Coatesville advances in states, 65-57

Knocks off Hatboro-Horsham, but tough contest against Lower Merion looms

By Kyle Carrozza, Staff Writer, The Times


Coatesville’s Jaquan Hollingshed attempts a shot from below the basket. Hollingshed was a force in the paint, grabbing boards, scoring, and opening up opportunities for his teammates, as the Red Raiders won a 65-57 decision, Tuesday.

HORSHAM – Winning games—especially playoff games, where every team has proven itself—is not just about what a team can do but the ability to do it consistently.

In Tuesday night’s boys basketball game at Hatboro-Horsham, where both teams showed highlight reel skill, Coatesville proved to be the more consistent team, cruising to a 65-57 victory.

From early on, Coatesville looked like the better team, using a mix of passing and driving to create quality shots and jump out to a 14-9 lead by the end of the first quarter.

However, porous defense on both sides meant that their lead did not look comfortable in the first few minutes of the second quarter. A couple of early baskets by the Hatters reduced the lead to 16-14. Both defenses seemed insistent on playing man-to-man or strict zone with little support below the rim. Once a guard beat his man, he was free to go to the basket uncontested.

As the quarter wore on, the teams made adjustments, and the guards’ speed played less of a factor on offense. Fewer drives and more missed shots gave the advantage to Coatesville, who looked better from the field and on the boards all night.


Howard Sellars hits a three in front of Horsham-Hatboro’s student section. Though most of the first half consisted of both teams driving, Coatesville’s ability to make outside shots allowed them to pull away from their opponents.

“We wanted it more,” said senior Emmett Hunt. “We were hungry, so we went in and hit the offensive boards hard.

Scoring waned for both teams near the end of the half, but the Red Raiders adjusted better, allowing them to take a 33-25 lead into halftime.

Though Horsham was still able to get the occasional drive, Coatesville looked more determined on defense in the second half pressing the opposition further up the court and offering more support in the key.

“We find out what the other team is about in the first half and make key adjustments at halftime,” said Hunt. “We started pressing [Hatters guard] Mike Brown full court to make them start playing offense on the other side of half court.”

On the flipside, the Red Raiders continued driving to the hoop, mostly through senior Howard Sellars, who scored points and drew fouls. Meanwhile, junior Jaquan Hollingshed caused problems in the paint, scoring six points off offensive rebounds in the third quarter. With three minutes left in the third, Sellars drove and drew contact attempting a layup. Though he only made one foul shot, Hollingshed scooped up the rebound and hit a close range effort to put his team up 44-33.

Horsham-Hatboro never looked like it would make a comeback, and the teams went into the final quarter at 51-39.

Near the beginning of the fourth, senior Dre Boggs crossed over too many times to count, got his marker to commit the wrong way, and drove to hole for a layup. The play seemed to exemplify the gulf in athleticism and skill between the teams that became more prevalent as legs grew more tired. Hunt, however, thought otherwise.

“People and newspapers talk about how we’re more athletic, but I don’t think that’s it; we’re really well coached, and that gives us an advantage,” he said.

Hunt had a point. After a drive-heavy first half, it was Coatesville who made the adjustments to force more outside shots from the Hatters, and even as the game slowed later, Coatesville seemed more adept at finding soft spots in the defense for open field goals. The adjustments allowed a small advantage to turn into a comfortable lead and a comfortable lead to turn into double digits.

Still, the Red Raiders did look more athletic.

With a 60-47 lead and two minutes left, Coatesville turned the ball over. Horsham-Hatboro pushed, looking to spark a desperate comeback. The fast break created what appeared to be an easy layup for the home team, but Hollingshed rushed back and smacked the attempt off the backboard.

After the intentional foul formalities, Coatesville came out on top to complete the 7th-to-10th seed upset.

The Red Raiders will look to complete a much larger upset on Friday, away versus a 25-2 Lower Merion team that came into the District 1 playoffs seeded at number two.

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