WESTTOWN – It is not every day you see a team turn the basketball over 25 times and still win by double digits, but that is what the Downingtown West boys basketball team accomplished Tuesday night against West Chester Rustin. West outscored the Golden Knights, 29-11, in the middle two periods and went on to post a 58-47 nonleague victory.
“What was it, 25, it seemed like 125,’ Downingtown west coach Jason Ritter said of the turnovers. “You cannot simulate the kind of ball pressure Rustin puts on in your practice. But, we will continue to work on things in practice and iron out the kinks. And beating a team as good as Rustin is a big win for us. They are going to win a lot of games this season, so we feel pretty good about the win.’
The Whippets (3-0) shot 24-for-43 on the night and got big games from their two marvelous junior forwards, Josh Warren and Ryan Betley. The pair combined for 36 points with Warren going for 20 and Betley 16. Warren also pulled down eight rebounds and when Rustin (0-1) closed the gap to under 10 points with less than three minutes to play, hit a big follow and two free throws to keep the lead safe.
“To win a game by 11 points with the way we handled the ball tonight shows that when we clean that up we are capable of being very good,’ Warren said. “We did not handle the ball well tonight, but we are going to go back to work in practice and we hope to reach our potential.’
It was a Warren follow and a long Betley 3-pointer at the end of the first half to give West a 27-19 lead at halftime. But, the tone of the game went into the Whippets’ favor at the start of the third period.
Dom Guerera hilt a three-ball to make it 30-19. Rustin shot just three-for-14 and was outscored 15-6 in the third by the Whippets. After Guerera’s long bucket, Rustin missed a shot, Warren grabbed the rebound and drove the lane, but miss from in tight. Betley charged the glass and put in a follow for a 32-19 lead. Rustin turned the ball over and the Whippets came down the floor in hurry and Warren scored on a driving layup forcing Golden Knights coach Keith Cochran into a timeout.
“We are still a young team, but last year we played a lot of underclassmen and we took our lumps in some games,’ Ritter said. “This year, we are the veteran team in terms of experience and we know how to react in certain situations.’
Rustin did not back down. Trailing 42-25 at the end of three, Rustin, behind the shooting of Mike McKnight and the inside scoring of Brennan Halverson, clawed their way back to 48-38 after a Ryan Loucks three. Mcknight, Halverson and Loucks each had 10 points for the Golden Knights.
But, with less than three minutes to play, the Whippets dug down and found their composure as Warren scored from inside and Betley hit a runner to keep the lead safe and leave Rustin with their third straight win to start the season.
“I can’t get mad at my kids because they work so hard,’ Cochran said. “They battled back and did not quit and that is what we do. That is Rustin basketball. It just did not go our way tonight.’