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Coatesville stifles Church Farm School

CALN — It is very hard to be a really good basketball team when you do not take great care of the ball. And make no mistake the Coatesville boys basketball squad is a very good team. Saturday afternoon at Ross Kershey Gymnasium, the Red Raiders used their half-court trap to force 26 turnovers and take over the nonleague contest in the second half to post a 66-56 win over Church Farm.

Coatesville (10-5) won its fifth game in a row and outscored Church Farm (11-5), 33-23, in the second half after being tied at 33-33 at halftime. The Red Raiders put four players in double figures, led by Kevin Crutchfield’s 15 points. Justius Martinez added 13, John Rodriguez banged in 11 and Amir Ealey added 10.

“We played very good trap defense tonight,’ Coatesville coach Chuck Moore said. “And when they beat the trap, I thought we got back and played real good man-to-man defense also. We are starting to come together and get some chemistry out on the floor.’

Church Farm was led by Mike Mohamed’s game-high 28 points. Kareem Holmes chipped in with 10, but no other player reached double figures.

The game was an up tempo affair from the start as each team went at each other hard for the entire 32 minutes. Church Farm bolted out to leads of 12-4 and 16-8, but at halftime, Coatesville had tied the game, and took over the game in the third period.

Martinez started the second half by going strong to the hole, got fouled and sank two free throws to give Coatesville the lead for good.

The Red Raiders used their defense to spurt out on a 7-0 run to open up the game and lead 43-36 with just over three minutes to play in the third. Coatesville got inside baskets from Martinez and Ealey, plus a 3-pointer from Crutchfield to take the seven-point lead. Both Martinez and Ealey scored four points each in the period as they went right at the Griffins’ 6-foot-9 freshman Fred Odhiambo.

“We got good inside looks in the third period and we scored some points,’ Martinez said. “They really challenged us. They are tall and athletic and it was a good test for us. We worked hard out there today.’

Coatesville shot 7-for-11 in the third period compared to 3-of-11 for CFS, and took a 53-43 lead heading into the fourth.

Church Farm turned the ball over four times in the period and every time it looked like they would cut into the lead, they turned the ball over. Coatesville scored 10 points off turnovers in the decisive second half.

“We are dealing with some inexperience at the guard position,’ Church Farm coach Marc Turner said. “But I saw some good things from them in spots and now we have to have those bright spots carry us for 32 minutes. As far as Michael, we go as he goes. He did not shoot the ball as well as he can today, but he is our leader.’

Coatesville opened up 57-45 lead early in the fourth period when Rodriguez took a miss and then outletted the ball to Jon Lott, who gave the ball back to Rodriguez for a layup. Holmes then drained a three for the Griffins to cut the deficit to 57-48.

Church Farm got the lead down to 57-50 after Holmes scored in the lane, but Ealey came right down and scored in tight. Keenan Coleman then drained a 3-ball to make it 62-50 and the Griffins were done for the night. Coatesville shot 11-for-22 (50 percent) and only turned the ball over three times in the second half.

“We scored some points in tight in the third period, but I have to give credit to our guards,’ Ealey said. “They get us the ball and we have good floor spacing. We work harder than any other team in practice every day and that is why we play well in the second half.’

“Amir and Justus are getting good chemistry when they are on the floor together,’ Moore said. “They played real well today and we got a lot out of this game.’

Notes: Coatesville’s Dondre Pittman threw down a monster slam in the first half that brought the entire gym to its feet.

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