Mentally tough effort spurs Red Raiders to Ches-Mont win
By Kyle Carrozza, Staff Writer, The Times
CALN – In close games, skill and physical advantage are not enough to win. Players must control their emotions to stay focused on the goals of the team.
Coatesville’s boys basketball team showed more mental discipline then their opponents on Thursday night as they earned a 67-57 home victory over Downingtown East. Though the final score may look comfortable enough, the match was contested down to the closing minutes, when the Red Raiders showed that they were better able to handle the competitiveness.
The beginning of the game suggested that it might be a blowout. Strong drives to the basket freed up senior Howard Sellars, who was able to punish the Cougars’ collapsing defense with seven first quarter points. Combined with four steals, Coatesville ended the period up 21-12.
Downingtown’s offense calmed its nerves in the second quarter. They increased their efficiency in the low post and on drives, allowing them to score more consistently than the first quarter. Perhaps feeling the pressure, Coatesville forced shots and could not come up with offensive rebounds after their misses. Senior Dre Boggs made sure his team kept the lead. In the middle of the quarter, he charged into what seemed to be a dead-end of defenders. However, he used his quickness to get to the baseline and then under the net for a reverse layup that exemplified his 18 points for the night. Still, the Cougars’ 13-3 run brought them within three to put the score at 33-30 going into the half.
The teams’ competitiveness became more visible in the second half, resulting in shoving and hard fouls. On both sides, players would come up with steals or defensive rebounds only to turn the ball over trying to force low-probability passes giving their opponents the ball back. The ensuing contests for the loose balls added to the game’s physicality.
Midway through the third quarter, the teams were tied exchanging the lead. Downingtown converted turnovers into fast break points, while Coatesville exploited their opponents’ heated play by drawing fouls. Senior Leroy Hoggard, in particular thrived under pressure. He was able to shoot from all over the court, and his play in the low post allowed him to draw contact and pass to his teammates on the perimeter.
The fourth quarter saw much of the same scrappiness. In the end, Coatesville would better keep their cool. Some forced shots and a travel by Downingtown allowed the Red Raiders to stretch their lead to seven in the last few minutes. As a result of the frustration, Downingtown committed a defensive foul in their own half. After the call was made, the player’s show of dissent earned him a technical and gave Coatesville four foul shots. Hoggart, who seemed to play above the heat of the moment, drained all four, giving his team a 62-51 lead and control for the rest of the match. Hoggart led his team with 19 points on the night.
Downingtown fouled to stay in the game, but Coatesville’s free throw shooting, which gave them nine of their 16 fourth quarter points sealed the victory.
The win puts Coatesville at 9-6 on the season including a very strong 6-1 in the ChesMont National. The Red Raiders have won seven of their last eight and will look to continue the trend Saturday at home against Gospel Grace Christian School.
Leroy Hoggard – 19
Dre Boggs – 18
Emmett Hunt – 12
Howard Sellars – 9
Chris Jones – 5
Joey Lewis – 4