Poor shooting sinks Unionville, 46-30
● By Richard Gaw
Fifteen minutes before the opening tip-off of the Unionville-West Chester Rustin Ches-Mont basketball game on Jan. 29, the outside temperature in the Unionville High School parking lot registered 29 degrees, and a light dusting of snow decorated the windshields of more than one hundred vehicles.
Inside the gymnasium, it was much colder.
En route to a decisive, 46-30 loss, the Indians shot a woeful seven for 39 from the floor, while Rustin held high-scoring guard Atma Berry (12.1 ppg average) to two free throws, closed off Unionville's inside game, and engineered a methodical, perimeter offense that slowed any threat of a change in momentum down to a crawl.
All evidence of the debacle revealed itself early. When Unionville head coach Joe Kirkpatrick called time out with 4:30 left in the first quarter, his team was down 10-1, and all five Rustin starters had scored two points apiece. A three-pointer by Brendan Boyle with 50 seconds left in the quarter ticked slightly off of Rustin's surge, but a sideline jumper by the Golden Knights' Andrew Chobany at the buzzer gave Rustin a 16-7 lead.
Sensing that their offensive game was giving off hints that it may take the night off, Unionville kicked up its defense, holding Rustin to just 4-8 in free throw shooting in the second quarter. A clever pass from Alex Pechin to Jimmy Nowoswiat at the three-minute mark cut Rustin's led to 19-12, and on a subsequent possession, Pechin found Patrick Clark at the foul line, who was fouled in the act of shooting and made one of two free throws, to send the Indians into halftime down 20-14.
"We were down six points at halftime, a two possession game at that point," Kirkpatrick said. "We've been playing well defensively, but we just needed to make some buckets. Sometimes when you're not making shots, you get frustrated and it affects your overall play. We had 13 turnovers, and did not take care of the ball well. Just not hitting our shots just took other aspects of our game away."
As the third quarter got underway, Unionville continued its ice-cold shooting, with its only scoring coming on a bucket by Matt Godek, and two shots and three free throws by Nowoswiat. On the other end of the floor, Rustin coach Keith Cochran appointed Chobany to engineer his offense, which he did with the precision of a watchmaker. Chobany threaded the Unionville defense with sharp passing to a bevy in teammates who seemed in constant motion. He found Brennan Halvorsen in the paint for three quick layups in the third quarter, as Rustin opened up a sizable, 31-17 lead when Chobany connected on a three-pointer with 3:15 remaining in the quarter.
While Unionville could only muster one field goal by Ryan Barrett and five points from the line in the fourth quarter.
"If you had told me that we were going to hold Rustin to 46 points, I'd say we would have a pretty chance of winning, but when you shoot seven for 39, you're not going to beat anybody," Kirkpatrick said.
Rustin was led by Ryan Loucks with 12 points, while Halvorsen and Chobany finished with ten and nine points, respectively. Nowoswiat finished as Unionville's high scorer, with ten points.
The loss further buried Unionville in the Ches-Mont American pack, while Rustin upped its record to 6-4 in divisional play and 9-10 overall. The Indians close out their season with games against Great Valley and Oxford, while Rustin closes out its season with games against Norristown and Great Valley.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org