By PETER DiGIOVANNI
UWCHLAN -- The Downingtown East boys basketball team believes that they are going to be players in the Ches-Mont National Division race this year. Thursday night, the Cougars faced the gold standard in boys hoops in Cheter County, Coatesville. Year after year every team in the Ches-Mont is measured against the talented Red Raiders.
The defending Ches-Mont League champions shot an incredible 21 of 26 from the floor in the first half, including eight 3-pointers as Coatesville blew the game wide open and went on to a very convincing 65-48 triumph.
Kevin Crutchfield led the way for the Red Raiders (1-0 Ches-Mont, 2-2 overall) as he buried four 3-pointers for a team-high 15 points, along with Tyler Burke.
"We wanted to come out strong after two losses,' Crutchfield said. "We did not shoot well last night (Wednesday) against Reading and tonight, we knew we had to make shots and we did that.'
Oh boy, did Coatesville make shots. Holding a 28-24 lead over the Cougars (0-1, 2-1) in the second period, Coatesvile went on a patented run, outscoring the home team, 12-0 and bolting out to a 40-24 advantage.
Cruthfield started the carnage with a three-ball from the left corner. Another three from the savvy junior made it a 34-24 game, but Coatesville was nowhere near done. Levi Worthington leaped off the bench and buried a jumper from the right corner.
Burke scored in tight, then scored after taking a great feed from Amir Ealey to make it a 40-24 game. Coatesville went on to take a 43-26 lead at halftime after outscoring the Cougars, 28-12, in the period."We knew we had to play good defense, shoot the ball well and rebound tonight and we did all those things,' Burke said. "East came out strong defending their home court and (Cary) Angeline has a good inside game, but we really came to play tonight.'
Cary Angeline played a strong game for the Cougars, leading all scorers with 22 points to go along with 11 rebounds, but the Coatesville frontline, featuring Burke, Jaquann Hollingshead and Ealey, was too much for East, especially with the way Crutchfield, Darren Rubincam, Jon Lott and Kennan Coleman were shooting.
Downingtown East did not go quietly however. The Cougars battled hard for every rebound and showed that they are going to be a tough team for the rest of the Ches-Mont. The Cougars scored the first six points of the third period, drawing to within 12 at 43-32. But, Coatesville never let the lead go under 10 points. Baskets from Hollingshead and Burke got the the Red Raiders out of any possible trouble."We got a little concerned when they made that run, but that is basketball,' Cruthfield said. "Teams make runs, but we got ourselves together and kept going.'
The lead was 54-40 after three. Although the Red Raiders did not score for the first three minutes of the fourth, Downingtown East, looking very weary trying to stay up, shot just 3 for 20 in the final period, negating any comeback hopes they may have had."That second period put us in a hole,' Downingtown East coach John Goodman said. "Any every possession with Cary underneath is a battle against these guys. They are very tough.'
The win was the first in the Ches-Mont win for Chuck Moore. The first-year coach said that making shots like the Red Raiders did makes things easier."We really knocked down shots tonight and it allowed us to get into a rhythm offensively and defensively,' Moore said. "They make my job a whole lot easier, and when a team makes shots a coach can sleep well at night. Our shots did not go down against Chester or Reading, so we needed to come out and shoot the ball well tonight.'
Coatesville 65, Downingtown East 48
COATESVILLE: Burke 6 2-3 15, Crutchfield 5 2-3 15, Hollingshead 3 2-2 8, Ealey 2 2-6 6, Worthington 1 0-0 2, Coleman 2 0-0 5, Lott 1 4-5 7. Totals 2 5 13-21 65.
DOWNINGTOWN EAST: C. Angeline 10 2-10 22, R. Angeline 3 2-2 8, Grove 1 2-4 4, Gallimore 4 0-0 10, Tucker 1 1-3 3, Feamster 0 1-2 1, Crum 0 0-0 0, Truchan 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 8-21 48.Coatesville 15 28 11 11-65
Downingtown East 14 12 14 8-483-point goals: Crutchfield 4, Rubincam 2, Coleman, Lott, Gallimore 2.