Shots just won’t fall as Red Raiders drop season finale
By Kyle Carrozza, Staff Writer, The Times
CALN – A team can run its offense efficiently, distribute the ball, and make the right drives, press on defense, force turnovers, and grab rebounds, but in the end, the shots have to fall.
The shots did not fall for Coatesville on Thursday night in the girls basketball 44-36 home loss to West Chester Henderson.
The Red Raiders looked solid in their last game of the season, led by senior point guard Autumn Smith. Smith has distributed the ball well all year, and her domination on the boards early in the game allowed Coatesville to go up 6-2 midway through the first quarter. The lead could have been even larger, but missed shots allowed Henderson to come back within one by the end of the first period.
Freshman Zaria Reeves opened the second quarter scoring, stealing the ball and driving the length of the court for two. But a five point possession by Henderson gave the visitors the lead. The Warriors scored and earned a foul off a strong drive. After a missed foul shot, Henderson grabbed the offensive rebound and hit a three.
The Red Raiders answered strongly, getting steals on the Warriors’ next three possessions and taking the lead back, but momentum would stay on Henderson’s side. Coatesville’s defense struggled with the opponents’ strength in the paint, and five missed shots in two possessions deflated the team. The missed field goals and some missed foul shots near the end of the quarter put Coatesville behind 17-12 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Coatesville was not able to catch up, and Henderson could not stretch the lead. The visitors opened with a three point play, which was parried by a Smith three. A Warriors miss would go out, and then the Red Raiders would turn it over on the other end. Henderson stretched its lead a bit, and Coatesville answered with Smith and sophomore Nafisa Saunders.
Midway through the quarter, Smith grabbed a steal, and beat everyone down the floor for an easy layup. After a Henderson miss, Saunders hit a field goal in the middle of a crowd and added a foul shot. The exchange would continue with the teams going into the final quarter 31-26, Henderson still holding a five point lead.
The Red Raiders found a second wind in the final quarter, keeping the game close, but they missed crucial shots to tie the game. As time waned, Henderson kept possession to eat up the clock. Coatesville’s defense, which looked good all night, was forced to resort to fouling, and the Warriors consistently made their free throws to keep the game just out of reach. Late in the game, the Red Raiders could not make the shots to overcome Henderson’s consistency.
The Red Raiders finish their season at 6-16. This was the last season for senior Autumn Smith, who has been the team leader all year. Saaleha Johnson and Alonna Mayo, also graduating, have been two of her go-to weapons on offense. Coatesville has many good players left, especially in the freshman ranks, who will be exciting to watch in the coming seasons.
Autumn Smith – 10
Nafisa Saunders – 8
Zaria Reeves – 8
Alonna Mayo – 4
Zada Bookman – 2
Samaria Turner – 2
Molly Clifford – 2