WEST GOSHEN >> The boys from West Chester East have plenty of talent. But when combined with the energy they showed Tuesday night, the Vikings can look unbeatable.
The fifth-seeded Vikings put on an impressive display of ferocious defensive basketball Tuesday as the Vikings blew out No. 11 Neshaminy, 66-52.
The win puts West Chester East into Friday night’s quarterfinal against 14th-seeded Abington, which upset No. 2 Plymouth-Whitemarsh on Tuesday night.
The Redskins turned the ball over 14 times against the smaller, quicker Vikings, and that spelled doom for the visitors. West Chester East led start to finish with a beautiful display of pressure defense, led by senior point guard Mike Dedda, who had five steals and scored 14 points for the Vikings. The outcome was virtually decided at halftime, as East forged a 38-19 advantage.
“We really came out and took the game over with our defense,” Dedda said. “We led from start to finish and we thought it could be our last home game and this being the district playoffs it is a one and done situation, so we really knew we had to bring the energy on defense.”
West Chester East (13-3) got big offensive games from Jackson Kulp, who led the Vikings with 17 points, and Jack Kushner, who added 15 for the Vikings. With a commanding 38-19 halftime lead, Neshaminy had to gamble defensively to get back in the game, which led to some runout baskets by West Chester East.
Kushner, Kulp and Dedda were penetrating to the basket and scoring at will against the taller Redskins (11-6), who received a big game from Mike Murray, who led all scorers with 20 points. West Chester East was the quicker team all night, and that showed on the defensive end as Neshaminy had trouble getting the ball up the floor all night.
“I told the kids that even thought they were taller and more stout than us, it is not football, it is basketball,” West Chester East coach Tom Durant said. “This group, we have all have bought into what we are telling them, and they all play for each other and not for themselves. The guys who don’t get in much give just as much as everybody else every day in practice. It is a great group to be around.
“Look at Mike Dedda,” Durant said. “He must have had four or five steals and he sped up their guards all night and put them in situations they were not comfortable with. They all play very good defense and they work very hard at it.”
WC East 66, Neshaminy 52
WC EAST (66): Dedda 6 1-2 14, Ramos 2 0-1 5, Clark 0 1-2 1, Kushner 6 3-4 15, Dutton 0 2-2 2, Hefferan 1 0-0 3, Kulp 6 2-2 17, Price 3 0-0 9. Total 24 9-13 66.
NESHAMINY (52): MacDonald 2 0-0 4, McGinty 2 2-2 6, Getz 1 1-2 3, Drapkin 3 3-4 11, Esposito 2 0-0 5, Murray 6 8-11 20, Mullin 1 0-0 3. Totals 17 14-19 52.
Neshaminy 7 19 10 16 – 52
WC East 13 25 22 19 – 66
3-point goals. Kulp 2, Hefferan, Price, Murray.