Kennett falls to Downingtown East in OT, 54-52
● By Richard Gaw
After his two free throws tied the score at 45 apiece with 16 seconds left in regulation and forced the game into overtime, Downingtown East's Cary Angeline's tip-in with eight-tenths of a second remaining in OT gave the visiting Cougars a 54-52 victory, in Ches-Mont inter-divisional play.
If there indeed could have been a playwright scripting this contest, its story was written with the intention of gathering momentum slowly and building with a peak finish. Both teams began deliberately with perimeter passes, with D-East's Jake Truchan and Kennett's Connor McGlone trading off three-pointers, en route to a slim 7-5 Kennett lead at the end of the first quarter. As the second quarter got underway, however, the game's two lead characters began to take center stage and never relinquish the spotlight: Angeline and Kennett's Jackson Hyland. Hyland was found cutting to the basket by Sean Rodgers for a quick bucket, which was then answered with a layup by Angeline. With 4:32 remaining in the half, Angeline's three-pointer cut Kennett's lead to 15-13, and at the 2:58 mark, his layup tied the game at 15. However, a jumper by Matt Kelly and McGlone's second three-pointer of the game, followed by a three-pointer by Hyland with just under a minute remaining in the quarter, gave Kennett a comfortable 22-17 lead at halftime.
If the game's first half served as nothing more than a forum for plot and character development, then its second half certainly delivered the goods of what great theater is all about. With 2:45 left in the third, a three-pointer by D-East's Paris Carter pulled the Cougars to within a point, 27-26, and a minute later, Hyland's second three-pointer of the game kicked Kennett's lead back up to four, 30-26. With just two seconds remaining in the third, Hyland's shot bounced off the rim, but Mike Boulden gathered in the rebound and subsequent basket to give Kennett a 32-28 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
While Angeline and Hyland continued to command the stage, their performances were complimented by the supporting work of their teammates. With just a minute gone in the fourth, a three-pointer by D-East's Marquan Gallimore pulled the Cougars to within a point of Kennett, 32-31, which was quickly followed by a steal by McGlone, who found Hyland for an easy basket to extend Kennett's lead to 34-31. With five minutes left in the game, Hyland nailed his third three-pointer of the day to give Kennett a brief lead, but Truchan's three-pointer 20 seconds later tied the score, 37-37.
Truchan still had one crucial shot to make. With 35 seconds remaining in regulation, the guard hit a three-point shot to give D-East a 45-43 lead. On the Cougars' next possession, Angeline was fouled with 16.3 seconds remaining and promptly made both free throws to tie the game up at 45 at the end of regulation.
If the first four quarters followed the course of a neatly-written script, then the five minutes of overtime seemed penned on the influence of a major caffeine jag. A quick basket by Kennett's McGlone was followed by a bucket by D-East's Jaret Cooper. With 2:22 left, Angeline drove into the paint, made the basket, and was fouled and converted the three-point conversion to give his team a 50-47 lead. Hyland's jumper then cut the Cougar lead to one, but with 1:05 remaining in OT, Kelly fouled Gallimore, who made two free throws to give D-East a 52-49 lead.
Kelly capitalized on his chance at redemption, however, when with just 38 seconds left, he took a pass from Hyland and nailed a three-pointer from the corner to tie the game at 52.
Holding for a last shot attempt, Cooper drove the lane, missed his layup, but Angeline's 6' 7" frame rose above his opponent's arms for the game-winning basket. On the day, he scored 30 points, one of which allowed him to surpass 1,000 points in his three-year career at Downingtown East. He was followed by Truchan with nine points, as the Cougars improved to 5-4 overall and 1-2 in the Ches-Mont National.
Despite Hyland's 25 points, Kennett fell to 6-5 overall on the season and 2-3 in the Ches-Mont American. McGlone and Boulden each had ten points for the Blue Demons.
After a home game against Bishop Shanahan on Jan. 6, Kennett will play host to Sun Valley on Jan. 8. After a home game against Henderson on Jan. 6, Downingtown East travels to Coatesville on Jan. 8.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.