Coatesville outlasts Unionville, 57-51
● By Richard Gaw
The Unionville boys basketball team entered their Jan. 12 game on the back of a four-game winning streak, sporting a 10-2 overall record and a share of the top spot in the Ches-Mont-American conference, all of which served to coat their game against visiting 11-1 Coatesville with the lacquer reminiscent of a big event.
Before the Red Raiders pulled away in the last few minutes of the game to secure a 57-51 win, however, the inter-divisional clash indeed lived up to the great expectations of what happens when two talented teams meet, tip it up and give it a go.
Heading into the game, one of the key initiatives of the Indians was to control Coatesville guard Jhamir Brickus, who came into the game as the third-leading scorer in the Ches-Mont, with an average of more than 20 points per game. Utilizing an effective zone defense, the Indians held Coatesville to a 12-point first quarter, despite a trio of three-pointers by Brickus, John Proctor and Dymere Miller, while a three-pointer by Bo Furey-Bastian staked the Indians to an early 8-4 lead.
While Unionville “D” forced Coatesville into two offensive turnovers early in the second quarter, the ball again found Brickus and Proctor. With five minutes left in the first half, a breakaway layup by Brickus gave the red Raiders a 14-10 lead, and a layup by Unionville's Sean Rafferty was answered by Proctor's second three-pointer and two free throws that extended Coatesville's lead to 19-12.
Midway through the second quarter, coach Fred Thompson's squad threw an effective press at Unionville that led to Indian coach Chris Cowles calling a time out with 2:31 remaining in the half. Now regrouped, the Indians unloaded a short burst of scoring, highlighted by a three-pointer by Peter Kucharczuk from the top of the arch, which was then followed by his steal and a pass to Furey-Bastian, who was fouled and made both free throws to bring Unionville to within five points of Coatesville at halftime.
For most of the second half, the two teams showcased what has gotten them to the top of their respective standings so far this season, the results of which became a frantic, back-and-forth tussle of tie scores and dramatic plays. A three-pointer by Shanahan with 5:40 left in the third quarter tied the score at 27, which was promptly answered by Proctor's third three-pointer of the game.
Following a three-pointer by Unionville's Wyatt Hockenberry that tied the score again, Proctor nailed his fourth three-pointer of the game, which was also followed by another Hockenberry three-pointer that again tied the score, 33-33. A minute later, a gorgeous spin move by the Indians' Drew Lankaitis gave Unionville a 35-34 lead, which was followed up by his layup off of a perfect lead pass by Logan Shanahan.
With five minutes remaining, Furey-Bastian's gorgeous lead pass to a driving Connor Ash staked the Indians to a brief 44-41 lead, but Brickus responded with a bucket of his own with 4:40 left, and followed it with another two-pointer and a free throw, after being fouled on the shot.
After another basket by Brickus gave Coatesville a 52-46 lead and led to another Indian time out with 2:25 left, Unionville began to cut into the deficit, on a three-pointer by Lankaitis and a steal and layup by Ash that brought Unionville to within a point, 52-51.
After a Coatesville time out, Brickus was fouled and converted free throws that helped secure the victory.
“I'm disappointed, because I don't think we played well,” Cowles said of his team after the game. “We were out of character for the vast majority of the game, in terms of the style that we were playing. We looked more timid than than usual, and when we executed, we looked good, and when we didn't execute, we didn't look good.”
Proctor led all scorers with 16 points, while Brickus tallied 12 points for Coatesville, which is now 12-1 overall. Now 10-3 overall, Unionville was led by Shanahan with 12 points, and Furey-Bastian with 10 points. The Indians traveled to Sun Valley on Jan. 15, and return home on Jan. 19 for a game against West Chester East. Coatesville took on Norristown on Jan. 14, and traveled to Avon Grove on Jan. 15.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email email@example.com.