Unionville falls to Coatesville, 58-3401/16/2022 12:11PM ● By Richard Gaw
Coatesville's Dior Muhammad Kennedy's defense and shooting was a key factor in the Red Raiders' 58-34 victory over Unionville on Jan. 15. Photo by Richard L. Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
By the time the Unionville boys’ basketball team had jumped out to an early 9-2 lead early in the first quarter of their game against visiting Coatesville on Jan. 15, it appeared that Longhorns’ head coach Chris Cowles’ strategy was fully in sync: create a patient perimeter offense and play tough defense.
After two long-range three-pointers by Jack Casten and one by Charlie Kammeier had staked Unionville to an early lead, however, it seemed all of the wheels that accelerated at the start of the game began to fall off moments later. After a steal and layup by Dior Muhammad Kennedy gave Coatesville a 12-11 lead at the end of the quarter, the Red Raiders dominated the boards and forced Unionville into several turnovers en route to a convincing 58-34 victory.
With starters James Anderson and Kevin Nowoswiat out after both sustaining injuries in Unionville’s 65-53 loss to Kennett on Jan. 11, Cowles was relegated to using some of his second team, and by the second quarter, they seemed little match for the Red Raiders, who outscored the Longhorns 12-4 in the second quarter, highlighted by two quick jumpers by Jaden Gallimore.
Coatesville’s defense, led by the backcourt of Kennedy, Jeremiah Marshall and James Taylor, began to break up Unionville’s perimeter offense with steals, giving the Longhorns very little space to get off jumpers or penetrate the key, giving the Red Raiders a 24-15 lead at halftime.
“When a pass is coming to you, you have to come to the ball, and we didn’t come to the ball,” Cowles said. “We probably gave them eight points in the first half off of that alone, and if you look at the halftime score that was pretty much the difference.”
While Unionville began to rediscover its signature perimeter offense in the third quarter, they could not find consistent shooting, with two three-pointers by Robbie Logan accounting for the only jumpers made in the entire third quarter. Meanwhile, Kennedy drained four shots, including a layup off of a steal with 1:50 left that gave his team a commanding 38-18 lead.
Ahead 41-26 at the start of the final quarter, Coatesville used a balanced scoring attack led by Jaylin McNeil’s 8 points to seal off the victory.
“In the second half, we came out and executed decently but we missed great shots, so we could have used a few of them to fall, particularly with the situation we are in,” Cowles said, referencing the loss of Anderson and Nowoswiat. “Losing both of them, we certainly feel the effects of that as a team, but it doesn’t affect guys doing what they are supposed to do. We’re trying to improve and take that accountability on ourselves from everyone’s perspective.”
Led by McNeil’s 16 points and Kennedy with 12 points, the win gave Coatesville a 6-3 overall record on the season that they looked to improve with home contests against Downingtown East on Jan. 17 and Bishop Shanahan on Jan. 18.
Now 3-8 overall, Unionville traveled to Avon Grove for a non-conference game on Jan. 18, and will continue its road swing with a conference game at Oxford on Jan. 19.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].