Brown’s 36 points leads Unionville to 76-54 win01/10/2024 01:32PM ● By Richard Gaw
In what has already resembled the makings of a basketball clinic for all the Ches-Mont League to witness this season, the Unionville varsity boys’ team gave their latest tutorial at Kennett High School on Jan. 8 by methodically passing, shooting and defending its way to a 76-54 victory over the Blue Demons, behind a career-high 36 points by Ryan Brown that included six three pointers.
What concluded as another win for the Longhorns – Head Coach Chris Cowles’ club now sits 12-2 overall and 4-0 in the Chest-Mont American – did not start as easily as it finished. A driving layup by Connor Schumaker gave Kennett an early 4-2 lead with 90 seconds gone in the first quarter, and while Brown’s two three-pointers jumped Unionville out to a 12-4 lead, Kennett’s Bo Freebery nailed a three-pointer that brought the Blue Demons to within three points with 2:40 remaining in the first quarter.
Holding to a slim 16-11 lead at the start of the second quarter, Unionville’s defense nullified any opportunities for Kennett to puncture the perimeter and get points in the paint, while its offense continued to drain long-range baskets, kicked off by three-pointers from James Brenner and James Anderson. The bright light for Kennett began to emerge, however, in the form of Schumaker, who en route to a 35-point scoring effort kept the Blue Demons in the game with effective free-throw shooting and a layup with 52 seconds left in the half that he converted into a three-point play after being fouled.
Despite Unionville’s shooting prominence and tight man-to-man defense, Kennett found itself at the start of the second half within a rally’s reach of its crosstown rival, 36-25. While Schumaker continued to penetrate the key and collect all nine of the Blue Demons’ points in the third quarter, Brown added to his 19 first half scoring barrage with 10 more points, including two more three-pointers that helped the Longhorns extend their lead to 59-36 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Perhaps the most defining measure of Cowles’ team – as witnessed before a packed house at Reynolds Gymnasium on Jan. 8 – is its “next-man-up” versatility that assures that on any given night, one player will own the hottest hand. While it was clearly Brown’s night, he shared the limelight with his teammates, who snuffed out any hope of Kennett getting back in the game by forcing turnovers that led to fast-break baskets. The Longhorns were also backed by Anderson’s 13 points and 11 points from Nick Diehl.
“Holistically, we really focus on our foundational principles on both ends, and when we do that, we have success,” Cowles said of his team. “It’s about playing with maximum effort and then executing what we have prepared to do on both sides of the ball.”
Unionville will look to extend its winning ways at Sun Valley on Jan. 11 and come back home for a Jan. 16 game against J.P. McCloskey. Kennett – now 2-3 in the Ches-Mont and 5-8 overall - - will host Bayard Rustin on Jan. 11 Great Valley on Jan. 16.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].