Connect with us

Boys Basketball

West Chester East cruises past shorthanded Downingtown East

WEST GOSHEN >> The only way shorthanded Downingtown East was going to give West Chester East any trouble in Ches-Mont National boys’ basketball action on Tuesday was if the Cougars’ elite scorer Connor Shanahan went off. And Vikings’ head coach Tom Durant made sure that didn’t happen.

Deploying a variety of defensive schemes, including a box-and-one, Durant was able to keep Shanahan under wraps much of the way, and host West Chester East cruised to a 67-42 victory over Downingtown East. The Vikings (5-2, 12-4 overall) entered the contest a game behind Downingtown West and Coatesville in what is shaping up to be an intriguing sprint to the division crown.

“Our seniors have been through this before and they know that you just can’t let a game like this go,” Durant said. “Plus we still have a sour taste in our mouth from losing to (Downingtown East) here last season.”

A senior guard, Shanahan poured in 56 points in his previous outing against Oxford. But with Jose Ramos shadowing his every move, along with help from his West Chester East teammates, the Vikings held him to 19 points, and he needed 20 shots to do it.

“It was a big-part of our game plan,” Durant acknowledged. “In (Shanahan’s) last game against Oxford, he wasn’t being selfish – he was just making long 3’s. He had 40 in the first half.”

And playing without starters Ishaan Jha and Micah Hill-Benitez complicated matters for the Cougars (1-6, 6-11 overall). The pair were reportedly suspended for relatively minor off-the-court infractions.

“You could tell (Downingtown East) was missing two of their starters,” Durant said.

“It was tough today missing a couple guys,” said Downingtown East head coach Brian Grashof. “They are two of our top three scorers. And (Tom) Durant does a fantastic job – he always looks to take Shanahan out of the game.

“We encouraged the other guys to take open shots, and in the first quarter we did a good job of that.”

Four different Cougars scored in the opening eight minutes and Downingtown East led 10-8. But West Chester East clamped down defensively in quarter number two, and ended the half on a 10-0 run to take a 23-15 lead into the break.

Durant opened the second half with three-quarter court pressure, the Vikings forced six turnovers, and turned every one into points at the other end. Senior forward Jack Gallagher scored 12 of his career-high 19 points in the stanza, and West Chester East wound up scoring 34 points in the quarter to take total command, 57-30.

“In the quarter it started on defense, we got fast-breaks, and that leads to easier offense,” Gallagher said.

“We had some turnovers up top and (West Chester East) were in transition getting easy buckets,” Grashof added. “It’s hard to beat a really good team when you’re doing that.”

Sophomore K.J. Cochran scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the period, and senior Jack Kushner added five of his 13 points.

“I give our two towers – (Jack) Gallagher and (Josh) Sherlock — a lot of the credit,” Durant added. “They were the catalysts that sped (Downingtown East) up. When you have length, it’s a luxury to be able to put pressure on (opposing) teams.”

Shanahan wound up shooting 7-for-20 from the field, and nobody else scored more than five points for the Cougars.

“We knew (Shanahan) was coming off a big game so wanted to take him out of the game and make somebody else beat us,” Gallagher pointed out. “He made some shots, but he had to take a lot of shots to do it.”

West Chester East entered the day having dropped two of the previous three against Abington (53-51) and Downingtown West (65-48). The Cougars are currently fourth in the District 1 5A Power Rankings.

“They’ve won (the Ches-Mont National) the last three years, so they are the best right now,” Grashof said. “They are very, very good and should be fun to watch down the stretch.”

West Chester East 67, Downingtown East 42

Downingtown East                         10 5 15 12 — 42

W.C. East                                          8 15 34 10 — 67

DOWNINGTOWN EAST – Shanahan 7 2-2 19; Kelly 2 0-0 4; Segarra 2 0-0 4; Henderson 1 0-0 3; Littlepage 1 0-0 2; Pell 1 2-2 5; Krupansky 2 0-0 5. Totals 16 4-4 42.

W.C. EAST – Sherlock 2 1-1 5; Ramos 3 2-2 8; Kushner 4 5-6 13; Cochran 9 2-4 20; Williams 1 0-0 2; Gallagher 8 1-2 19. Totals 27 11-15 67.

Three-pointers: Shanahan 3, Henderson, Krupansky, Gallagher 2.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

fourteen − thirteen =


More in Boys Basketball