over as much as in some of their recent games, they shot well from the perimeter and on the drive and kick.”
Junior guard Jeremiah Marshall paced the Raiders with 17 points, and McNeil added 14.
“We’ve been in a drought lately and losing some games,” Gallimore said. “We just have to stay together, keep playing hard like we did tonight, and listen to our coaches.”
Sophomore Josh Sherlock had nine of his 13 points in the second half for East.
Coatesville 57, West Chester East 48
West Chester East 7 10 14 17 — 48
Coatesville 15 13 9 20 — 57
WEST CHESTER EAST – Sherlock 4 4-7 14; Cox 2 0-0 4; Puchalla 0 0-1 0; Ramos 4 0-0 9; Kushner 5 3-4 14; Porter 1 1-2 3; Price 2 0-0 5. Totals 16 8-14 48.
COATESVILLE – Taylor 3 0-1 7; Muhammad-Kennedy 2 1-2 5; Gallimore 4 0-0 10; Marshall 4 6-6 17; T. Scott 1 0-1 2; Lanley 1 0-0 2; McNeil 6 2-2 14. Totals 23 9-12 57.
Three pointers: Sherlock, Ramos, Kushner, Price, Taylor, Gallimore 2, Marshall 3.