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Chester County Press

Defense, fast breaks lead Unionville to 73-40 win

02/01/2022 02:13PM ● By Richard Gaw

Photo by Richard L. Gaw               The Unionville varsity basketball team used a shut-down defense and a sharp transition game to defeat Academy Park 73-40 in a non-conference game on Jan. 31.

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

Midway through the fourth quarter of Unionville’s 73-40 victory over visiting Academy Park on Jan. 31, the Longhorns ripped a page from the basketball textbook of their coach Chris Cowles, when four players on the floor touched the ball before it reached the hands of Kevin Brown, who promptly nailed a three-point shot from just beyond the arc.

Throughout his tenure as coach, Cowles has hammered home that sharp, perimeter passing, complimented by a tough defense and effective outlet passing leads to wins, and Monday night’s victory served as a prime display of that teaching.

“Our game plan tonight was as simple as it has been all year,” Cowles said. “We placed a heavy reliance of fundamental principles on offense, and fundamental principles on defense.”

Coming off of a 61-37 defeat to West Chester East the night before, the 7-10 Longhorns were looking to gain some traction in a topsy-turvy season that places them in the middle of the pack in the Ches-Mont American division. They received an early boost in the first quarter on a one-two punch of defense that shut down the Knights’ inside game and a rebound-and-run offense highlighted by outlet passes from center Nick Deihl that led to fast-break jumpers by Jack Casten, Robbie Logan and two three-pointers by Charlie Kammier.

An 18-6 lead at the start of the second quarter was not enough for the Longhorns. Kammier knocked down the third of his four three-pointers early on, and then followed up with two free throws to give Unionville a 23-6 lead. With 6:45 left in the first half, Casten nailed a three-pointer to extend the lead, and with 1:45 remaining in the half, Logan’s breakaway steal and layup pushed the Longhorn lead to 38-13.

Our offensive progress depends on us doing the job defensively,” Cowles said. “It’s like a snowball effect -- one aspect of our game feeding into the other.”

The Knights pecked away at Unionville’s lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Longhorns 14-9 mostly on Academy Park guard Jamir Anderson’s 9-point effort, but Unionville stormed back in the fourth quarter on effective outside shooting, highlighted by two three-pointers by George Napolitano. The Longhorns were led by Kammier with 16 points, Casten with 11 points and Diehl with 10 points. The Knights, now 3-12 overall in the Delaware Valley Conference, were led by Anderson with 13 points.

Heading into games against Oxford on Feb. 1 and cross-town rival Kennett on Feb. 3, Coates said the key to the Longhorns’ climbing up the ladder of the Ches-Mont American will be in its willingness to remain focused.

“Our goal is to maximize our ability and stay in the moment, Cowles said. “It’s the only thing we as coaches preach – to teach them that the results will come if we stay in that mindset.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].